If Gerd Symptoms are of special interest to you, the first thing is to know more about the name - Gerd is known by quite a few names â gord, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn. Heartburn is not really the disease but the unpleasant burning experience caused by the disease, but some just refer to the condition as heartburn.
So what is Gerd? Gerd is described as the abnormal process of the stomach forcing acid and pepsin through the diaphragm and into the lower portion of the oesophagus (the muscular tube which connects the mouth to the stomach and normally squeezes food down to the stomach by muscular action - peristalsis).
At the lower end of the oesophagus the food passes through a hole in the muscular diaphragm into the stomach named the hiatus. Once the food enters the stomach it has to stay for some time in a mixture of digestive juices, after this the contents of the stomach pass into the duodenum, the first part of the small bowel. The stomach digestive juices are very acidic to enable the digestion of meat and fish. Due to the acidity, the stomach walls are protected by their lining against the acid or they would be digested themselves.
As the internal lining of the oesophagus is not protected against acid in the same way as the stomach lining, if the stomach contents are able to enter the oesophagus, the corrosive effect of the acid and pepsin causes severe burning to the oesophagus. This obviously causes extreme irritation and inflammation and this signals to the brain strong feelings of pain and heartburn â these are all Gerd symptoms. If this takes place for more than a few hours, ulcers are formed in the lower end of the oesophagus. When these heal they form scars which narrow the oesophagus. So if this continues over time, multiple scarring takes place with bleeding and even perforation of the oesophagus with minute holes. These complications are quite dangerous and can be life threatening.
So it's vital that the stomach contents must be kept out of the oesophagus. Some of the things which can be considered as bringing on Gerd, or making it worse are:
- Consumption of large amounts of alcohol
- Tight clothing around the middle of the body
- Some prescription drugs
- Certain disorders of the oesophagus
So to summarize, the classic gerd symptoms are:
" a burning feeling coming from the stomach or lower chest area and moving upwards to the neck, mainly happening at or after mealtimes, also when lying down, bending over or tensing the muscles of the abdomen, and is initially helped by taking antacid formulations"
If you have gerd symptoms it is strongly advised that you first speak to your Doctor, then try to stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and eat less. This is just the start and although it is possible to completely eradicate acid reflux, much research on the internet will be necessary.