There are Two Types of Gastroesophageal Reflux

About 30-40% of the population may experience the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, often referred to as GERD, with a very variable intensity: 25 to 30% of them consult a doctor. Linked to a malfunction of the lower part of the esophagus or a hiatal hernia, it causes the rise of the contents of the stomach, most often helps along the esophageal duct, sometimes into the mouth.

Simple GERD, which is a mild, benign infection that spontaneously resolves with the adoption of standing

GERD pathological when the condition is complicated by esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus caused by the acidity of regurgitation). Much rarer, its symptoms are more troublesome: weight loss, regurgitation with traces of blood, longer term erosion of teeth or torticollis because of the contracture of the muscles of the neck.

Appearing most often after meals or during the night, the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux are as follows:

Burns rising behind the sternum
   Regurgitation of acids
   Other digestive signs: nausea, belching, hiccups
   Chronic cough
   Irritated throat, hoarse voice
   Sinusitis, ear pain

Pregnancy can trigger or worsen GERD symptoms

Acid reflux may accentuate some lung and ENT conditions. Most often, GERD evolves chronically without causing complications. However, in some cases, in the absence of management, the lining of the esophagus can be damaged. This is called oesophagitis. Some severe esophagitis can be complicated: ulcer, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), peptic stenosis (narrowing of the lower esophagus) and in rare cases esophageal cancer.

In case of permanent or constrictive pain, kidney disease, if the patient is over 50 years old or the reflux is related to the taking of certain drugs, medical care is essential.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is usually diagnosed by a doctor, additional tests can be performed by gastroenterologist:

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to detect abnormal cardia or hiatal hernia
pHmetry: to record changes in the pH of the esophagus
Manometry: measurement of pressure in the esophagus
Oeso-gastroduodenal transit

It is important to identify warning signs to treat GERD. Caution is needed regarding self-medication, which is initially possible to relieve symptoms, but does not cure the disease.

Existing treatments are effective and have a triple purpose: to relieve symptoms, improve comfort and help heal esophageal lesions, prevent recurrence.

This is to adopt an optimal attitude advised by a doctor or pharmacist, it aims to reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Some examples: after meals, do not lie down immediately and avoid excessive efforts, adopt an elevated position of the bust and head during sleep, identify and avoid foods that promote the appearance of heartburn: fat, spices, soft drinks, remove or greatly reduce the consumption of alcohol and tobacco (tobacco increases gastric acidity), channel stress.

Medical treatment

They rely on the prescription of various drugs:

Antacids and alginates that calm symptoms, but do not allow mucosal healing in esophagitis
Anti-H2: relieve symptoms and promote healing without preventing recurrence
Inhibitors of the proton pump. Very effective, they can be used in maintenance treatment to avoid relapses

Only definitive treatment of GERD, it is considered in case of anatomical abnormalities responsible for reflux. The procedure consists of reconstituting an anti-reflux barrier with part of the esophagus to fulfill the role of the cardia.

Current and usually not serious in babies, gastroesophageal reflux causes regurgitation and vomiting effortlessly. It is a symptom due to the immaturity of the muscle closing the esophagus. Signs appear before the age of 3 months before the seated baby is acquired.

Gastroesophageal reflux affects infants

There are two main factors in favor of GERD in babies.

The muscle at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, the cardia, is immature. It can relax inappropriately and allow gastric fluid to move up into the esophagus.
The low capacity of the stomach can also be one of the reasons for GERD. It is distended at each feeding by large volumes of milk and air that can cause evacuation to the duodenum thus promoting reflux.

Little known and often ignored, gastro-oesophageal reflux is a source of discomfort. Effective treatments exist, talk to your doctor.

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