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What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition you may suffer from if acid from your stomach flows back up the esophagus into the mouth. The condition is diagnosed by your family physician, and sometimes your dentist. The reason why dentist notice this condition is because the acid from the stomach can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Sometimes ulcers will form in the mouth as well if the condition is severe. Receiving proper treatment for this condition fast is essential for protecting your esophagus and oral health from damage.

What are the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Some of you may know gastroesophageal reflux disease as heartburn. That is because the condition can cause a burning sensation in the chest, which usually always occurs after eating foods that do not agree with you. Other common symptoms that come with this condition are:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sensation of something stuck in your throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • Breathing difficulty due to inflammation of the airways
  • Trouble sleeping due to acid coming up the throat while you are laying down
  • Weight loss from not wanting to eat with the condition

What causes this condition?

The condition is caused by sphincters in the esophagus relaxing too much and staying open instead of closing up like they are suppose to during digestion. Conditions that cause the sphincters to relax too much are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Obesity
  • Lack of bowel movements
  • Sluggish digestive system

With that said, smoking, drinking, drug abuse, certain medications and overeating can cause the condition also known as GERD to wreck havoc on your body. This is why some doctors commonly recommend lifestyle changes first before prescribe medications to help treat the condition.

What lifestyle changes can be made to help rid GERD?

One of the biggest causes of GERD is overeating, or eating too much of a healthy diet. Simply changing your diet up and consuming healthier whole foods that nourish and heal the body is one of the ways to rid the condition for good. Whole foods consist of fruits and berries, fresh vegetables, grains and nuts, grass fed meats, fish, raw dairy products, and healthy fats. Whole foods do not consist of any type of food that contains preservatives, artificial ingredients, dyes, and pesticides. This is because foods that contain those ingredients can usually cause GERD to flare up and worsen. The ingredients also causes cancers and obesity. Another helpful way to rid GERD is by losing the extra body fat through exercising regularly. Other lifestyle changes that can cure the condition are:

  • Quitting smoking and drinking
  • Changing medications
  • Eating less acidy foods

What are the treatment options for GERD?

If lifestyle changes alone do not help rid GERD, your doctor may recommend over the counter or prescription anti acid reducers. However, a series of test will need to be done first to help diagnose the condition so the proper treatment can be given. Those test include:

  • Upper endoscopy
  • pH probe test
  • Xrays
  • Manometry test

Bottom Line for GERD

If you suspect you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease it is essential that you make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnoses and treatment plan. Leaving the condition untreated could lead to your esophagus becoming damaged. If that happened you may end up needing surgery to repair it. With that said, surgery is usually unlikely because again this condition is most of the time easily treated with lifestyle changes and acid reducers.

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