September 22, 2011

Gerd and Coughing

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is diagnosed when an individual suffers symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn at least twice a week. GERD is a digestive disorder that is the result of stomach acid returning to the esophagus, consequently irritating the lining of the esophagus. Initially lifestyle change and self-care procedures are utilized in order to try and control the reflux and heartburn. However, when these symptoms occur frequently or interfere with daily activities and are not efficiently managed with home remedies it is important to make an appointment to visit a medical professional.

GERD is most likely caused by a weakened band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. Under normal circumstances, once food passes through the esophagus to the stomach, the valve at the bottom of the esophagus will close and prevent liquids and stomach acid from coming back up into the esophageal tract. When this valve does not function properly an individual will begin to experience the symptoms of GERD which will worsen over time. Complications include scar tissue or ulcers in the esophageal tract.

Beyond the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn sufferers may also experience a persistent cough and trouble with swallowing. Chronic cough is defined as a cough that has persisted eight or more weeks and its presence has yet to be explained. It is not thoroughly understood how a dry cough which may worsen at night, is related to GERD although it continues to be researched. Studies have found that by treating GERD the cough is also managed when cough is the presenting symptom by a patient. A plausible explanation of the relationship is that coughing is an effective way for the body to rid itself of irritants and excess fluids. Sufferers of GERD and concurrent chronic cough may find relief in avoiding lying down after meals, not eating meals that exacerbate the condition, and elevating the head when sleeping.

There are a variety of measures which are adequate for diagnosing GERD once the initial medical appointment has been made. These include x-rays, endoscopies, and esophageal tests that measure the amount of stomach acid regurgitating into the esophagus. To begin treatment a patient will initiate lifestyle changes such as attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding foods that worsen heartburn, and abstaining from food and liquids close to bedtime. Along with these actions a patient can also take over-the-counter antacids and medications. If through following this regimen symptoms are not alleviated, prescription medications will be recommended. As with the over-the-counter medications there are prescriptions available that reduce acid production and there are also medications available that can strengthen the valve that connects the esophagus and stomach. Additionally, these medications assist with emptying the contents of your stomach more quickly. In more severe cases surgery to repair the esophagus or the valve located between the esophagus and stomach are considered when prescriptions are not adequately treating GERD or when long term use of medicine is not desired.

GERD is a digestive disease for which there are numerous treatments available depending on the severity. Untreated GERD is uncomfortable and interferes with daily living. Find out about ways to treat GERD in order to avoid a chronic cough be sure to visit Reflux Remedy at today!

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