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From Acid Reflux to GERD: A Deeper Dive into Digestive Discomfort

From Acid Reflux to GERD: A Deeper Dive into Digestive Discomfort

 

 

Introduction

 

Digestive discomfort is a common issue experienced by millions worldwide, ranging from occasional heartburn to more severe conditions like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Understanding the spectrum of digestive disorders, from acid reflux to GERD, is crucial for effective management and improved quality of life.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and lifestyle modifications for acid reflux and GERD.

By shedding light on these digestive conditions, we aim to empower individuals to take proactive steps toward better digestive health and alleviate discomfort associated with acid reflux and GERD.

 

Understanding Acid Reflux

 

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.

This phenomenon is a common occurrence and may happen occasionally in response to certain foods or lifestyle factors.

We’ll delve into the mechanisms behind acid reflux, including the role of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and factors that can weaken its function.

Additionally, we’ll discuss common triggers for acid reflux, such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and obesity.

Understanding the causes and triggers of acid reflux is crucial for implementing effective preventive measures and managing symptoms.

gastrooesophageal reflux disease - From Acid Reflux to GERD: A Deeper Dive into Digestive Discomfort

The Transition to GERD

 

While occasional acid reflux is normal, persistent or frequent episodes may indicate Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

GERD is a chronic condition characterized by more severe and frequent reflux episodes, often accompanied by complications such as esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and strictures.

We’ll explore the factors that contribute to the development of GERD, including structural abnormalities, hiatal hernias, and lifestyle factors like obesity and smoking.

Additionally, we’ll discuss the potential complications of untreated GERD and the importance of timely diagnosis and intervention.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis

 

Both acid reflux and GERD present with similar symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing.

However, GERD symptoms are typically more frequent and severe, often interfering with daily activities and sleep.

We’ll discuss how healthcare professionals diagnose acid reflux and GERD, which may involve a combination of medical history, symptom assessment, imaging tests, and endoscopic procedures like esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

Proper diagnosis is crucial for differentiating between acid reflux and GERD and guiding appropriate treatment strategies.

gerd treatment options - From Acid Reflux to GERD: A Deeper Dive into Digestive Discomfort

Treatment Options

 

Treatment for acid reflux and GERD aims to alleviate symptoms, heal esophageal damage, and prevent complications.

Lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, weight loss, and elevation of the head during sleep, are often the first line of defense.

Additionally, over-the-counter antacids, H2-receptor antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can help reduce stomach acid production and provide symptomatic relief.

For individuals with severe GERD or complications like Barrett’s esophagus, surgical interventions like fundoplication may be recommended.

We’ll explore the various treatment options available for acid reflux and GERD and discuss their effectiveness and potential side effects.

 

Lifestyle Modifications

 

In addition to medical treatment, certain lifestyle modifications can help manage acid reflux and GERD effectively.

A few practical tips for minimizing reflux triggers, such as avoiding large meals, fatty and spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Other lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and practicing stress-reduction techniques, can also contribute to symptom improvement.

By adopting these lifestyle modifications, individuals can take control of their digestive health and reduce the frequency and severity of acid reflux and GERD symptoms.

gerd digestive health - From Acid Reflux to GERD: A Deeper Dive into Digestive Discomfort

 

The Role of Diet in Digestive Health

 

Diet plays a significant role in managing acid reflux and GERD. Certain foods and beverages can exacerbate reflux symptoms, while others may provide relief.

We’ll discuss dietary recommendations for individuals with acid reflux and GERD, including incorporating more fiber-rich foods, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables into the diet.

Additionally, we’ll highlight foods to avoid or limit, such as acidic and spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol.

By making strategic dietary choices, individuals can minimize reflux triggers and optimize digestive comfort.

 

Foods To Avoid When Struggling with GERD

 

When managing GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), it’s crucial to avoid certain foods and beverages that can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. Here’s a list of common culprits to avoid:

 

  1. Spicy Foods: Spices like chili peppers, hot sauces, and spicy curries can irritate the esophagus and worsen GERD symptoms.

 

  1. High-Fat Foods: Fatty or greasy foods, such as fried foods, fatty meats, and creamy sauces, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and delay stomach emptying, leading to increased acid reflux.

 

  1. Acidic Foods: Acidic foods and beverages, including citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits), tomatoes, tomato-based sauces, and vinegar, can irritate the esophagus and trigger heartburn.

 

  1. Carbonated Beverages: Carbonated drinks like soda and sparkling water can increase stomach acid production and contribute to bloating and reflux.

 

  1. Caffeinated Beverages: Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and caffeinated sodas can relax the LES and stimulate stomach acid production, exacerbating GERD symptoms.

 

  1. Chocolate: Chocolate contains substances that can weaken the LES and promote reflux, making it advisable to limit or avoid chocolate-based desserts and snacks.

 

  1. Mint: Peppermint and spearmint can relax the LES and worsen symptoms for some individuals. This includes peppermint tea and mint-flavored products.

 

  1. Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can relax the LES and increase stomach acid production, leading to heightened reflux symptoms. It’s best to limit or avoid alcohol, particularly wine and spirits.

 

  1. Processed Foods: Processed snacks, fast food, and packaged meals often contain high levels of salt, fat, and preservatives, which can aggravate GERD symptoms.

 

  1. Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic are known to trigger reflux in some individuals due to their pungent flavor and potential to relax the LES.

 

  1. Spicy Condiments: Spicy condiments like hot sauce, chili sauce, and mustard can irritate the esophagus and exacerbate GERD symptoms.

 

  1. Peppers: Hot peppers, including jalapeños and chili peppers, can trigger heartburn and should be avoided by individuals with GERD.

 

  1. Citrus Juices: While whole citrus fruits are often problematic, citrus juices like orange juice and grapefruit juice can be equally acidic and irritating to the esophagus.

 

  1. Highly Processed Grains: Refined grains like white bread, white rice, and sugary cereals lack fiber and can contribute to reflux symptoms.

 

  1. High-Sugar Foods: Sugary snacks, desserts, and beverages can weaken the LES and increase stomach acid production, exacerbating GERD symptoms.

 

Avoiding these trigger foods and beverages, along with adopting healthy eating habits and lifestyle modifications, can help manage GERD symptoms effectively.

It’s also essential to pay attention to portion sizes, eat smaller meals, and avoid lying down immediately after eating to minimize reflux episodes.

If you’re unsure about which foods to avoid or have difficulty managing GERD symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

 

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, delving into the spectrum of digestive discomfort from acid reflux to GERD sheds light on the complexity of these conditions and the importance of early recognition and management.

Acid reflux, a common occurrence for many, can often be managed through lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications.

However, when acid reflux becomes chronic and leads to complications, it transitions into GERD, a more serious condition that requires medical intervention.

 

Contact Dr. Schneider


Contacting Dr. Schneider is a prudent step towards gaining comprehensive insights into colonoscopy and other screening methods.

 

Dr. Schneider, a distinguished gastroenterologist with a wealth of experience in digestive health, is well-equipped to provide personalized guidance tailored to individual needs.

 

With a commitment to patient education and well-being, Dr. Schneider ensures that individuals are informed about the procedure, addressing any concerns and emphasizing the significance of regular screenings for early detection.

 

Talk to us today to book your appointment.

For further reading on the procedures we perform, please visit our website or contact Dr. Schneider on 011-482-3010.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Introduction

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as GERD, is a prevalent and chronic condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide a detailed examination of GERD, from its underlying causes and symptoms to various management strategies, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and holistic care.

 

Understanding GERD

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as GERD, is a chronic and often bothersome condition characterized by the frequent backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

This reflux of acid can lead to irritation and inflammation of the esophageal lining, causing a range of symptoms that extend beyond occasional heartburn.

Let’s delve into the intricacies of GERD, exploring its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and management.

 

The Anatomy of GERD

 

At the core of GERD lies a malfunction in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that acts as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach.

Normally, the LES opens to allow food to enter the stomach and then closes to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

In individuals with GERD, the LES may weaken or relax abnormally, allowing stomach acid to splash into the esophagus.

 

gerd causes risks - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Causes and Risk Factors

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is caused by the abnormal reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Several factors contribute to this condition, and it often results from a combination of anatomical, lifestyle, and physiological factors.

Here are some of the key contributors to the development of GERD:

 

  1. Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) Dysfunction:
  • Normal Function: The LES is a muscular ring at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. Its role is to act as a valve, allowing food to enter the stomach and preventing stomach contents, including acid, from flowing back into the esophagus.
  • Dysfunction: In individuals with GERD, the LES may weaken or relax inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.

 

  1. Hiatal Hernia:
  • Description: A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.
  • Contribution to GERD: Hiatal hernias can weaken the LES, making it easier for stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.

 

  1. Obesity:
  • Increased Intra-abdominal Pressure: Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, increases intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure can contribute to the weakening of the LES and promote acid reflux.

 

  1. Pregnancy:
  • Increased Pressure: During pregnancy, the growing uterus can exert pressure on the stomach and LES. Hormonal changes, such as the hormone progesterone, can also contribute to LES relaxation.

 

  1. Lifestyle Factors:
  • Diet: Certain foods and beverages can trigger or worsen GERD symptoms. These may include spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Smoking: Smoking can weaken the LES and contribute to increased acid reflux.
  • Eating Habits: Overeating and lying down or going to bed shortly after a meal can increase the risk of acid reflux.

 

  1. Delayed Stomach Emptying (Gastroparesis)
  • Description: Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach takes longer than normal to empty its contents.
  • Contribution to GERD: Delayed stomach emptying can lead to an accumulation of stomach contents, increasing the likelihood of acid reflux.

 

  1. Connective Tissue Disorders:

Conditions such as scleroderma and systemic sclerosis can affect the connective tissues of the body, including the LES, leading to dysfunction and increased risk of GERD.

 

  1. Age:
  • Decreased LES Tone:
    As individuals age, there may be a natural decline in the tone and function of the LES, making older adults more susceptible to GERD.

 

Understanding these factors and their interplay is crucial for both preventing and managing GERD.

Lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and, in some cases, medical or surgical interventions are key components of effective GERD management.

Individuals experiencing persistent symptoms should seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

 

gerd symptoms - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies 

The Spectrum of GERD Symptoms

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can manifest with a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.

It’s important to note that not everyone with GERD experiences the same set of symptoms, and some individuals may have atypical symptoms. Here are the common symptoms associated with GERD:

 

  1. Heartburn:
  • Description: A burning sensation in the chest, often behind the breastbone, that can move upward toward the neck and throat.
  • Triggers: Typically occurs after meals, especially when lying down or bending over.

 

  1. Regurgitation:
  • Description: The sensation of stomach contents, including acid, flowing back into the throat or mouth.
  • Taste: May be accompanied by a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.

 

  1. Chest Pain:
  • Description: Some people with GERD experience chest pain that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Characteristics: The chest pain associated with GERD is usually burning and may radiate to the back, neck, or jaw.

 

  1. Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing):
  • Description: A sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest.
  • Occurrence: Typically occurs when swallowing solid foods.

 

  1. Chronic Cough:
  • Description: A persistent cough that is not related to a respiratory infection or other known causes.
  • Triggers: Coughing may be worse at night or upon waking.

 

  1. Hoarseness or Sore Throat:
  • Description: Irritation of the vocal cords due to exposure to stomach acid.
  • Symptoms: May include a raspy voice, persistent sore throat, or the feeling of a lump in the throat (globus sensation).

 

  1. Wheezing or Asthma-Like Symptoms:
  • Description: GERD can exacerbate asthma symptoms or contribute to the development of wheezing in some individuals.
  • Triggers: Acid reflux may trigger or worsen symptoms in individuals with pre-existing asthma.

gerd diagnosis - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Diagnosing GERD

 

Diagnosing GERD involves a combination of clinical evaluation and diagnostic tests.

Healthcare providers often rely on the patient’s medical history and symptom presentation.

Endoscopy, esophageal pH monitoring, and imaging studies may be employed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

 

Lifestyle Modifications

 

Lifestyle modifications are foundational in managing GERD symptoms. This includes dietary adjustments, such as avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and refraining from lying down after eating.

Weight management, cessation of smoking, and elevating the head of the bed can also contribute to symptom relief.

 

Pharmacological Interventions

 

Pharmacological interventions are commonly employed to reduce the production of stomach acid.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers are among the medications prescribed to alleviate symptoms.

However, these medications are not without potential side effects, and their long-term use is carefully evaluated.

gerd endoscope - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies

Surgical Options

 

For individuals who do not respond to conservative measures or have severe complications, surgical interventions may be considered.

Fundoplication, a procedure that involves wrapping the top of the stomach around the lower esophagus to reinforce the LES, is one of the surgical options for GERD.

 

Complications and Long-Term Risks

 

Untreated or inadequately managed GERD can lead to complications.

Chronic exposure to stomach acid may result in Barrett’s esophagus, a condition characterized by changes in the esophageal lining that increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

Recognizing and addressing these long-term risks is crucial in GERD management.

 

Integrative and Holistic Approaches

 

Holistic approaches to GERD care involve considering the interconnectedness of physical and mental health.

Stress management, mindfulness practices, and dietary modifications beyond acid-avoidance can contribute to a comprehensive strategy for managing GERD.

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, GERD is a multifaceted condition that requires personalized management.

Empowering individuals with knowledge about its causes, symptoms, and various management strategies is key to navigating life with GERD and enhancing overall well-being.


Dr. Schneider
is located at the Mill Park Hospital, Parktown, Johannesburg.

Services offered include consultation, and endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

 

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of gluten intolerance in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

 


The human
gastrointestinal (GI) system, a complex and intricate network of organs and tissues, plays a pivotal role in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and expelling waste.

However, it’s susceptible to a range of disorders, many of which can cause discomfort, distress, and long-term health complications.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, providing insights into their symptoms, causes, and management strategies.

Understanding the Gastrointestinal System

 

Before delving into specific disorders, it’s essential to comprehend the gastrointestinal system’s main components:

Mouth: The digestive process begins here as food is broken down by chewing and mixed with saliva, which contains digestive enzymes.

Esophagus: A muscular tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.

Stomach: Food is mixed with digestive juices, including stomach acid and enzymes, to form a semi-liquid mixture called chyme.

Small Intestine: This is where the majority of nutrient absorption occurs. The walls are lined with tiny hair-like structures called villi, which increase the surface area for nutrient uptake.

Large Intestine (Colon): Water and electrolytes are absorbed here, and waste materials are formed into feces for elimination.

Liver: It produces bile, which is essential for fat digestion, and detoxifies the blood.

Gallbladder: Stores and concentrates bile, releasing it into the small intestine when needed for digestion.

Pancreas: It produces digestive enzymes that are secreted into the small intestine and hormones like insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar levels.

 

gastrintestinal disorder symptoms causes 2 - Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

 

Common Gastrointestinal Disorders

 

1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Symptoms: Heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough.

Causes: Weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, often due to diet, obesity, or a hiatal hernia.

Management: Lifestyle modifications (diet, weight loss), medications to reduce acid production, and in severe cases, surgery to repair the LES.

 

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or both (IBS-D, IBS-C, IBS-M).

Causes: Exact cause is unknown, but factors like altered gut motility, visceral hypersensitivity, and psychological stress may contribute.

Management: Dietary changes (low-FODMAP diet), stress management, medications for specific symptoms, and psychological therapies.

3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Crohn’s Disease
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, inflammation can occur anywhere from mouth to anus.

Causes: Likely involves an abnormal immune response and genetic predisposition.

Management: Medications to control inflammation, surgery in severe cases, and lifestyle changes.

 

Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms: Diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, weight loss, inflammation is limited to the colon and rectum.

Causes: Complex, involving genetics, immune system abnormalities, and environmental factors.

Management: Medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery in some cases.

 

4. Gallstones

Symptoms: Abdominal pain (biliary colic), nausea, vomiting, inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis).

Causes: The formation of hardened deposits in the gallbladder, often due to the imbalance of substances in bile.

Management: Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the most common treatment.

5. Celiac Disease

Symptoms: Digestive symptoms, as well as fatigue, joint pain, skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis), triggered by gluten consumption.

Causes: An autoimmune reaction to the protein gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye, in genetically predisposed individuals.

Management: A lifelong gluten-free diet, which typically leads to symptom resolution.

 

6. Diverticulitis

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, fever, changes in bowel habits, typically on the left side of the lower abdomen.

Causes: Small pouches (diverticula) in the colon can become inflamed or infected.

Management: Mild cases are often treated with antibiotics, while severe cases may require surgery.

7. Gastroenteritis

Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, typically caused by viral or bacterial infections.

Causes: Infection with pathogens like norovirus, rotavirus, or food poisoning.

Management: Rest, hydration, and, in severe cases, medications to control symptoms.

gastrointestinal disorders management - Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Management Strategies for Gastrointestinal Disorders

 

Managing gastrointestinal disorders often involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgery.

Let’s delve into these management strategies:

Lifestyle Modifications:

 

  1. Dietary Changes: Many GI disorders benefit from dietary modifications. For example, GERD may require avoiding acidic and spicy foods, while IBS patients often find relief with a low-FODMAP diet.
  2. Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate many GI conditions, so stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises are essential.
  3. Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help regulate bowel function, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being.
  4. Sleep Hygiene: Ensuring adequate and restful sleep can have a positive impact on GI health.

Medications:

 

  • Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): These medications are often prescribed for GERD to reduce stomach acid.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: In cases of IBD, anti-inflammatory drugs like mesalamine or steroids are used to control inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressants: For more severe cases of IBD, immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed to modulate the immune system’s response.
  • Antispasmodics: These medications help relieve abdominal cramping and pain, which are common in IBS.

gi disorders lifestyle change - Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

 

Surgery:

 

In some cases, surgery is necessary to manage or treat gastrointestinal disorders. For example:

  • Cholecystectomy: Surgical removal of the gallbladder to treat gallstones.
  • Colectomy: In cases of severe ulcerative colitis or diverticulitis, removal of a portion of the colon may be required.
  • Ileostomy or Colostomy: In severe cases of IBD, diverticulitis, or trauma, these procedures involve creating a stoma to allow waste to exit the body, bypassing the affected area. 

The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Medical Guidance

 

Gastrointestinal disorders can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.

While lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications can help manage mild symptoms, early diagnosis and medical guidance are crucial for more severe or persistent conditions.

If you suspect you have a gastrointestinal disorder or are experiencing symptoms like chronic abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, or persistent discomfort, seek medical evaluation and diagnosis from a healthcare provider.

gi disorders diagnose - Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

What Can I Do to Prevent Digestive Issues?

Preventing digestive issues and promoting gastrointestinal health involves adopting a proactive approach to your diet and lifestyle.

Here are some practical steps you can take to minimize the risk of digestive problems and maintain a healthy gut:

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet:
  • Fiber: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet to promote regular bowel movements and a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Probiotic-Rich Foods: Incorporate yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Limit Sugar and Processed Foods: Excessive sugar and processed foods can negatively impact the gut. Reducing their consumption can help maintain gut health.
  1. Stay Hydrated:
  • Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Dehydration can lead to constipation.
  1. Control Portion Sizes:
  • Overeating can lead to discomfort and indigestion. Practice portion control to avoid overloading your digestive system.
  1. Manage Stress:
  • Chronic stress can disrupt digestion. Engage in stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or mindfulness to maintain a healthy gut-brain connection.
  1. Exercise Regularly:
  • Physical activity helps promote gastrointestinal motility and overall well-being.
  1. Get Adequate Sleep:
  • Quality sleep is essential for gut health and overall physical and mental health.
  1. Limit Alcohol and Avoid Excessive Caffeine:
  • Both alcohol and excessive caffeine can irritate the gastrointestinal lining. Moderation is key.
  1. Avoid Smoking:
  • Smoking can contribute to various digestive problems, including acid reflux and peptic ulcers. Quitting smoking is beneficial for both your overall health and your gut.
  1. Be Mindful of Food Intolerances:
  • If you suspect you have food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, identify and manage these triggers by adjusting your diet accordingly.

gastrointestinal disorders infographic - Gastrointestinal Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

 

Contact Dr. Schneider

 

In conclusion, gastrointestinal disorders encompass a wide range of conditions that affect the digestive system, from the mouth to the rectum.

These disorders can cause discomfort, pain, and disruption to daily life.

However, with early diagnosis, proper management, and often simple lifestyle changes, many individuals can effectively manage their gastrointestinal issues and improve their quality of life.

Dr. Schneider is located at the Mill Park Hospital, Parktown, Johannesburg.

Services offered include consultation, and endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

 

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of gluten intolerance in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GERD Awareness: Spreading Knowledge for Better Digestive Health

GERD Awareness: Spreading Knowledge for Better Digestive Health

 

Introduction

 

In a fast-paced world filled with work demands and daily stressors, we often overlook the intricate workings of our digestive system.

Yet, the harmony of this system is essential for our overall well-being. Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that demands our attention.

By raising awareness about GERD, we can equip ourselves with the knowledge needed to identify its symptoms, manage its impact, and pave the way for better digestive health.

This article delves into the importance of GERD awareness and its role in promoting overall well-being.

 

Understanding GERD

 

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is not a mere case of occasional heartburn.

It’s a chronic condition that occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the oesophagus, leading to irritation, inflammation, and a range of uncomfortable symptoms.

This condition can significantly affect one’s quality of life, making awareness about its causes, symptoms, and management strategies essential.

 

Symptoms and Impact

 

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) manifests through a range of symptoms that can vary in severity among individuals.

Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for early detection and effective management of the condition.

Here are some common symptoms of GERD:

Heartburn:
This is the hallmark symptom of GERD. It’s characterized by a burning sensation in the chest that typically occurs after eating, when lying down, or at night. The discomfort may extend from the chest to the throat.

Regurgitation:
Individuals with GERD often experience regurgitation, which is the sensation of stomach contents flowing back into the throat or mouth. It can result in a sour or bitter taste.

Chest Pain:
While GERD pain is often described as a burning sensation, some people may experience chest pain that is similar to that of heart-related conditions. It’s essential to differentiate between GERD-related chest pain and other heart-related issues.

Difficulty Swallowing:
Known as dysphagia, this symptom occurs when the narrowing of the oesophagus due to inflammation or scarring makes swallowing challenging or uncomfortable.

Chronic Cough:
GERD-induced acid reflux can irritate the airways and trigger a persistent cough. This cough may be worse when lying down or after eating.

Hoarseness:
The backflow of stomach acid into the throat can irritate the vocal cords, leading to hoarseness and changes in voice quality.

Sore Throat:
The acid irritation can also cause a persistent sore throat or a sensation of having a lump in the throat (globus sensation).

Worsening Asthma Symptoms:
For individuals with asthma, GERD can exacerbate respiratory symptoms. Acid reflux can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms, including wheezing and shortness of breath.

Dental Erosion:
Chronic exposure to stomach acid can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental problems such as increased sensitivity, cavities, and enamel wear.

Sleep Disturbances:
Nighttime symptoms, such as coughing, regurgitation, and discomfort, can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to insomnia.


It’s important to note that while these symptoms are common in GERD, they can also be indicative of other medical conditions.

If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, especially chest pain, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.

Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and potentially recommend tests to determine if GERD or another condition is causing your discomfort.

Early diagnosis and proper management can greatly improve your quality of life and prevent complications associated with GERD.

 

gerd symptoms - GERD Awareness: Spreading Knowledge for Better Digestive Health

Causes and Risk Factors

 

Several factors contribute to the development of GERD. A weakened lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus, allows stomach acid to flow back.

Lifestyle choices like smoking, obesity, and poor dietary habits also play a role.

Recognizing these causes empowers individuals to make informed choices that can prevent or mitigate GERD.

 

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle

 

Diet and lifestyle choices play a crucial role in managing GERD symptoms. Eating smaller meals, avoiding lying down immediately after eating, and elevating the head of the bed can reduce the likelihood of reflux episodes.

Weight management and quitting smoking also contribute to symptom relief.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can be aggravated by certain foods and beverages that trigger acid reflux and worsen symptoms.

Avoiding these trigger foods can help manage GERD and reduce discomfort.

Here’s a list of foods to avoid if you have GERD:

  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and other citrus fruits are highly acidic and can increase stomach acid production, leading to reflux.
  • Tomatoes and Tomato-Based Products: Tomatoes are also acidic and can contribute to acid reflux. Avoid tomato sauces, ketchup, and tomato-based soups.
  • Spicy Foods: Spices like chili, hot peppers, and curry can irritate the oesophagus and trigger reflux in some individuals.
  • Fried and Fatty Foods: High-fat foods can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus. This includes fried foods, fatty meats, and rich desserts.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains substances that can weaken the LES and increase the risk of acid reflux.
  • Mint: Mint and products containing mint, such as peppermint tea and mint-flavored gum, can relax the LES and worsen reflux symptoms.
  • Coffee and Caffeinated Beverages: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks can relax the LES and stimulate stomach acid production.
  • Carbonated Beverages: Soda and carbonated drinks can lead to bloating and increase pressure on the LES, potentially causing reflux.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can relax the LES and increase stomach acid production, making it a common trigger for acid reflux.
  • Onions and Garlic: Both onions and garlic can cause relaxation of the LES and may trigger reflux symptoms.
  • Highly Acidic Foods: Aside from citrus fruits, other acidic foods like vinegar, pickles, and certain dressings should be consumed in moderation.
  • Milk and Dairy: While dairy products aren’t universally problematic, high-fat dairy items like whole milk and full-fat cheese can worsen reflux in some individuals.
  • Processed Meats: Processed meats, such as sausages and bacon, are often high in fat and can exacerbate reflux.
  • High-Sugar Foods: High-sugar foods and beverages can relax the LES and increase stomach acid production, potentially worsening reflux.
  • Spearmint and Wintergreen: Like peppermint, these herbs can relax the LES and contribute to reflux symptoms.


It’s important to note that while these foods are commonly associated with triggering GERD symptoms, individual responses can vary.

Some people may be able to tolerate certain foods on this list in small quantities, while others may need to avoid them entirely.

Keeping a food diary and tracking your symptoms can help you identify which foods exacerbate your GERD symptoms so you can make informed dietary choices.

If you’re unsure about what to eat, consider consulting a healthcare provider or registered dietitian who can offer personalized guidance based on your specific needs and triggers.

gerd causes lifestyle - GERD Awareness: Spreading Knowledge for Better Digestive Health

 

Promoting GERD Awareness

 

Spreading awareness about GERD involves education through various channels, including healthcare providers, public health campaigns, and individual efforts.

The more people understand the symptoms, risk factors, and potential complications of GERD, the better equipped they are to recognize the signs and seek medical attention.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment

 

Diagnosing GERD involves a combination of medical history, symptom assessment, and possibly diagnostic tests like endoscopy and pH monitoring.

Treatment strategies range from lifestyle modifications to over-the-counter antacids and prescription medications that reduce stomach acid production.

In severe cases, surgery might be considered.

 

Empowering through Education

 

Empowering individuals with knowledge about GERD enable them to take control of their digestive health.

Through education, people can recognize symptoms, seek medical attention promptly, and implement lifestyle changes that improve their overall well-being.

  gerd awareness infographic - GERD Awareness: Spreading Knowledge for Better Digestive Health

 

Conclusion

 

GERD awareness is not just about understanding a condition; it’s about nurturing a sense of responsibility for our digestive health.

By spreading awareness, we arm ourselves with the tools to identify GERD, manage its symptoms, and adopt preventive measures.

Through knowledge, we take a proactive step toward enhancing our well-being. As we champion GERD awareness, we pave the way for better digestive health and improved quality of life for ourselves and those around us.

Remember, awareness is the cornerstone of prevention, and together, we can build a healthier future.

Dr. Schneider is located at the Mill Park Hospital, Parktown, Johannesburg.

Services offered include consultation, and endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

 

What is GORD?

 

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition that affects the oesophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

When the oesophagus is irritated by gastric juices and food regurgitated from the stomach, a burning sensation (heartburn) may be felt in the chest.

GORD can also lead to difficulty swallowing and chest pain. GORD is sometimes called reflux and is sometimes confused with the stomach flu.

To understand GORD, it is important to know how the oesophagus normally works.

Food and drink pass from the mouth to the oesophagus, which passes the food into the stomach.

A valve at the bottom of the oesophagus opens when we swallow to allow food to pass through and then closes to prevent food and drink from going up the oesophagus.

GORD occurs when this valve does not close properly and food and stomach acid travel back up the oesophagus.

In this article we explain the causes, symptoms and how GORD can be diagnosed.

 

What Are the Symptoms Of GORD?

 

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a long-term condition where stomach acid flows back into the food pipe (oesophagus).

It causes irritation and inflammation and may lead to ulcers and more serious complications.

GORD is also known as acid reflux disease or heartburn. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest, which may feel worse when lying down.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea 

  • Coughing 

  • Vomiting 

  • A lump in your throat 

  • Trouble swallowing 

  • Bad breath 

  • Sleep problems 

  • Upper abdominal chest pain 

  • Inflammation of vocal cords

You may have these symptoms, on and off or several times a week.
These symptoms may last for hours or days.

If you experience severe symptoms, make sure to seek medical assistance.
 

gord diagnosis - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

 

Diagnosis of GORD

 

The best way to diagnose GORD is to rule out other causes of heartburn like hiatal hernia.

A doctor will ask you detailed questions about your eating habits, sleeping habits, and lifestyle and will also perform a physical exam to note any bodily signs.

Finally, the doctor will likely perform an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, which is a procedure in which a tube is inserted into the throat and down the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine.

The doctor will look for lesions, ulcers, or other abnormalities in the tissues, as well as check for signs of heartburn such as inflammation, swelling in the esophagus, and acid reflux.

 

Who Is Most At-Risk of Developing GORD?  

 

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) is a very common condition, affecting many people worldwide. 

One of the most common questions that I am often asked is: “Who gets GORD?”

The answer to this question is that most people who develop GORD are generally over the age of 40, however it is not unusual to see patients in their 20s, 30s and even younger.

The majority of people who suffer with GORD are not overweight and the condition can affect both men and women.

GORD is not only a problem that affects the stomach and throat, but it can also cause long-term damage to the oesophagus and can even lead to complications such as oesophageal cancer. 

gord symptoms - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

What Causes GORD?


Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or gastric reflux is a common condition in which acid from the stomach flows back into the oesophagus (gullet).

The most common symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease are heartburn and regurgitation of acid into the mouth.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease has several causes including:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol 

  • Eating large meals 

  • Peppermint 

  • Fried foods 

  • Coffee 

  • Smoking 

  • Obesity 

  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate 

  • Inadequate muscle tone at the lower end of the oesophagus
  • Weak LES
  • Low stomach acid production
  • Certain diseases (e.g. diabetes, giardia)

 

What Damage Can GORD Cause?  

 

GORD, also known as “heartburn” is when the stomach acid mixes with food and causes an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest. If it happens frequently, it can lead to more problems such as ulcers.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, or simply referred to as GORD, is a disease which causes the stomach acid to reflux, or come up, into the oesophagus and mouth.

It usually occurs when there is a weakness in the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS), the ring of muscle that separates the oesophagus and the stomach.

Because of this, the acid is able to come up the oesophagus and reach the mouth, causing a burning sensation.

Gastro-oesophageal disease can cause extensive damage to the lining of your oesophagus. This results in bleeding and ulcers forming on the lining, which can be very painful.

You can avoid this by rotating your beverage at meals, making sure to rinse your mouth out with water after meals, and avoiding alcohol.

Now that you know the causes and symptoms of the disease, make sure to avoid it and protect yourself from further pain.

gord foods avoid - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

 

How Is GORD Treated?

 

There is a wide range of treatments for Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, and each has pros and cons.

The most common treatment for this condition is medication. These are available in liquid, tablet, and pill form.

The downside to these medications is that some people find them ineffective or too expensive.

A good alternative treatment for this are surgery and endoscopy.

By removing the lower esophageal sphincter, the problem is fixed and it’s a permanent solution.
There are a few downsides to this treatment, however, as it is risky and may be expensive.

The most recommended treatment is the one with the least negative side effects.

Some find that they can control their symptoms with lifestyle changes, like avoiding foods that irritate the stomach or lie on their right side.

However, there are some natural remedies that may be helpful.

The most effective natural remedies include avoiding known triggers, lifestyle changes, and taking nutritional supplements.

 

Simple Lifestyle Changes for GORD

 

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease can be caused by a number of different factors including structural abnormalities, lifestyle choices and stress.

A lot of people don’t know that through a change in diet, specifically removing things that contribute to toxins, can improve the symptoms of this disease.

Others might think that a medicine will be all they need, but this is not true. While it is important to take your medicine, self-care is equal to it.

A lot of people with this disease are able to control it through lifestyle choices, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep

     

  • Exercising

     

  • Practicing stress-relieving methods like yoga and breathing exercises.

     

gord explained infographic - Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease Explained

 

Contact Dr. Schneider

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease is a dangerous condition that can quickly change a person’s life in a matter of years.

By learning about the things, you can do to prevent it, you can make sure it doesn’t affect you or your loved ones.

It’s important that everyone knows the right steps to take when it comes to preventing this disease. It’s common to have some sort of heartburn in your life.

But if you feel like you’re suffering from it a lot more, you might have more serious symptoms. If the symptoms get worse, you could be at risk for developing Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease.

Dr. Schneider is a medical professional with many years of experience in the field.  His services include endoscopy procedures such as, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, and video capsule endoscopy.

If you are concerned about your symptoms or think you might have Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, talk to Dr. Schneider to book your appointment.

For further reading on the procedures we perform, please visit our website or contact Dr. Schneider on 011-482-3010.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

What is GERD and How to Deal with It?

What is GERD and How to Deal with It?

 Overview

GERD is one of the most common chronic conditions among adults.

Sometimes called “acid reflux” and other times “heartburn“, the problem of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) affects millions of people around the world.

By definition, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a heartburn condition that involves the stomach’s acidic digestive juices flowing backwards into the esophagus and irritating this passage.

This could be as a result of an abnormality with reflux or swallowing malfunction, which in most cases makes patients prone to recurring and worsening heartburn pain.

Common symptoms include but are not limited to:

Burning sensation at the back of your throat, chest burning and even chest pain or discomfort that worsens after eating, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or regurgitation of food from the esophagus into the mouth, it typically comes up in one big reflex for some people – often accompanied by a sour taste (acetous belching).

It affects millions of people every year and ninety percent go undiagnosed.

Acid reflux can be treated by altering certain lifestyle factors and taking medications, but the general rule is that if the symptoms aren’t causing any noticeable damage, then it may not be necessary to take actions to manage them.

How do you know if you have it?

In this article we discuss the signs to look for and how prevention can be done from your side.

It is also important to consult your doctor should you experience any of the below symptoms.

 

GERD Symptoms

 

There are several symptoms associated with GERD, and many people do not understand what is happening in their body when their symptoms arise.

Symptoms tend to get worse when you lie down. It also gets worse after a meal or certain foods such as chocolate, mints, caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits or fatty foods.

Smoking also causes damage to the esophageal lining so it is a good idea to stop smoking if possible while working on getting control of GERD symptoms.

Some studies show that pregnant women with GERD can pass on problems associated with GERD (such as asthma) to their developing babies during pregnancy through intrauterine exposure to gastric contents that are not properly handled.

If you have acid reflux, you might develop a bitter or sour taste at the back of your mouth.

The most common symptoms of GERD include:

  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Pain When Swallowing
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Chronic Cough
  • A Hoarse Voice
  • Bad Breath
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

Should you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor to make an appointment.

gerd chest pain - What is GERD and How to Deal with It?

 

GERD Causes

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is the backward flow of stomach acid through the esophageal sphincter. Typically, it can happen a few times a year and it causes heartburn and indigestion.

Although some people think that GERD can be cured by diet alone, then they may need to read on to find out how nutritional medicine and lifestyle management could help them.

There are several factors that can make it more likely that you’ll have GERD, the most common factors are as follows:

  • Smoking
  • Large meals
  • Eating before bed
  • Certain medications
  • Certain foods i.e., chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, or alcohol
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Delayed emptying of stomach

One of the most common causes of GERD, they tend to be caused by acid in the digestive tract, which can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, causing it to open, releasing acid directly into the esophagus.

If people are eliminating these trigger foods and adding healthier ones but still have problems with discomfort or heartburn, then there’s a possibility that one of these other factors is at play.

People with GERD need to keep a careful eye on what they’re eating–foods that are spicy hot, or full of sugar or fat should be avoided.

Instead, try consuming more dry sweeteners in place of regular sugar and notice if there’s any difference; this may help reduce symptoms without sacrificing flavor.

Also try out healthier grass-fed low glycemic index carbohydrates that are whole grain based instead.

gerd explained - What is GERD and How to Deal with It?

GERD Prevention: Diet and Lifestyle

 

Basically, the eating plan and lifestyle changes that are required to keep GERD symptoms in check are designed to reduce stomach acidity and improve digestion.

This can be achieved by keeping a journal of meals, beverages and snacks consumed over a period of time.

While journaling is taking place, also keep track of any other variables that might be contributing to GERD such as aggressive or inappropriate eating behavior or exercise patterns.

Once you’ve identified potential triggers using journaling, you can start working on your change program by implementing prescribed diet changes from a suitable resource.

By making small but effective changes at the ground level of your lifestyle and habits, like cutting out processed foods or adding more whole foods into your diet, GERD symptoms will lessen — along with any medications needed for the treatment.

The following may lessen your symptoms of GERD:

  • Elevate your head when sleeping
  • Avoid food triggers such as chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods etc
  • Eating smaller servings
  • Eat slowly
  • Stop smoking
  • Remain at a healthy weight
  • Wear loose clothes
  • Chew your food thoroughly

gerd foods to avoid - What is GERD and How to Deal with It?


GERD Treatment

Many sufferers are prescribed medication such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to help soothe the discomfort associated with GERD.

However, natural remedies have also been shown to be useful in treating GERD and many people take herbal supplements like ginger root, peppermint tea or slippery elm to help alleviate symptoms.

Diet can also play a part in relief from symptoms of GERD – those who suffer are often advised to avoid spicy foods and fatty meals.

Your doctor might also suggest that you take over-the-counter medications such as antacids, receptor blockers and pump inhibitors.

 

Diagnosing GERD

 

Diagnosing GERD is a process that requires the elimination of any other possible conditions that could be causing your symptoms in order to identify whether you have reflux or not.

It’s best to visit your doctor first and get put through a series of examinations and tests, such as gastroscopy, ultrasound scans, barium swallow or pH monitoring to determine what the root cause of your condition is.

GERD can severely affect the quality of your life but diagnosing the problem and finding a solution doesn’t have to be difficult.

Unfortunately, standard diagnostic practices such as a barium swallow, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), X-ray and CT scan often turn up inconclusive results.

This leaves doctors unable to properly assist their patients.

If you experience GERD two or more times a week, it is a chronic condition that’s not just uncomfortable, but can have long-term effects on your health.

Talk with your doctor so you can get the proper treatment to be pain-free.

what is gerd heartburn - What is GERD and How to Deal with It?

 

When To See a Gastroenterologist

There is no one definitive answer to the question of when to see a gastroenterologist.
However, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide when to seek medical help.

In essence, GERD symptoms are the consequence of a weakened LES but may be treated, in most cases, with OTC medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery if needed.

Undergoing a lifestyle inspection and changing habits where applicable may mean the difference between continuously treating GERD symptoms and never having to deal with the problem of a lax lower oesophageal sphincter in the first place.

Prevention is better than cure.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible:

  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Pain When Swallowing
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Chronic Cough
  • A Hoarse Voice
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of GERD in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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