Common Signs and Symptoms of GERD
Among the top common conditions that people might develop during their lives is acid reflux. One of the symptoms most frequently experienced with this condition is heartburn, which is a burning feeling around the heart that could become more intense when lying down or right after a meal. Sporadic heartburn and acid reflux are usually no cause for alarm. But for patients experiencing issues regularly (over two times a week), they might be a sign of a more serious disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
It is estimated that roughly 20% of Americans are currently living with GERD. This chronic gastrointestinal (GI) condition might lead to concerning health problems in the absence of expert care. If you have continual acid reflux and heartburn, meet with our highly trained GI doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa, OK and learn how you might manage this digestive condition.
All about gastroesophageal reflux disease
GERD is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract where gastric acid flows back up the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a circular muscle that divides the esophagus and the stomach, serves as a valve, letting food reach the stomach and preventing the contents of the stomach from traveling back up the esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter becomes too lax over time, heartburn, acid reflux, and various other symptoms can develop. GERD is characterized as persistent acid reflux, frequently occurring over twice weekly. Individuals of all ages, including babies, can be diagnosed with acid reflux disease. When it is not treated, GERD can cause chronic esophageal inflammation. This could result in ulcers and scar tissue accumulation, and elevate the chance for esophageal cancer.
What are some causes behind GERD?
GERD is a GI illness is caused by an improperly functioning LES. While the exact instigator of LES dysfunction might be unknown, there are various health conditions that increase the likelihood of the disorder and the symptoms of GERD. These conditions consist of:
- Being overweight
- Hiatal hernia
- Being pregnant
- Scleroderma (or some other connective tissue conditions)
Certain lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke, can also aggravate heartburn and contribute to GERD. Some medications can lead to GERD or exacerbate the symptoms of GERD, such as anti-anxiety meds, calcium channel antagonists, particular asthma prescriptions, and anti-depressants.
Signs and symptoms of GERD in adults
A primary symptom of GERD is persistent heartburn. If you feel the need to take antacids more than twice every week, you could be experiencing GERD. However, someone may still have GERD even when they do not experience heartburn. The indications of GERD, as well as the quiet GERD symptoms that do not present in the chest, can include:
- Trouble breathing
- Postnasal drip
- Tooth decay
- Trouble swallowing
- Feeling a lump in the throat
- Chronic cough
Signs and symptoms of GERD in young children
Because GERD may impact any patient at every period of life, it is important to note any symptoms if they develop, especially in babies. Signs and symptoms of GERD in infants often include:
- Refusing to feed
- Lacking weight gain or weight loss
- Recurring regurgitation
- Constant coughing
- Arched back during or immediately after feeding
- Trouble swallowing
In the event that your child has been showing these chronic signs, talk to a GI doctor at Adult Gastroenterology Associates and get an examination promptly.
Treatments for GERD in Tulsa, OK
If heartburn or various other symptoms of GERD are affecting your enjoyment of life, we encourage you to visit Adult Gastroenterology Associates to learn more about your treatment options. The board-certified physicians at Adult Gastroenterology Associates are devoted to helping patients learn about and treat their digestive health while keeping up with the strictest clinical standards. Reach out to our GI specialists in Tulsa, OK to discover more about treatment for GERD.