GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease)
Reflux or retrograde flow of gastric acid into the esophagus. In simpler terms this can be characterized by the feeling of heartburn, though it should be taken seriously. Due to changes in the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach the retrograde acid flow can occur. It can be diagnosed by a procedure called an esophageal pH. Symptoms beyond heartburn include regurgitation and trouble swallowing (dysphagia). Less common symptoms include pain when swallowing, chest pain, excessive salivation, and nausea. If left untreated ulcers in the esophagus can form, esophageal stricture can persist, a condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus can develop, and even a rare form of cancer known as Esophageal Adenocarcinoma can develop. A change in diet can help address the symptoms of GERD. Anti-GERD drugs used, including proton pump inhibitors, are amongst the most commonly used medications in the United States. In rare cases a surgery such as fundoplication can be performed. More advanced prescription medication can be administered should the case be particularly bad. If it’s due to infection then antibiotics can play a prominent role in recovery.
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