GERD symptom

November 3, 2010

GERD and Hiatal Hernia

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – or GERD – and Hiatal Hernia are two gastrointestinal disorders with very similar symptoms, and very different causes, which can occur separately or concurrently.

GERD is a result of frequent heart burn and acid reflux irritating the esophagus.? This can be caused by external factors, such as diet, medications, and health issues.? It can also be caused by an abnormal muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter – the muscle that allows food to pass into the stomach.? An abnormal sphincter is relaxed and allows passage of acid into the esophagus.

A Hiatal Hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach is displaced and either forced through the diaphragm – referred to as a Sliding Hiatal Hernia, or next to the esophagus – commonly known as a Para-Esophageal Hiatal Hernia.

Symptoms behind the Sliding Hiatal Hernia and GERD are strikingly similar.? They include heartburn and acid reflux, nausea and regurgitation.

Though there appears to be a link between the two conditions, it’s difficult to say one causes the other.? Not everyone who has a Hiatal Hernia has GERD and vice versa.

However, there are things that can be pointed to.? When a Hiatal Hernia occurs, it’s usually a result of the lower esophageal sphincter becoming very relaxed or loose (the same contributing factor to GERD), allowing the diaphragm to become displaced and the stomach to protrude.? Two things happen when this occurs:

1.?? The relationship between the sphincter and the diaphragm is altered, allowing acid to move in the opposite direction.

2.?? The junction between the esophagus and the stomach is pulled up, causing the muscles to become even more relaxed and cause reflux.

Treatments of a Sliding Hiatal Hernia and GERD are also very similar, as a Sliding Hiatial Hernia often isn’t serious and simply causes acid reflux.? Options include over the counter antacids or prescription drugs, diet changes, stress management, and if the problem is severe enough surgery for both issues is an option.

Medications and diet changes can help both conditions reduce the occurrence of acid reflux. ?Antacids and prescription drugs help neutralize stomach acid, thus reducing discomfort and damage.? Diet changes can help prevent production of too much stomach acid.

Stress management can also help reduce stomach acids for both conditions.? Excess stomach acids are produced during stressful situations.? People with Hiatal Hernia or GERD under high stress may benefit from simple de-stressing techniques such as deep breaths and counting to ten.

Surgery for a hernia involves pulling the stomach back to its normal position and making the junction between the esophagus and the stomach smaller, preventing recurrence and repairing the cause of the hernia.? Surgery for GERD can be done laparoscopically – a minimally invasive procedure, and involves attaching the stomach around the esophagus, and tightening that junction – preventing acid from entering the esophagus.

The two conditions clearly share several similarities, but science has yet to find a definitive cause and effect relationship between the two.? However, those with one, the other, or both conditions are facing nearly identical roads of treatment and healing.

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October 26, 2010

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Severe chronic heartburn can be diagnosed as a condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter – the muscle at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach – becomes too relaxed.? Normally, the sphincter only allows things like food and liquids to flow one direction – into the stomach.? A sphincter that isn’t functioning properly allows stomach acids to enter into the esophagus causing damage and pain.


Symptoms of GERD generally occur when lying down after eating, when lifting or bending over to get an object, or after consuming a large meal.? Symptoms include:

  • Heartburn: A burning pain in your chest or throat
  • Regurgitation: Acid backing up into your throat or mouth. Often accompanied by burping and a bitter taste.


Medications: Certain medications can aggravate GERD.? They include:

  • NSAID pain relievers (ibuprofen and aspirin)
  • Dietary supplements (potassium, calcium, iron tablets)

Hormonal Changes: Often, pregnant women suffer from heart burn as a result of changes in the balance of hormones.? The sphincter is partially controlled by hormones, and when there is a change it can disrupt the contraction of the muscle.

Foods: ?Though no one food can be pointed to as a definitive cause of GERD or heartburn, certain foods have a higher occurrence rate than others.? Things like caffeine, alcohol, garlic, onion and mint cause reflux frequently.? However everyone has their own specific food triggers and should avoid those that cause heartburn or contribute to GERD.

Health Issues: Some diabetes sufferers have been known to also have GERD.? It comes as a result of a condition called gastroparesis, in which the stomach delays in emptying itself causing a pressure build up, which results in reflux.? Obesity can also lead to GERD as extra weight puts added pressure on the abdomen, causing reflux.? Also, a condition called Hiatal Hernia is known to worsen the symptoms of GERD, but is not directly connected to causing GERD.? It occurs when a portion of the stomach becomes displaced, either forced into the esophagus or up next to it.

Habits:? Certain day to day habits can cause or exacerbate GERD.? Smoking slows the lower esophageal sphincter down, causing acid to back up from the stomach.? Wearing tight fitting clothes can place too much pressure on the stomach, causing reflux.? Even eating or lying down too close to bed time can cause heartburn.


The majority of GERD sufferers can manage the condition with medication and simple diet changes.? Over the counter antacids or prescription drugs can help diminish the symptoms of GERD.? Keeping a food journal and eliminating foods that cause heartburn can also help.? Even changing daily habits like quitting smoking can change the condition dramatically.

In severe cases where none of these approaches are successful surgery can be beneficial.? Most people can do the procedure laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive.? It involves suturing a portion of the stomach around the esophagus, tightening around the sphincter and preventing acid from backing up.? However, not everyone with GERD is a candidate for laparoscopic surgery.? Some will require a laparotomy, which involves opening the abdomen, and others will need a thoracotomy, which involves opening the chest.

For more on GERD and some holisitic solutions, please read our Reflux Remedy Report.

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October 14, 2010

Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is generally characterized by the onset of heartburn more than twice a week. Its symptoms can be very bothersome and painful, including heartburn, nausea and regurgitation.

Heartburn occurs when acid makes its way back into the esophagus, irritating the nerves found there. GERD sufferers most commonly feel this irritation as pain. The pain of heartburn is generally described as burning in the center of the chest that can start high and move up to the throat.

Regurgitation is when the feeling of acid coming back into the mouth occurs. It can be characterized by a bitter our sour taste accompanied by a wet burp.

Dyspepsia happens to many people with GERD. It is just a general way of defining an upset stomach. It includes burping, nausea, excessive hiccups and an overall feeling of discomfort in the stomach.

Symptoms occur as a result of many day to day things.

? Eating too much results in pressure buildup in the stomach, causing reflux.

? Eating right before bed can also cause heartburn.

? Smoking can aggravate GERD symptoms.

? Certain over the counter medications can also exacerbate GERD. NSAID pain relievers ? such as ibuprofen and aspirin ? as well as vitamins ? like potassium, calcium and iron ? can cause acid build up.

? Some people with certain health problems are more likely to experience symptoms of GERD. Those with Type 1 Diabetes may have a digestive condition that slows the flow of food through the stomach causing pressure to build and acid to move into the esophagus. Pregnant women may also experience a high volume of heartburn. Additionally, there is a link between Hiatal Hernia and symptoms of GERD. A Hiatal Hernia happens when part of the stomach is displaced ? either into the esophagus or up next to it. This condition can cause acid flow and production to be disrupted causing heartburn.

? People who are overweight may experience heartburn simply as a result of the added weight on their chest and abdomen. The weight puts pressure on the stomach, causing reflux.

? Certain foods can also aggravate GERD and bring the symptoms on. Foods like citrus, caffeine, alcohol, garlic and onion are common ones, however GERD sufferers all have their own unique food triggers for heart burn.

If you experience chest pain associated with arm numbness and shortness of breath, please see a doctor immediately. It can be a sign of a heart attack, and not simply heartburn.

For more information on the symptoms of GERD, please reference our Reflux Remedy Report.

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