GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a disorder that affects the muscle that connects the esophagus with the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When that muscle is weak or overly relaxed it allows the contents of the stomach to flow back up into the esophagus, causing what is more commonly known as heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the hiatus (hole) in the diaphragm that allows the passage of food and liquids into the stomach becomes enlarged. This can worsen acid reflux or even allow the stomach to slide up into the chest, which can lead to obstruction or strangulation (cutting off the blood supply) of the stomach. A hiatal hernia can occur due to GERD, or GERD can be a symptom of a hiatal hernia, but they do not always occur together.
Pregnancy and obesity are common causes of GERD. It can also be caused by dietary and lifestyle choices. Certain foods are known to weaken the LES, such as coffee, alcohol, fried/fatty foods, onions, chocolate and peppermint. Smoking cigarettes relaxes the LES.
Symptoms of GERD can include heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), especially after eating and at night, difficulty swallowing, feeling like there is a lump in the throat, and chest pain.
Diagnosis of GERD and/or hiatal hernia can usually be made with an upper endoscopy (when a thin camera is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach) or a contrast-enhanced x-ray (called an upper GI) of the upper digestive system.
Most of the time doctors recommend lifestyle changes for treatment of GERD. Avoiding foods that cause heartburn, quitting smoking, losing weight, eating smaller portions of food, avoiding food 2-3 hours before bed, and elevating the head of the bed can all help alleviate the symptoms of GERD. Occasional over the counter antiacids can also help but should not be used regularly. Instead, doctors will often prescribe medicines called H2 blockers or PPI inhibitors. In severe cases of hiatal hernia and GERD, laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery can be performed to repair the hernia and is considered highly effective in most patients.
Bio-Touch is an extremely effective complement to any treatment plan for GERD and/or hiatal hernia prescribed by your doctor. Bio-Touch can empower friends and family members to help their loved one who is suffering from GERD with a few simple sets of points.
The information presented here is for educational purposes only. Medical advice is neither offered nor implied. Please consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.