Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux is the reflux of the contents of the stomach and/or duodenum into the oesophagus. Reflux from time to time occurs in healthy people and does not bring much discomfort. But if it begins to cause discomfort and damage to the oesophagus, they talk about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Experts cannot agree on the cause of the disease. However, GERD can also occur with scleroderma, diabetes mellitus, alcoholic polyneuropathy or hormonal disorders, as well as due to the use of drugs that lower the tone of the lower oesophagal sphincter.

If you have any suspicious signs of the development of the disease, you should immediately contact a specialist. He will conduct the necessary diagnostics and select the optimal treatment regimen. The diagnosis is made clinically, sometimes with endoscopy and a study of gastric acidity. Treatment includes lifestyle changes, decreased acidity of the gastric juice by proton pump inhibitors, and sometimes surgical treatment.

Symptoms 

The main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease is heartburn, which causes discomfort. Heartburn manifests itself as burning in the centre of the chest, sometimes extending to the throat. In this case, acidic belching can be observed. Another manifestation of GERD is sternal pain, which radiates to the left half of the chest, back, neck, lower jaw. Extra-oesophagal manifestations of GERD are found: chronic cough, laryngitis, caries. Gastric juice can enter the lungs when inhaled. The result is pneumonia or asthma symptoms.

Treatment

The leading Israeli clinic Tel Aviv Medical Clinic uses combination therapy. Treatment of GERD depends on the severity of the disease. Recommendations for GERD include, first of all, lifestyle correction. To alleviate the condition, it is advisable to lose weight, learn how to cope with stress. Most people experience heartburn within 2–3 hours after eating, but some patients suffer from nightly heartburn. A raised headboard helps prevent reflux. The last meal should be no later than 3 hours before bedtime. Conservative treatment of GERD is highly effective, so surgical treatment is rarely used. The most common surgical intervention for GERD is fundoplication. It is performed in a laparoscopic manner. The procedure involves the formation of a “cuff” from the upper part of the stomach around the oesophagus.