GERD

GERD is a chronic condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation. The causes include hiatal hernia, obesity, pregnancy, certain foods, and smoking. Diagnosis involves medical history, physical examination, and sometimes, tests like endoscopy or pH monitoring. Treatment options include lifestyle changes and medications to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.

Best medications for GERD

Drug NameClassRouteStandard DosagePrice
ProtonixProton Pump InhibitorsOral20, 40 MGfrom$9.21
PrevacidProton Pump InhibitorsOral15, 30 MGfrom$13.46
ReglanDopamine Receptor AntagonistsOral5, 10 MGfrom$4.00
CarafateAluminum ComplexesOral1 GMfrom$54.67
NexIUMProton Pump InhibitorsOral2.5, 5, 20, 10, 40 MGfrom$10.16
CimetidineHistamine-2 AntagonistsOral400, 200, 300, 5-2-17, 800, 10-5-40 MG/5MLfrom$404.78
PepcidHistamine-2 AntagonistsOral10-800-165, 20, 10, 40 MGfrom$8.39
Cimetidine HClHistamine-2 AntagonistsOral400, 300 MG/5MLfrom$404.78
ZegeridProton Pump InhibitorsOral20-1680, 20-1100, 40-1100, 40-1680 MGfrom$22.09
PriLOSECProton Pump InhibitorsOral2.5, 20, 10 MGfrom$16.67

Introduction

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), causing stomach acid and other digestive juices to flow back into the esophagus. This backward flow, known as acid reflux, can lead to various symptoms and complications. GERD is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for GERD.

Causes of GERD

GERD occurs when the LES, which acts as a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, becomes weakened or relaxes inappropriately. Several factors can contribute to the development of GERD, including:

  • Hiatal hernia: When a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity, it can interfere with the normal functioning of the LES.

  • Obesity: Excess weight puts pressure on the abdomen and can push stomach contents back into the esophagus.

  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy can lead to acid reflux.

  • Dietary factors: Certain foods and beverages, such as fatty or fried foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks, can trigger or worsen GERD symptoms.

  • Smoking: Smoking weakens the LES and can aggravate acid reflux.

Symptoms of GERD

The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, a burning sensation that occurs in the chest and may spread to the throat. Other symptoms may include:

  • Regurgitation: A sour or bitter taste in the mouth, often accompanied by the sensation of fluid or food coming back up.

  • Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing or a sensation of food getting stuck in the chest or throat.

  • Chronic cough: A persistent cough, especially at night, can be a symptom of GERD.

  • Hoarseness: Changes in the voice, such as hoarseness or a raspy tone, may occur due to irritation of the throat.

  • Chest pain: Although less common, GERD can cause chest pain that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack.

Diagnosing GERD

To diagnose GERD, a healthcare professional will typically review the patient's medical history, inquire about symptoms, and perform a physical examination. In some cases, further testing may be necessary, including:

  • Endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus to examine the lining and detect any abnormalities.

  • Esophageal pH monitoring: This test measures the acidity levels in the esophagus over a 24-hour period to determine the frequency and duration of acid reflux episodes.

  • Barium swallow: X-ray imaging is used to visualize the esophagus and identify any abnormalities or reflux.

  • Manometry: This test measures the pressure and coordination of the muscles in the esophagus to assess how well the LES is functioning.

Treatment of GERD

The treatment of GERD aims to alleviate symptoms, heal any existing damage, and prevent complications. It may include a combination of lifestyle modifications, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs. Some common treatment approaches include:

Dietary changes: Avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and maintaining a healthy weight