Gastroesophageal reflux disease, often referred to as GERD or acid reflux, is a medical condition in which the liquid contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus, causing a host of uncomfortable symptoms. The primary gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms are nausea, heartburn, and regurgitation. Common treatment options include the use of medications, dietary changes, and lifestyle modification.
Nausea is one of the gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms that varies widely among patients. Some patients are fortunate enough to not have this symptom, yet others can be virtually crippled by the persistent feelings of nausea. Vomiting sometimes occurs along with the nausea, although not always. Prescription medications are often used in an effort to reduce the feelings of nausea, although these medications are not always successful.
Heartburn is one of the more troubling gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. Heartburn is often experienced as a burning pain or a heavy, uncomfortable feeling in the chest, just behind the breast bone. This type of pain is more frequent just after a meal or when lying down. Over-the-counter antacids can sometimes provide temporary relief, although prescription medications have a much higher success rate.
Regurgitation is another of the gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. This occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus and into the mouth. This condition is usually mild, although it can become so severe that the teeth begin to erode from the excess acid. Anyone with these symptoms should see a physician for proper diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment can begin.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms may come and go over a period of time, but it is worth noting that ongoing treatment is generally necessary in order to keep the disease under control. Medications are often helpful, but there are other treatment options that may be helpful in some patients. For instance, taking notes concerning which foods tend to aggravate the problem can help the patient make better dietary decisions. Many patients find that elevating the head of the bed helps them to sleep better because the pain of GERD is often worse when lying flat.
There are several home remedies that claim to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. The most popular method is to mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into half a glass of water and drink. Taking a large swallow of pickle juice seems to have the same effect. Some patients use baking soda in place of the vinegar, while still others insist that eating an apple each day helps to keep the painful attacks at bay.