What is GERD? It is a form of chronic heartburn that is called gastroesophageal reflux disease.  The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. When you suffer from GERD, it often becomes swollen and irritated over time, which leads to inflammation and scarring. GERD can activate many symptoms that interfere with daily living.

GERD can bring about difficulty swallowing, chronic heartburn, hoarseness, voice changes, difficulty breathing, and ulcers. Having any of these symptoms on a daily or weekly basis means it’s time to see a physician. What are the three most troubling GERD symptoms that can make your life miserable? 

Heartburn

Heartburn or acid indigestion is a burning feeling behind the breastbone that often moves up the neck and throat. It often leaves an acid or bitter taste in your mouth. This symptom can last two hours after eating making it hard to work or do daily activities. Lying down often makes the symptoms worse.   Lifestyle changes that help are avoiding acidic, fried and spicy food, decreasing the size of the meal, and avoid smoking. Often over the counter antacids help with minor symptoms.

When heartburn is constant seeing a doctor for gastroesophageal reflux disease is important. Doctors can prescribe prescription drugs that will control severe symptoms or recommend surgery. They will probably advise you not to lie down after meals for at least two hours and several lifestyle changes.

Severe symptoms often need prescription medications so see your doctor. Pregnant women often suffer from GERD and heartburn because in the third trimester the fetus puts pressure on the stomach. People that are overweight, smoke, or have asthma have increased risk of GERD symptoms.

Regurgitation

Another symptom of GERD is the feeling of acid backing up into your throat and sometimes food that comes back up. Severe symptoms lead to vomiting after you have eaten. It occurs in varying degrees of severity depending on the person. This symptom occurs in about 80% of patients with GERD. Patients describe it as a sour taste in the mouth and fluid moving up and down the chest.

Some patients have this symptom on a daily basis.  Other experience it 3 to 4 times each week. Often this symptom occurs after eating a rich meal and lying down. Sometimes exercising or bending after meals causes food to come back up.  It is believed that patients with a damaged sphincter muscle in the esophagus may experience this symptom more. 

This is a sign of advancing reflux disease. Regurgitation can occur at night and It often happens without warning. It is important to find a physician that treats GERD and find a medical solution that is best for you.

 Difficulty Swallowing

Another symptom that occurs with this illness is difficulty swallowing. Chronic acid in the throat can often irritate it, and can often cause you damage that is permanent. When the esophagus is damaged you develop scar tissue.  The symptoms vary in each person.  Some people have difficulty swallowing food and no trouble with liquids. Other patients have problems with liquids and trouble with solid foods.

You may have pain when swallowing, choking, and a feeling that food is stuck behind your breastbone. These symptoms often occur when you eat foods that trigger acid reflux like citrus fruits, tomatoes, fried and spicy foods. It is necessary to see a doctor who can suggest lifestyle changes and medications to help you with this condition.

Don’t let these annoying GERD symptoms ruin your life. Seek the advice of a qualified doctor when you suffer from any of these symptoms. There are many treatments for GERD symptoms  from prescription medications to surgery that relieve the problem.

Written by: Joan Russell

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