Acid reflux, or GERD, is a common condition that can cause a variety of symptoms. More than just heartburn, it can often cause other unpleasant issues such as fatigue and headaches.
Here, we’ll look at what Acid Reflux is, and the common symptoms it presents. You’ll also discover the best ways to treat the condition.
What is GERD?
GERD is short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and it is a chronic form of acid reflux. It is diagnosed when you suffer with acid reflux more than twice each week. Although it isn’t usually serious, it can lead to complications if it isn’t treated.
It occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter doesn’t close or tighten properly. Digestive juices and stomach contents are able to rise upwards into your oesophagus. Those who are most at risk of the condition include:
- Those who are obese or overweight
- Pregnant women
- Those taking certain medications such as antidepressants and calcium channel blockers
The condition can occur at any age, and it is sadly extremely common. So, what symptoms does it present?
Are headaches and heartburn the only symptoms?
Heartburn is the number one symptom GERD produces. You’ll find it worsens after lying down, eating, or bending over. Although heartburn is the main symptom of GERD, not everyone with GERD experiences it. Other symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Respiratory issues
If you have any of these symptoms and they cannot be explained, it could point to GERD. It may seem like a harmless condition, even if it is painful, but it can cause significant issues if left untreated.
What complications can arise if GERD isn’t treated?
There is the possibility GERD can develop into something more serious if it isn’t treated. You may start to experience breathing problems, or it could turn into Esophagitis. This is basically inflammation of the oesophagus.
Other conditions it can lead to include Barrett’s Oesophagus, and Oesophageal stricture. The latter makes it difficult to swallow, while Barrett’s Oesophagus can develop into cancer.
So, if you do suspect you have GERD, seeking treatment quickly is important. Not only will this help to prevent serious complications, but it will also help to eliminate any pain and discomfort you feel too.
How can you treat it?
There are a number of ways to treat GERD, starting with making simple lifestyle changes, like your diet. You may also find over-the-counter medications such as antacids are helpful at easing symptoms.
Most of the time, simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications are enough. However, in some cases surgery may be required to fully eliminate the symptoms. Speak to Mr Woodward today to determine the best course of treatment to eliminate your GERD symptoms.