What Is GERD?
The most common symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are heartburn and regurgitation. GERD happens when the stomach acid constantly regurgitates towards the esophagus, irritating its lining.
People who have GERD suffer from acid reflux symptoms more frequently, which results in more damage to the esophageal tissue.
What Are the Symptoms of GERD?
GERD symptoms include:
- Stomach pain (pain in the upper abdomen)
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing (called dysphagia) or pain on swallowing (called odynophagia)
- Persistent laryngitis/hoarseness (due to the acid irritating the vocal cords)
- Persistent sore throat or cough
- Sense of a lump in the throat
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Take note that when you feel chronic pain in your chest and abdomen, shortness of breath, as well as tightness and cramping in your arms, jaw, and back, then you may be suffering from a heart attack. This condition is a medical emergency that requires prompt intervention.
What Causes GERD to Develop?
GERD takes place due to the weakening of a muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES malfunctions and does not shut tightly enough, stomach acid escapes and backs up towards your esophagus.
Here are the factors that trigger the LES to weaken, and the known reasons for what causes GERD to develop:
Being Overweight or Obese
Excess fat in your body puts additional pressure on your abdomen, triggering stomach acid to backflow.
Acid reflux and GERD are also common in pregnant women since changes in hormones during pregnancy slows down the digestive system. These hormones also delay the transport of food down the esophagus.
Also, the growing fetus inside a mother’s womb puts excess pressure on the mother’s stomach, causing frequent heartburn.