GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition wherein the contents of the stomach are being regurgitated back up the esophagus. Because of the acidity of the contents of the stomach, the lining of the esophagus can become injured or inflamed. Even though GERD is a life-long condition, there are certain measures that can relieve and minimize its symptoms.

The reflux or the regurgitation of the stomach’s contents back into the esophagus is very common among people. In normal people, this isn’t a problem. The reflux usually happens when a person is in an upright position, and gravity encourages the return of the stomach’s content back to the stomach. Another protective mechanism of the body, is through swallowing. Every time we swallow, the regurgitated liquid is sent back to the stomach. Plus the saliva we swallow helps neutralize any acidic liquid that remains in the esophagus. However, for people with GERD, the acid stays in the esophagus for longer periods of time and the reflux also happens more frequently.

GERD can be due to multiple factors. Some people produce abnormally large amounts of acid, while others problems with their lower esophageal sphincter. This sphincter is responsible for preventing the reflux of liquid back to the esophagus. Slow or delayed emptying of the stomach can also cause GERD. Pregnancy can also make a woman more susceptible to the disorder because of the hormonal and anatomical changes the body undergoes. Some antihypertensive and anticholinergic medications can also puts a person at risk for developing GERD.

Common GERD symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation. Heartburn, which is often mistaken as chest pain, is the identifying symptom of GERD. People describe it as a burning pain that occurs in the middle part of the chest. Usually it starts in the upper middle quadrant of the abdomen and may even radiate to the neck and back. Some patients describe it a sharp pain that is similar to angina or cardiac pain. Heartburn occurs when the acidic content of the stomach stimulates the nerves in the esophagus. It often occurs after meals and when a person is lying down. The occurrence of heartburn is usually periodic. Sometimes it could frequently occur for weeks to months, and then occur less frequently or may even be absent for the next succeeding weeks.

The regurgitation of acidic stomach liquid in the mouth is also another common GERD symptom. The liquid usually stays in the esophagus and only a small amount is regurgitated but in some patients, large amounts are refluxed. Sometimes, the liquid may even contain food. Usually, these leave an acidic taste in the mouth. Nausea is another GERD symptom. It is an uncommon symptom, but it can also occur frequently in some patients. It could even be severe enough that it can lead to vomiting.

The management for GERD symptoms requires discipline and commitment. Changes in diet and eating habits are necessary to prevent and lessen the occurrence of GERD symptoms. Smaller meals will help lessen stomach distention and prevent its contents from refluxing. Taking your dinner early and elevating your upper body when you sleep will also help prevent the symptoms from appearance at night and when you wake up. You should also avoid fatty foods, chocolates, carbonated drinks, caffeine, acidic food, citrus juices, spicy food and peppermint because these types of food promote acid reflux. Likewise, avoiding alcoholic drinks and smoking cessation will also help minimize the symptoms. Chewing gum after meals is encouraged as this helps stimulate the production of saliva that you can swallow. There are also a lot medications that can help manage GERD symptoms, so it is important that you consult your doctor about which drug to take.

Author's Bio: 

For more information on Different Types of Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnoses, Please visit: GERD Symptoms, Heartburn Remedies and Hemorrhoids Treatment.