Earlier GERD was conceived as a condition of the West and the Western lifestyle. However, this small yet serious condition is now rampant in Indian society as well. A Times of India publication in 2022, stated that GERD, or acid reflux, affects around 20-30% of the Indian population. Prolonged GERD is a very serious issue and can cause stricture of the oesophagus. Dr. Amitabha Saha, among the best gastroenterologists in Kolkata, explains more.
What is GERD?
When you eat a meal and some part of the stomach acid escapes the stomach and enters the oesophagus (continuously over a period of 2 weeks) it is known as acid reflux or GERD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease). This condition can burn the lining of the esophagus. However, if you experience this symptom once or twice, you can treat it with over-the-counter medication.
Prolonged GERD can cause the lining of the esophagus to scar. The inflammation may be widespread and it can cause ulceration in the lining esophagus. Eventually, this can lead to precancerous symptoms and in rare cases oesophageal cancer.
Symptoms of GERD
The symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn which is a burning sensation in your chest. This might get worse at night or when lying down.
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid.
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Upper abdominal or chest pain
Sometimes the symptoms of GERD may be mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack. So, it is advisable that you get yourself checked at the earliest.
Risk Factors of GERD
Some of the conditions that increase your risk factor for GERD are:
- Delayed stomach emptying
- Connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma
Factors that may aggravate acid reflux include:
- Eating large meals and eating late at night
- Eating certain foods such as fatty or fried foods
- Drinking beverages like alcohol or coffee
- Taking medicine like aspirin.
Treatment for GERD
Lifestyle changes are necessary to manage and relieve GERD. According to the best gastroenterologist in Kolkata, here are some of the changes you can make:
- Quit smoking
- Maintain body weight
- Wait for a few minutes before you lie down after eating a heavy meal.
- Don’t eat heavy meals in the evening
- Keep your head in an elevated position
Apart from lifestyle changes, here are also some medications the doctor may prescribe.
- H2 receptor blockers
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
If you believe you are suffering from GERD consult with the best gastroenterologist in Kolkata. Consult with a doctor before you opt for any medication. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is obviously one of the best things you can do for GERD. In some extreme cases, you may require surgery and this again needs the advice of a gastroenterologist.