When we eat, the food goes down via the food pipe through a movement known as a peristaltic movement which is a unidirectional flow. There are various sphincters or valves are in place so that the food can’t go in the opposite direction. But due to multiple reasons, these valves may not work as efficiently as one would have expected and the contents may flow back into the route that they came from. When from the stomach, the acidic juice reflux back into the esophagus, that condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The main cause of GERD is weakening of the sphincters especially the lower esophageal sphincter. Since this sphincter isn’t able to function properly, hence there will be reflux of the acidic juice back int the esophagus region. The stomach has the ability to tolerate a highly acidic medium but the esophagus isn’t equipped as such. Hence this creates various disturbances of which heartburn is a common phenomenon.
Heartburn is simply a burning sensation and pain in the upper abdomen region. Though this burning sensation could radiate to different or another region. Depending upon the severity of the condition, heartburn could be just a little bit of pain or it could elevate to something not tolerable and which will require medical assistance.
Many symptoms of GERD are similar to that of heart disease or other such type and hence it is very difficult to diagnose if a person is suffering from heartburn. For example, when a person is suffering from GERD, there’s difficulty in swallowing. But this difficulty in swallowing could be due to various reasons also. The early Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer also show the same symptom of difficulty in swallowing. Hence, it needs a specific differential diagnosis to rule out any other diseases.
The Esophagus Cancer Symptoms and Signs are also similar to that of GERD and hence one has to carry out a different type of diagnosis methods to ascertain that it is GERD.
Upper endoscopy is performed to diagnose GERD. In this procedure, a flexible tube is passed through the food pipe and thereby, various structures are examined. This endoscopy could also reveal if there is an ulcer in the esophagus. Ulcer forms when the wall lining the food pipe is damaged via high acidic content. If needed, a biopsy is also done to differentiate GERD from the other disease which may show similar symptoms.
For mild GERD, antacids work perfectly but it has to be remembered that the antacid should be taken at the event of onset of the reflux. If it is taken after significant period of time, then the antacid fails to perform to have any effect.
H2 blockers reduce the secretion of the acids in the stomach and hence, have the ability to prevent the reflux though these are slow acting drugs.
Proton pump inhibitors are also used in the treatment of GERD and they have the ability to block the acid formation more or less and hence, could give relief to the patient.
Changing lifestyle could also help in the treatment. Reflux MD has such diet recipes which are beneficial for the people suffering from heartburn and GERD.
Author Bio : Reflux MD provides an overview of all reflux treatment. If you are looking for early Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer get in touch with us so that we can guide you based on the Esophagus Cancer Symptoms and Signs.