The Signs of GERD and What to Watch For

One of the more common problems that countless people will have at some point throughout their lives is acid reflux. The main symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which is known as a burning discomfort centered in the chest cavity that can worsen directly after a meal or while lying down. Sporadic heartburn and acid reflux are commonly no big deal, but for those noticing symptoms frequently (more than two times each week), these instances may be an indication of a more serious illness referred to as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Based on different studies, it's estimated that roughly 20% of United States citizens are presently experiencing GERD. This persistent illness may cause some serious complications. If you experience frequent acid reflux and heartburn, partner with our team at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA and discover how you can fight against this condition.

Facts about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD is a disease that impacts the GI system where stomach acid travels back up the esophagus. When the gastrointestinal tract is healthy, the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), a circular muscle that separates the esophagus and the stomach, acts as a valve, enabling food to reach the stomach and stopping the contents from traveling back up the esophagus. When the lower esophageal sphincter eases untimely, acid reflux, heartburn, and various other signs can occur. GERD is characterized as long-lasting acid reflux, usually repeating more than twice a week. Patients of many ages, along with young children, can be diagnosed with GERD. If unaddressed, GERD could cause persistent inflammation of the esophagus. This could eventually result in scar tissue accumulation, esophageal ulcers, and open wounds, along with a heightened risk of esophageal cancer.

What are some causes behind GERD?

GERD is a result of a compromised LES. Although the particular cause of LES dysfunction may be unknown, there are some health conditions that elevate the likelihood of the disorder and the indications of GERD, including:

  • Scleroderma (or other connective tissue illnesses)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Abdominal hernias

Certain habits, such as using cigarettes or inhaling secondhand smoke, could also cause acid reflux and contribute to GERD. Some medications can lead to GERD or worsen the symptoms of GERD, including calmatives, calcium blockers, some asthma prescriptions, and anti-depressants.

What are the indications of GERD in adults?

The most prominent sign of GERD is persistent heartburn. In the event that you notice yourself taking OTC antacids more than two times a week, this might be an indication of GERD. But a patient can still have GERD even if they don't suffer from heartburn. The signs of GERD, as well as the less obvious GERD symptoms that do not present in the chest, consist of but are not limited to the following:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Halitosis
  • A sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tooth decay
  • Asthma
  • Postnasal drip
  • Vomiting

What are some of the signs of GERD in babies?

Since GERD could be identified in any individual at every period of life, it's vital to make a note of GERD symptoms as they occur in infants. The most frequently occurring signs of GERD in babies consist of:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Deficient weight gain or even weight loss
  • Resisting feedings
  • Arched back while or directly following a feeding
  • Nausea
  • Frequent regurgitation
  • Persistent coughing

When your baby has been exhibiting any of these chronic symptoms, talk to a GI specialist at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to learn if acid reflux might be the cause.

Get relief from GERD in New Orleans, LA

When indigestion or any other signs of GERD are dramatically impacting your quality of life, then you can find out more about your options for addressing this disease at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. The skilled specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates are dedicated to helping patients understand and address their GI wellness while keeping up with the highest professional standards. Get in touch with our team in New Orleans, LA to discover more information about your options.