What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?
Everything You Need To Know About GERD
GERD is a condition in which the ring of muscles between the stomach and the esophagus effects and may damage the lining of the esophagus.
Gastro means your stomach. Esophagus means your food pipe with which the food enters the stomach. Reflux means to flow back, upward or return. So Gastroesophageal reflux disease means that the stomach acid gets pushed up into the esophagus, resulting in burning pain, commonly known as heartburn or pyrosis. When a person experiences acid reflux at least twice in a week, that person is considered to be suffering from GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease Ayurvedic treatment with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes may provide the relief from acidity in the stomach.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms
- Experiences a burning sensation in the gullet, right behind the sternum or breastbone.
- The burn feels worse when the sick person bends over or lies down. It may last for minutes or several hours and seems to worsen after meals.
- This acid may move towards the upper part of the esophagus causing the burn to feel much higher and a sour taste at the back of the throat. When this happens at least two times in the same week, one is considered to suffer from GERD.
There are other some possible symptoms include:
- Dry and unrelenting cough
- Asthma, Wheezing
- Recurrent pneumonia
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Dental erosion
- Sore throat or hoarseness
- Vomiting, Respiratory problems
- Chest pain, heartburn
- Pain when swallowing
- Causes of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which is produced during digestion. Acid reflux happens when some of the acidic contents of the stomach rise from the stomach into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
Unlike the stomach, the esophagus has no lining to protect it from the acidity of hydrochloric acid. A ring-like muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus called gastroesophageal sphincter offers this protection. The muscle is a valve that only allows food into but not out of the stomach. When the valve malfunctions, it allows acidic stomach content to rise into the esophagus.
This situation can be caused by hiatal hernia – when the top part of the stomach enters the thoracic cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. Hiatal hernia can’t be prevented. However, other causes include smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, and taking some medication such as sedatives, painkillers, and antihistamines. Pregnancies also cause the disease because of the compression of the organs within the torso.
Complications of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Lack of treatment of GERD is a predisposing factor to cancer and other illnesses. The continued exposure of the esophagus to acid reflux could damage the organ and lead to complications such as:
- Esophagitis – inflammation, irritation, and eventual bleeding and ulceration of the esophagus.
- Strictures – development of scars, which can lead to difficulties during swallowing, including food particles getting stuck in the esophagus.
- Barrett’s esophagus – changes in the makeup of cells and tissues on the inner side of the esophagus, which may develop into cancer cells.
Prevention of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Take time after eating a heavy meal before lying down or sleeping.
- Consume less table salt.
- Avoid eating too many citrus fruits.
- Keep away from alcohol.
- Exercise your body, especially after meals.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Gastric Problems
In Ayurveda, Agni (fire) that is responsible for smooth bodily operations is either nourished or impaired by the food one eats. Ayurveda cautions against fried foods, very cold foods, and processed meat as they create Ama (toxins). Ayurvedic treatment for acidity in the stomach advised only to eat when hungry; avoid cold, oily, fried, and spicy foods; and after eating, take at least three hours before eating again.
Home Remedies for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- You can also eat fennel seeds, holy basil, and other natural spices.
- Chew on something such as gum after eating.
- Eat fruits. Avoid fruits that have acidic content like oranges, grapes, etc.
- Sleep on your left side which may help to avoid heartburn.
- Ginger Tea, Chamomile Tea.
- Avoid distractions while eating like reading, writing, speaking, etc.
- Have aloe vera juice, banana, honey.
Diet and Lifestyle for GERD Patients
- Quit smoking as nicotine weakens the muscles of the body that control the valve between the stomach and the esophagus.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes around your torso.
- Eat lighter meals more frequently because a larger meal may apply more pressure on the stomach.
- Avoid the food that triggers the problem like coffee, tea, and spicy food.
- Avoid lying down after meals. Take a few hours and exercise, if possible, before you sleep.
- Reduce the pressure on your stomach. More the pressure on the stomach may cause gastric problems.
- Until the meal is digested Maintain an upright posture that may also prevent heartburn.
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