Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which food or liquid travels backwards from the stomach to the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

When you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter i.e. the circular band of muscles around the bottom part of esophagus relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again. If this valve does not close properly, food and liquid can move backwards into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

Certain factors may worsen the symptoms of GERD such as:
. Obesity
. Alcohol
. Smoking
. Lying down immediately after a large meal
. Spicy food, caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages and onions
. Certain medications such as sedatives and calcium channel blockers may cause GERD

Signs and Symptoms:
. Heartburn: Burning sensation in the chest which worsens on bending, stooping, lying down or eating. Symptoms are more during the night
. Regurgitation of food
. Belching and vomiting
. Chest pain especially at night while lying down
. Cough with wheezing
. Sore throat
. Hoarseness of voice

. Inflammation of the esophagus(oesophagitis)
. Narrowing of esophagus(Stricture)
. Bronchospasm
. Slightly increased risk of esophageal cancer

Diagnosis can be made on the basis of signs and symptoms.

Barium X-ray:
It can then reveal whether a hiatal hernia may be contributing to your heartburn. It can also reveal an esophageal narrowing or stricture, or a growth, which may cause difficulty in swallowing.

A more direct test for diagnosing the cause of heartburn is Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). In this test your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat. The endoscope allows your doctor to see if you have an ulcerated or inflamed esophagus (oesophagitis) or stomach (gastritis). It can also reveal a peptic ulcer.

Continuous esophageal pH monitoring showing reflux.

Homeopathic Management:
Patients suffering from GERD do not have to depend on antacids if they are treated by homeopathy which treats without side effects.

Constitutional homeopathic medicine is prescribed after taking into account a person's physical, emotional and psychological make up. His likes and dislikes ups and downs which he has suffered in his life, any stress which he presently is going through.

All these factors are essential in finding out a correct remedy. Further damage to the esophageal tissue is avoided as the patient feels better mentally and physically.

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