Around 20% of Americans experience symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease. For these individuals, symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux can make life miserable. Long-term consequences of GERD can include tissue scarring and other serious health problems.

If you experience periodic heartburn, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Read on to learn the basics of this digestive disorder and how you may be able to safely treat it.

What Is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, is a common condition that affects around one in five adults. The symptoms arise when stomach contents travel up the esophagus.

This can become a disease when the movement of acid causes severe symptoms. GERD can have serious health implications. The condition can cause serious or even permanent damage to the pharynx, esophagus, and respiratory tract.

GERD Symptoms

The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn. This is often described as a fiery feeling or burning sensation in the throat or back of the mouth. A bitter or sour taste is often associated with acid reflux.

GERD symptoms can vary widely. Some individuals experience chest pains while others experience difficulty swallowing. Other common symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased salivation

If your symptoms only occur a few times a year, you may not have a condition that requires treatment. Reoccurring symptoms are cause for concern, though.

How GERD Is Diagnosed

GERD diagnosis is typically performed through a physical examination. The doctor or healthcare provider will typically want to learn about your symptoms and medical history. If you report frequent incidents of regurgitation and heartburn, your doctor may recommend treatments immediately.

Further tests may need to be performed, though, if your symptoms are atypical. Further examinations may also be needed if your doctor fears that you may have esophageal damage, such as scarring.

Next, we’ll look at some of the common procedures that can diagnose GERD.

Upper Endoscopy

The upper endoscopy procedure allows your doctor to see the lining of your esophagus and stomach. The medical device, an endoscope, can even be used to view your small intestine. This test is ideal for diagnosing esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus.

Typically, only a small percentage of people who experience reflux have abnormal structures as the cause. Endoscopy is often used to check for potential complications.

Your doctor will begin by applying an anesthetic to prevent a gag reflex. Sedatives may also be used.

Once you are positioned, your doctor will insert the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus. The endoscope transmits an image of the internal organs that can be monitored.

Reflux Testing

Testing using wireless pH allows doctors to evaluate GERD-related activity over a 48-hour time period. Patients can go about their normal activities.

Wireless pH testing uses a small chip that is placed in the lower esophagus. The chip monitors and transmits information about the pH level in your mouth while you go about normal activities.

Esophageal Manometry

Esophageal motility studies do not directly diagnose GERD. Doctors use this test to rule out other conditions that may cause GERD symptoms. This may be important if you are a candidate for surgery.

To perform the test, your doctor will place a pressure-sensitive catheter in the esophagus. This is often done before esophageal pH impedance studies. The catheter evaluates the strength of muscle contractions and the relaxation function of the esophageal sphincter.

This is an essential part of any surgery assessment process.

Barium Esophagram

Barium contrast radiography is an X-ray study. It is one of the most common GERD test procedures. First, the patient is directed to swallow a barium solution. The liquid coats the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract.

Then, an x-ray is taken. The doctor looks for any narrowing (strictures) in the esophagus called a stricture. The test also evaluates esophageal motor function. It also helps evaluate injuries to the esophagus.

What Are My Treatment Options?

The good news is that there are many effective treatment options for people suffering from GERD. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, for example. Cutting or eliminating trigger foods can drastically reduce symptoms.

Many people experience heartburn after eating spicy or high-fat foods. Alcohol can also cause acid reflux. Even the type of clothing you wear can affect symptoms because tight-fitting clothes can squeeze the stomach.

Tobacco use is another risk factor for GERD.

Aside from lifestyle changes, treatment options can include antacids, H2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. The last resort is surgery.

Are you looking for a natural treatment for GERD? Prescription pills can have unintended consequences and side effects. GerdLi’s founder faced frequent hospitalizations due to GERD. He decided to find a natural alternative to prescription pills.

In 2017, he came across D-Limonene. Scientists make the compound from citrus fruits such as grapefruits, mandarins, oranges, and limes.

He put the natural compound through rigorous testing and research. Once he found the right formula, he launched GerdLi. Our mission is to help others who suffer from heartburn.

Learn More About Treating GERD, Acid Reflux, and Heartburn

Symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux can make enjoying your favorite foods uncomfortable or downright intolerable. If you experience the symptoms described in this article, it is time to take action. With a few lifestyle changes and the natural benefits of GerdLi, you can say goodbye to chest discomfort once and for all.

Are you ready to try natural alternatives to prescription medication? Contact our team today so we can help you start your GerdLi journey today.

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Dr. Minhas, M.D.

Board-certified internal medicine (ABIM)

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