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Updated on September 8, 2020

Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices go back up (reflux) from the stomach into the oesophagus causing symptoms.  Prevalence of GERD symptoms is around 20% of the population.

Symptoms of GERD

  • Heartburn (burning chest pain or discomfort at the stomach which can go up to the throat)
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid (sour or bitter taste going up your throat)
  • Bloated feeling after meals
  • Frequent burping and bad breath
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Disturbed sleep

Causes

Most of the time, the cause is due to laxity of the lower esophageal stomach sphincter (known as one-way valve) or hiatus hernia which allows the stomach acid juices to back flow (reflux) from the stomach up the esophagus.  Other risk factors include

  • Being overweight
  • Eating just before sleeping or lying down
  • Fatty or spicy foods
  • Smoking
  • Certain beverages such as alcohol, coffee or carbonated drinks
  • Pregnancy

Click to view GastrointestinalSociety video on GERD

Treatment of Gastric Reflux

1. Change of Lifestyle to Reduce Symptoms

  • Get exercising and aim to lose weight to get to your optimum BMI
  • Stop smoking
  • Do not eat at least 3 hours before sleeping
  • Avoid acidic or spicy foods
  • Eat smaller frequent meals and avoid eating a single large meal
  • Sleep with your head propped up slightly with a bed wedge pillow may help

2. Medication

  • Antacids (such as Maalox, Alka-Seltzer) can help neutralise the stomach acidity
  • Foaming agents (such as Gaviscon) coat the stomach to reduce the reflux
  • H2 blockers (such as Tagamet) reduce acid production by the stomach
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (such as Controloc or Nexium) reduce acid production by the stomach
  • Potassium-Competitive Acid Blocker (such as Voncinti) reduce acid production by the stomach

3. Laparoscopic Anti-Reflux Surgery

Surgery may be required if the above treatment options do not bring relief to your symptoms or you do not wish to remain on long term medication.  The surgery fixes any hiatus hernia as well as strengthening the lower esophageal stomach sphincter.

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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