Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a common condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing, GERD can significantly impact an individual's quality of life.
For those diagnosed with GERD, the question of whether the condition will go away may arise The short answer is- yes, It does and I have practical hands on experience regarding this matter since last month I encountered GERD.
Today In this informative article, I will discuss in depth the question of whether GERD goes away and provide insights into the factors that can influence the condition's progression. Moreover, I will shed light into the depth of GERD and also discuss how we can live healthily with proper treatment of GERD.
What Causes GERD?
A weak valve or sphincter muscle at the stomach or oesophagus entrance is responsible for GERD. Stomach acid can create a flow back into your oesophagus when this muscle doesn't close properly.
The condition is caused by frequent stomach acid reflux or reflux of nonacidic contents from the stomach. During swallowing, your oesophagus is surrounded by a circular band of muscle (lower oesophageal manometry sphincter or lower oesophageal sphincter) that allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. Then the sphincter closes down again.
The constant backwash of acid troubles the lining of your stomach back Oesophagus, causing it to become inflamed. Other causes may include smoking, being overweight, and pregnancy.
Risk Factors Of GERD
Factors that can worsen acid reflux include:
- Hiatal Hernia - Bulging of the top of the stomach up above the diaphragm.
- Scleroderma - Connective tissue disorders
- Delayed stomach emptying
- Eating large meals
- Late night dinner or habit of late night eats.
- Eating fatty foods or fried foods
- Alcohol or coffee
- Taking certain medications, such as aspirin
Common symptoms include:
- A burning sensation or heartburn, usually after eating, might be worse while lying down
- The backwash of food or sour liquids or Sour taste.
- Upper abdominal or chest pain
- Burning in the lower abdomen.
- Dysphagia - difficulty swallowing.
- A sensation of a lump in throat or frog in your throat.
- Feels like food stuck in my throat.
- Night-time symptoms
- Persistent cough or wheezing
- Laryngitis - Inflammation of the vocal cords
- New or worsening asthma
- Bad breath
- Chronic cough.
- Difficulty controlling worry or anxiety.
- Restless or nervous
- A sense of impending doom or danger
- Rapid heart rate
Complications Of GERD
Complications of GERD include:
- Barrett's Esophagus - which is connected to esophageal cancer.
- Acute Esophagitis.
- Esophageal Stricture - Narrowing Of The Esophagus.
- Dental Disease
- Asthma Flare-Ups
Effective Treatments For GERD
There are three main classifications of treatment for GERD as per the recommendation of a doctor:
A few lifestyle changes are:
- Elevating your head during sleep
- Changing your diet, Take smaller meals.
- Quitting smoking
- Can be minimally invasive for losing weight
- Control obesity or exercise for weight loss.
- Managing stress.
- Limit taking alcohol.
- Avoid tight fitting clothing.
Medications To Lower Acid Production
Then there are over the counter medications and via prescription from a doctor.
- Over the counter antacids
- Histamine blockers,
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Prokinetic agents.
- Calcium channel blockers
Finally, if lifestyle changes and medications aren't helping to treat GERD, then your doctors recommend surgery along with some other treatment plan.
The junction of the stomach and oesophagus is wrapped with tiny magnetic beads in chronic conditions. There is enough magnetic attraction between the beads to keep the junction closed up to refluxing acid but small enough to allow food to pass through. LINX devices can be implanted using minimally invasive surgery.
General surgery will be the option.
- Bariatric surgery (such as gastric bypass)
- Upper endoscopy.
Congratulations, Your GERD is Getting Better
Have you recently been GERD diagnosed, or are you living with it?
Maybe you are taking treatment, but it is a little bit vague to understand whether your GERD is getting better or not. That's why doctors recommend treating the causes first rather than only the appearing symptoms.
The American Academy of Family Physicians applied out a five-stage treatment framework that becomes progressively more intrusive as GERD advances.
- Stage 1: Lifestyle modifications.
- Stage 2: Take medication as needed
- Stage 3: Regular medicines at a high dose if required.
- Stage 4: Persisting regular medication at a minimum dose.
- Stage 5: Surgery
If you're going back in the stages as your doctor adjusts your treatment plan, you'll know your GERD is getting better. You may be able to feel your GERD getting better when you notice your symptoms are becoming less severe or have faded away entirely.
Does GERD Go Away?
It is possible to cure it. However, by managing the causes, GERD can be cured permanently.
Medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, ease your symptoms and give time to your oesophagus and stomach to heal. After you have healed, you might be able to take off the medication.
While treating GERD, your symptoms may become less frequent and severe. If your symptoms go away entirely and you can stop treatment. But, it's possible to get GERD again, so it's crucial to maintain a healthy weight loss and lifestyle that can cause GERD.
7-Day GERD Diet Plan
A healthy 7-day GERD diet plan can help to control GERD.
Avoiding trigger foods
- Fatty foods and fried foods
- Spicy foods
Food You Should Take More
Low In Acid
- Fruits: apples, bananas, melons, pears
- Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans
- Grains: rice, oats, quinoa
- Dairy: plain yogurt, cottage cheese
- Protein: chicken, fish, tofu
High In Fiber
- Fruits: raspberries, pears, apples
- Vegetables: peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
- Grains: whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats
- Beans and legumes: black beans, kidney beans, lentils.
Rich In Prebiotics And Probiotics
Prebiotics: Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, chicory root, garlic, onions, leeks
Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, kombucha tea
Also, you will find GERD friendly recipes online to make at home.
Statistics Of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
The Data is quite revealing how much people are suffering from GERD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: How Long Does GERD Take To Heal?
Answer 1: Minor cases of GERD can heal in less than a few weeks to a month. In moderate cases, it can take 6 to 12 weeks of treatment.
Question 2: What is GERD back pain?
Answer 2: The other symptoms of GERD include lower back pain. The chest pain and throat can spread to your lower back.
Question 3: Is GERD Hereditary?
Answer 3: Genetic contribution plays a major role in GERD, such as Barrett's Esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Twin and family studies have revealed about 31% heritability of the disease.
Question 4: Does Milk Help Acid Reflux?
Answer 4: The fat in milk can worsen acid reflux. But nonfat milk can act as immediate relief of heartburn symptoms and help to neutralize stomach acid reflux. Avoiding eating for 3 hours before bedtime may also provide quick relief.
Question 5: How long does heartburn last?
Answer 5: Heartburn can last two hours or longer, depending on the cause. Mild heartburn with acid reflux occurs after eating spicy or acidic foods and generally lasts until the food has been digested.
Frequent heartburn can be a severe issue which can be an indication of GERD. I would advise seeing a doctor immediately if you don't want to go through an endoscopy. A gastroenterologist will check and analyze the gastrointestinal tract (Esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver to understand the depth of GERD.
A simple conversation with your doctor can diagnose GERD. If there is any doubt, your doctor may order tests, such as an upper endoscopy.
Your doctor will prescribe preliminary medication to block acid production.With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, you will get rid of gastroesophageal reflux disease.