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Indigestion? It Could Be GERD!

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Indigestion? It Could Be GERD!

All of us are foodies at some level- some of us live to eat, while others eat to live. No matter what the scenario is, all of us understand how important food is, and how much of a delightful experience eating out favourite dishes are.

However, many times, after having had a satisfying meal, we feel like our food pipe is on fire. There are other times when mashed food returns to find its way back to the place from which it made an entry into our bodies.

We often use the term ‘indigestion’ to refer to this issue, sleep it off or pop a pill, but we never take it seriously. So,  before we get to the root of the matter, let’s understand what’s going on here.

It might be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or (GERD).

You must be wondering what it is, and maybe it sounds quite like a terrorising gastric trouble. So here’s what it is:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a digestive disorder that affects the lower area of the oesophagus, i.e., the ring of the muscle between the oesophagus and stomach.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a prevalent problem which is seen in many people, including pregnant women. The most common symptoms are heartburn or acid indigestion which most evade with a simple tablet that’s commonly found in all households. But little do they know that understanding the actual problem might help in treating it the right way since it is capable of becoming chronic, and making the person psychologically hypochondriac.  Although GERD can be cured well with changes in diet and lifestyle, some people may require medication or surgery in severe cases.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Let’s take a quick look at what causes GERD, and its symptoms:

Causes of Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Occasional acid reflux or the return of the digestive juices upwards into the food pipe often occurs as a result of overeating, lying down after eating or eating particular foods. GERD is commonly noticed in people who are:

  • Excessively overweight: Excess body weight or obesity leads to pressure on the abdomen, and results in increased pressure on the oesophagus as well.
  • Women who are pregnant: During pregnancy, the women have their stomachs growing which may lead to pressure on the abdomen.
  • Taking medications which are strong: Some medicines including asthma medications, calcium channel blockers, and antidepressants aggravate these acidic juices in the body.
  • People who smoke: Those who have too much of exposure to smoke or excess passive smoking are also at a risk of having gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Signs and symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease

The most common and main symptom of GERD is heartburn. Heartburn is a discomfort that is usually felt in the breastbone which feels like a burning sensation inside. It increases if the person lies down or bends. It also makes the person feel heavy and occurs maximum after eating food. However, not everyone experiences heartburn necessarily. Other symptoms of GERD are:

  • Nausea or vomiting sensation
  • Respiratory problems
  • Bad breath
  • Wearing away of the teeth or tooth decay
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing food

Many other factors contribute to gastroesophageal problems which may or may not become chronic health conditions. But having them treated well in time and avoiding are better options to choose.

Diet and lifestyle choices are the most important factors that contribute in treating and avoiding GERD. Certain foods and beverages, such as chocolates, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, high caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, and alcohol, may aggravate reflux and heartburn. Physical and mental activity increases the metabolism in the body and can keep gastric troubles at bay.

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