What is GERD?
GERD Stands for Gastroesophageal reflux disease
GERD is commonly a digestive disorder which occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.
Most of the people would have definitely experienced this from time to time. GERD is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week.
Symptoms of GERD
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which might be worse at night
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Sensation of a lump in your throat
If you have nighttime acid reflux, you might also experience:
- Chronic cough
- New or worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
Causes of GERD
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when you swallow. Then it tightens and closes again afterwards.
Acid reflux happens when your LES doesn’t tighten or close properly. This allows digestive juices and other contents from your stomach to rise up into your esophagus.
Diagnosing of GERD
If your doctor suspects you might have GERD, they’ll conduct a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
They might use one or more of the following procedures to confirm a diagnosis or check for complications of GERD:
Barium swallow: This test is taken after drinking a barium solution, X-ray imaging is used to examine your upper digestive tract
Upper endoscopy: a flexible tube with a tiny camera is sent into your esophagus to examine it and collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) if needed
Esophageal manometry: a flexible tube is threaded into your esophagus to measure the strength of your esophageal muscles
Esophageal pH monitoring: a monitor is inserted into your esophagus to learn if and when stomach acid enters it