Conditions such as food poisoning or pregnancy are self-limited and symptoms should decrease over time. Hernias and gallstones, for example, usually require surgery, and the associated indigestion should resolve post-operatively. A weakness or transient relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle causes GERD.
If your child has reflux more than twice a week for a few weeks, it could be GERD. No matter your age, if you experience heartburn two or more times a week, take notice. This constant movement of acid-containing stomach contents traveling back up into your esophagus can irritate the lining and, if it’s left untreated, complications can occur at any age. Elderly patients may not connect their symptoms with heartburn or GERD, as they may be different from what is considered typical for the disease. You may also feel pain in the upper or middle part of your abdomen.
If youâ€™re regularly experiencing heartburn more than twice a week, or itâ€™s interfering with your life, talk to your doctor. They can help identify an underlying cause and appropriate treatment. Progesterone relaxes a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts like a valve, separating the stomach from the esophagus. When this muscle relaxes, it allows stomach acid to rise up out of the stomach and into the esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food and saliva from the mouth to the stomach, changes so that some of its lining is replaced by a type of tissue similar to that normally found in the intestine. These symptoms are certainly not as common as those above, but it’s worth being aware of them so you can bring them to your doctor’s attention if they occur. You might not necessarily associate them with GERD. Usually, when we think of the symptoms of GERD we think of heartburn.
This causes your baby to vomit. Sometimes acid or material can pass into the windpipe (trachea) and cause coughing or infection. Other times, the contents may only go part of the way up the esophagus. This can cause heartburn or breathing problems. Or it may not cause symptoms.
I used to treat myself with up to 6 or 8 Tums a day. A stress test revealed no problems but an endoscopic examination revealed erosions of the esophagus. My surgeon prescribed a PPI every day, which I have done faithfully. Shortly after starting this treatment all of my GERD symptoms disappeared and I reduced my intake of Tums to one or two tablets a week. After 5 years on this program I recently had a follow-up endoscopy which revealed that I still had some esophageal erosions, although somewhat less than at the time of the first exam.
Often, dyspepsia is caused by a stomach ulcer or acid reflux disease. If you have acid reflux disease, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus.
He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications. When people are ill or need medical advice, they usually go to see their family doctor first. Read about how to find the right doctor, how to prepare for the appointment and what to remember.
How is GERD diagnosed?
I’m 36 years old now and I’ve only had to be on meds twice since I was 22. Even if I have a ‘cheat’ day I don’t suffer any set backs like I did when I was younger and on meds. Never underestimate the power of a good workout. It’ll help you digest your food faster and keep you feeling much better than most medications. Heartburn happens when acid from the stomach comes back up into the food pipe.
In some people, stomach contents regularly leak into their food pipe, or a relatively large amount leaks out. It is considered to be GERD if this causes frequent or severe heartburn or acid reflux that affects your quality of life, or if your food pipe has become inflamed. I had a stomach stapling in 1985 to save my life. That it did but in the end, how much am I losing?
I did notice an improvement during those months but the idea of a lifetime commitment to taking this drug bothered me so I researched other alternative ways to cope with it, which did help a little but by any means, do not prevent the GERD symptoms from occurring. Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux).
Treatments for GORD
I went to a different lab than the first test. I grew up with two parents who had constant heartburn. Dad always had antacids in his pocket and mom kept them on her nightstand. I just thought it was a thing that all adults suffered from.