GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, better known as acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and the stomach contents leaks back, or refluxes, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach. The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth. This is called acid indigestion. Occasional heartburn is common and does not necessarily mean one has GERD. If heartburn occurs more than twice a week, it may be considered as GERD.

However, the major factor that makes GERD symptoms worse is foods. This is because food fills the stomach and induces more transient relaxations of the lower esophageal sphincter. In addition, all meals stimulate acid production in the stomach to aid digestion and can increase reflux into the esophagus in GERD sufferers. In many cases, certain foods can trigger GERD symptoms more frequently. Since most of the reactions to food are delayed rather than immediate, it is most difficult to pin down the foods causing these delayed reactions.

The etiology (study of causes) of GERD can be attributed to such factors as transient lower sphincter (LES) relaxations, decreased LES resting tone, delayed stomach emptying, ineffective esophageal clearance, and diminished salivation. Other contributing factors include the potency of the refluxed material and the inability of the esophageal tissue to resist injury and repair itself.

Initially, over the counter antacids are prescribed for most people along with medications that inhibit acid production or help the muscles that empty your stomach. The next line of treatment involves the use of several different prescription drugs including H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors and prokinetics. However, these over-the-counter medications and drugs only provide temporary relief from the effect of GERD by treating the symptoms instead of the underlying cause of the disease. More importantly, use of drugs and over-the-counter medications does not necessarily prevent the need for surgery, which, while surgery can help GERD's disease, it is not the cure.

The main symptoms of GERD are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning, or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat or as if you are chocking or your throat is tight. GERD may also cause a dry cough and bad breath. Sometimes GERD can cause serious complications. Inflammation of the esophagus from stomach acid causes bleeding ulcers.  Additionally, scars from tissue damage can narrow the esophagus and make swallowing difficult. Factors that exacerbate the symptoms of GERD in some patients include smoking, caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, overeating with gastric distention, tight clothing, the presence of a hiatal hernia, and certain medications. In all cases foods are the primary ingredient.

Removing the offending foods from the diet allows the body's natural healing process to begin thereby providing permanent relief from the devastating effects of GERD. If GERD is something which is causing you distress, then order the Complement Test today and begin the return of your natural healthy well being.

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