GERD: Symptoms, Treatments and Diet
Heartburn is the most typical symptom of GERD (acid indigestion). A scorching chest discomfort that begins beneath your breastbone and travels up to your neck and throat is how it typically feels. Many claim that they get an acidic or bitter sensation in their mouths, as if food is returning.
Heartburn symptoms, such as burning, pressure, or pain, might last up to two hours. After eating, it typically gets worse. Additionally, lying down or leaning over can cause heartburn. If they stand up straight or take an antacid that clears acid out of the esophagus, many patients feel better.
There are variations between heartburn discomfort and the pain associated with heart disease or a heart attack, but this happens occasionally. But you can't tell the difference, so if you get any chest pain, get medical attention right away.
In addition to pain, you might also:
- Poor breath
- Breathing and swallowing difficulty
- Feeling of throat lump
- A persistent cough
- Asthma that develops suddenly or worsens due to laryngitis
- Issues with sleep
Treatment for GERD and natural remedies
The goal of GERD treatment is to lessen esophageal lining damage from refluxed materials or reduce the amount of reflux.
To treat your symptoms, your doctor can suggest over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
1. Antacids: These medications can reduce heartburn by neutralizing stomach and esophageal acid. Many patients discover that over-the-counter antacids offer momentary or partial relief. Some people find relief using an antacid along with a foaming agent. Consult your doctor if you require antacids for a period longer than two weeks.
2. H2 blockers: For persistent reflux and heartburn, a doctor may prescribe drugs that lessen stomach acid. H2 blockers, which assist in preventing acid release in the stomach, are among these medications. Cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), and nizatidine are examples of H2 blockers.
3. Acid pumps, or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): Prevent the production of stomach acid by inhibiting a protein.
4. Prokinetics: In a few instances, these medications can help your stomach empty more quickly so that less acid is left behind. Symptoms including bloating, nausea, and vomiting may also be helped by them. However, they may potentially have harmful side effects. Many people are unable to take them, and those who can should only do so temporarily.
Changes in Diet and Lifestyle
To assist minimize your GERD symptoms, doctors advise you to undertake a number of lifestyle adjustments.
- Avoid trigger-containing meals and drinks: Any meals and drinks that can relax the LES should be avoided, such as chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcoholic beverages.
- Eat smaller portions: Eating smaller portions may also assist in symptom management. Additionally, eating meals at least two to three hours before going to bed allows your stomach's acid to subside and allows your stomach to partially empty.
- Eat mindfully and slowly at each meal.
- Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes weakens the LES. To lessen the symptoms of GERD, quit smoking.
- Elevate your head: Using 6-inch blocks to raise the head of your bed or resting on a wedge with a certain shape can allow gravity to minimize the reflux of stomach contents into your esophagus. Don't support yourself with pillows. The stomach merely feels additional pressure as a result.
Keep your weight in check; being overweight frequently makes symptoms worse.
GERD rarely poses a life-threatening hazard, despite the fact that it can occasionally cause major issues and restrict your regular activities. Understanding the causes and receiving the appropriate care should help you feel better.