Recognize the Symptoms of GERD and Its Treatments

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Do you often experience a sour mouth accompanied by pain in the chest to the throat? It could be that it is a symptom of GERD. Recognize what are the symptoms of GERD and the steps to deal with it.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or stomach acid disease is caused by a weakening of the valve or sphincter located in the lower esophagus. GERD is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux.

Normally, this valve will open to allow food and drinks to enter the stomach and be digested. After food or drinks enter the stomach, this valve will be closed tightly to prevent the contents of the stomach back up into the oesophagus.

But in patients with GERD, this valve is weakened, so it cannot close properly. This results in stomach contents containing food and stomach acid rising into the esophagus.

If this condition occurs continuously, the lining of the esophagus will become irritated until inflammation and eventually become weak.

Common GERD Symptoms

Common symptoms that occur when stomach acid rises are sour or bitter taste in the mouth and burning sensation in the chest and solar plexus. Both of these symptoms will usually get worse when the patient bends, lies down, or after eating.

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Aside from the mouth feeling sour and heartburn, other symptoms that can also accompany GERD are:

  • Difficulty in swallowing or feeling like a lump in the throat.
  • Respiratory disorders, such as coughing and shortness of breath. People who have asthma will often recur when symptoms of GERD recur.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sore throat.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Tooth decay due to frequent stomach acid.
  • Bad breath.

The Differences Between GERD and Heart Attack Symptoms

It is important to note that the symptoms of GERD are sometimes confused with heart attacks, because they both cause a painful sensation in the chest and heartburn. However, the symptoms of these two diseases can be distinguished.

Heartburn or chest pain due to a heart attack is usually felt very heavy, spreads to the arms, neck, or jaw, and usually appears after physical activity.

While heartburn due to GERD symptoms are generally accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, not exacerbated by physical activity, does not spread to the arms or neck, and is felt more severe when lying down.

How to Overcome GERD

To overcome the symptoms of GERD, you can take the following medicines:

  • Antacids.
  • H-2 receptor blockers, such as cimetidine, famotidine, and ranitidine.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as lansoprazole and omeprazole.

To determine which type of drug is suitable and appropriate to be consumed to treat GERD, you need to consult a doctor first.

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Beside taking some of the drugs above, it is also important to make lifestyle changes so that the symptoms of GERD do not recur. The intended changes are:

  • Lose weight, if you have excess weight.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Raise head when sleeping.Do not lie down or sleep for at least 2 to 3 hours after eating.
  • Avoid foods or drinks that trigger stomach acid to rise, such as alcohol, milk, spicy and fatty foods, chocolate, mint, and coffee.
  • Don’t wear clothes that are too tight.

In fact, anyone can experience symptoms of increased gastric acid, especially after eating large amounts, eating late at night, or eating foods that trigger stomach acid production. Stomach acid rise is only said to be a disease if the symptoms appear at least 2 times a week.

In order not to cause more severe complications, it is important to recognize the symptoms of GERD and take steps to treat them early. However, you should immediately consult a doctor if the symptoms of GERD occur continuously and do not improve.

In addition, if chest pain or heartburn is felt to spread to the jaw and arm accompanied by shortness of breath and cold sweat, immediately go to the emergency room to get further treatment. It could be that these symptoms indicate a heart attack.

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