Prevent Esophageal Strictures by Finding the Source of GERD
01. 12. 2018
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common condition that often goes undiagnosed. According to Healthline, 60 percent of American adults will experience some type of GERD within a 12-month period, and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms. Common symptoms of GERD include:
- Burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), usually after eating
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Chronic cough
- New or worsening asthma
- Disrupted sleep
What Causes GERD?
GERD is caused by a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. A loose LES allows gastric acid and undigested food to reflux back into the esophagus, which brings on that familiar burning sensation. When esophageal tissue is consistently exposed to gastric acid, it can cause inflammation. Inflamed esophageal tissue can develop scarring that narrows the diameter of the esophageal tube. This is known as benign esophageal stricture.
Symptoms of Esophageal Stricture
Although benign esophageal strictures are not cancerous, they can cause pain and discomfort. Common symptoms of benign esophageal stricture include:
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Unexpected weight loss
- Regurgitation of food or liquids
- Sensation of having something stuck in the chest after eating
- Frequent burping or hiccups
You may notice that symptoms of GERD and esophageal strictures mirror one another. This is because esophageal stricture is a complication of chronic GERD. The best way to prevent esophageal stricture is to determine what is causing GERD.
There are several conditions that can cause or increase the risk of GERD:
- Hiatal hernia
- Connective tissue disorder
- Delayed stomach emptying
There are also many lifestyle choices that can aggravate GERD including:
- Trigger foods (spicy, fried or fatty foods)
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Medications like aspirin
Do not accept the discomfort and annoyance of GERD. Ignoring symptoms could significantly affect your health. Make an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist so you can be evaluated. Your doctor can perform an upper endoscopy if necessary to examine your upper digestive tract to determine the best treatment for your condition (Source: Mayo Clinic).