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Best Gastroenterologist in Bangalore | Dr. Prabhu

What’s Acid Reflux and GERD?

We use the term “Acid reflux” when food or acid from your stomach moves up into your esophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation.

Though this is fine once a while, if you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the Symptoms?

Acid reflux can cause heartburn . People experiencing heartburn will feel a burning sensation in their chest radiating upwards. GERD causes regurgitation of food to your mouth and you might also experience breathing problems and difficulty in swallowing. If you have a sour taste at the back of your mouth for a prolonged period, then you must consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis done.

What are the causes?

There is a circular layer of muscle at the bottom of your food pipe . Every time you swallow something this muscle relaxes and opens. It then tightens and closes back. If due to some reason this muscle does not close properly, we call it acid reflux. So when it does not close properly, your stomach contents move upwards
into your food pipe.

What are the Treatment Options?

GERD can be cured in most cases by changing your lifestyle.

Best Gastroenterologist in Bangalore | Dr. Prabhu suggest taking over-the-counter medications such as antacids, H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

In some cases, they might prescribe stronger H2 receptor blockers or PPIs. Some over-the-counter and medications can cause side effects, so be careful.

Surgery for GERD

In most cases, lifestyle changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD. But sometimes, surgery is needed if symptoms persist even after medications.

Diagnosing GERD

When you consult a doctor, he/she will first conduct a physical exam and discuss about the symptoms you are facing. Doctors might perform any of the following procedures to confirm GERD.

  1. Barium : after drinking a barium solution, X-ray imaging is used to examine your upper digestive tract
  2. Upper endoscopy: a flexible tube with a tiny camera is threaded into your esophagus to examine it and collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) if needed
  3. Esophageal manometry: a flexible tube is threaded into your esophagus to measure the strength of your esophageal muscles
  4. Esophageal pH monitoring: a monitor is inserted into your esophagus to learn if and when stomach acid enters it.

Have you heard of GERD in infants?

More than 25% babies have symptoms of GERD. The symptoms might carry on even when they are one year old.

You might have heard that it is normal for babies to spit up food and vomit sometimes. But if you notice the baby spitting up food or vomiting frequently, it might be GERD.

Other signs and symptoms of GERD in infants that you must watch out for are

  • refusal to eat
  • trouble swallowing
  • gagging or choking
  • wet burps or hiccups
  • irritability during or after feeding
  • arching of their back during or after feeding
  • weight loss or poor growth
  • recurring cough or pneumonia
  • difficulty sleeping

If you think your baby might have GERD do not delay and call your doctor right away. It is not advisable to experiment home remedies for children below one year old.

Risk factors for GERD

Obesity, hernia and pregnancy can put you at higher risk of developing GERD. GERD is also associated with people who smoke, eat large meals, eat fried or spicy food frequently and consume NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also not a good habit to lie down as soon as you eat.

Some simple home made remedies do help relieve symptoms but if you are experiencing severe symptoms frequently,it is better to consult a doctor who will diagnose the exact condition and help relieve your symptom.

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