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Options For Women Suffering With GERD

By HERWriter
 
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Options For Women Suffering With GERD

Gastrointestinal reflux may sound like a “no big deal” disease. However, living in fear of every bite you take can impact how you live your life. This digestive disorder affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.

Reflux in itself means to “return” so this is essentially describing the return of the stomach’s contents back into the esophagus (not super comfortable).

When there is an opening in the diaphragm, the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest. This is known as a hiatal hernia. This is a potential cause for GERD, but smoking, diet and even pregnancy can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which is supposed to separate our stomachs from our esophagus. However, it can become weakened. (1)

Heartburn is a common symptom and in many cases, a careful diet can relieve the symptoms. The first suggestion that is often given a patient is to stay away from anything that triggers symptoms, even if it means giving up foods entirely, such as fatty foods, alcohol, citric juices and coffee. Adding licorice and chamomile and practicing relaxation techniques have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of GERD. In addition, it may help to elevate the head of a bed by as much as six to nine inches and to sit up straighter to help with digestion. (3)

However, there are some people that do all the right things and still continue to suffer. An endoscopy may be necessary to determine if there is esophageal inflammation. An endoscope can also place a clip in the esophagus that can identify when, and for how long, stomach acid regurgitates there. (It will pass after two days). (2)

Most physicians will start with over-the-counter medications and possibly prescriptions. There are antacids, of course, but also medications to reduce acid production and even medications that block acid production completely to help to heal the esophagus. (2) Recent studies have shown that a vegetarian diet may be as effective as medication for people with acid reflux. (4) The doctor in charge of the study, Dr. Zalvan, found that limiting meat and dairy to two to three modest servings a week helped significantly with symptoms.

1.     Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/reflux-disease-gerd-1#1Retrieved 18 March 2019. 

2.     Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20361959  Retrieved 18 March 2019.

3.     What is acid reflux? Medical News Today.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.phpRetrieved 18 March 2019.

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4.     Acid reflux? Try going vegetarian. Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-hlth-vegetarian-acid-reflux-0920-story.htmlRetrieved 18 March 2019.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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