Health Conditions that lead to GERD
Do you suffer from frequent bouts of heartburn? You may have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD. This chronic digestive disease occurs when the acid within the stomach backs up into the esophagus causing it to become irritated and resulting in the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Oftentimes, other conditions can cause GERD, which if addressed and treated properly can help to relieve symptoms.
5 Health Conditions That Can Cause GERD
- Overeating and Obesity – Eating large meals can increase the risk of the lower esophageal sphincter relaxing, which allows food to back up into the esophagus. Additionally, being overweight can put pressure on the abdomen and cause the backing up of acid into the esophagus. Eating smaller meals and maintaining proper weight can help reduce this risk. Speak with a reflux specialist in Warner Robins for ways to help prevent overeating and help lose weight if necessary.
- Hiatal Hernia – Individuals with hiatal hernias are often diagnosed with GERD. To help prevent symptoms, eat smaller meals more often and avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Also, avoid eating within three hours before bedtime, and when lying down keep the head of the bed elevated 4 to 8 inches.
- Weak Lower Sphincter of the Esophagus – If the lower esophageal sphincter is weak, it may not close completely, allowing food to backup into the esophagus. This cause is responsible for about 25 percent of patients diagnosed with severe GERD. Reflux surgery is often helpful in relieving symptoms such as tif esophyx surgery that corrects the weak sphincter and requires no incisions.
- Delayed Emptying of Stomach – Approximately 20 percent of all patients diagnosed with GERD have slower than normal emptying of the stomach. Doctors can prescribe medication to speedup digestion and help prevent symptoms.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy, hormone levels can affect the digestive system, causing it to slowdown. This along with excess pressure placed on the abdomen from the pregnancy can cause the esophageal sphincter to not close completely, causing symptoms of frequent heartburn. Speak with your physician if symptoms become bothersome or severe.