Hippocrates said "all diseases begin in the gut", but we believe that all health begins in the gut, too.

What Is Gasteroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that ensues when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach, called oesophagus. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the oesophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn.

Possible Causes: 

When a valve at the top of the stomach doesn’t function well, acid enters your oesophagus, causing irritation. This is called gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Some GERD causes include:

  • Eating large portions, especially of oily or spicy food and drinking a lot of citrus juices, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and carbonated beverages.
  • Eating right before bedtime.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Stress.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Hiatal hernia, meaning that a part of your stomach pushes up into your chest.

Risk Factors: 

  • Smoking.
  • Bad food habits.
  • Obesity.
  • Pregnancy.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms could be any of the following:

  • A burning feeling in your chest right behind the breastbone, especially after eating that lasts a few minutes to several hours.
  • Burning sensation in the throat or a hot, sour, acidic fluid at the back of the throat.
  • Difficulty in swallowing or feeling of a lump in the middle of your chest or throat.
  • Chest pain.
  • If you have reflux at night, then you may suffer from chronic cough, laryngitis or asthma.

Diagnosis: 

Our gastroenterology specialist does a physical examination and records the history of your signs and symptoms.

The following tests may be carried out to investigate the problem:

  • An X-ray of your upper digestive system to help diagnose a narrowing of the oesophagus that may obstruct swallowing.
  • Upper endoscopy test to detect inflammation of the oesophagus as well as to collect a sample of tissue to be tested for complications such as Barrett's oesophagus.
  • Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test in order to identify how long the acid stays in your stomach and when it regurgitates, through a monitor placed in your oesophagus.
  • Oesophageal manometry to measure the muscle contractions in your oesophagus when you swallow.

Treatment Options: 

Consult a specialist at Medcare to get the best gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment for your condition. Initially, our experts may recommend lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medicines like antacids. 

However, if the condition does not improve in a few weeks, then medication and surgery would be explored, such as fundoplication which is a laparoscopic procedure that tightens the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle and prevents reflux.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • What is heartburn?

    A: A heartburn really is acid indigestion which is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  There is a burning sensation behind the breastbone, that moves upward to the neck and throat. 

    You may mistake heartburn for the pain one experiences during a heart attack; and since it’s tricky to distinguish between the two, you must see your doctor immediately.

  • How does endoscopy help in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease?

    A: An endoscope is a small lighted tube with a tiny video camera at the end. By inserting this into your oesophagus, your doctor can view the swelling or irritation of the tissue lining in the oesophagus and suggest appropriate treatment.

  • Which foods should I avoid if I have gastroesophageal reflux disease?

    A: Avoid foods like peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, chocolate and alcohol that relax the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) – which allows the acid from the stomach to move upwards. Some citrus fruits, tomato and pepper irritate the already-bruised oesophageal lining so should not be included in a GERD diet.

  • Can any lifestyle changes help to reduce my GERD?

    A: Yes, there are some lifestyle changes you should adopt to control your GERD. Keep your weight under control and eat smaller meals. Sleep only two to three hours after you eat dinner. Keep your head at an elevation when you go to bed. Avoid those foods that trigger heartburn for you. Avoid wearing tight clothing around your abdomen, and consume alcohol in moderation.

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