What Is GERD And What Can I Do To
Naturally Stop It
GERD, Acid Reflux, Hiatal Hernia
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Any valuable discussion of acid reflux needs to include a section devoted to a better understanding of the
disease, including the leading causes and resulting conditions attributed to the ailment. Educating yourself as to the causes, symptoms, and effects of your disease will equip you with the knowledge you need to intelligently chart your path to health.
For this articles purposes, we’ll be taking a closer look at what GERD is exactly or acid reflux . Additionally, we’ll review how hiatal hernia can lead to GERD and other conditions such as Barrett’s Esophagus, a dangerous form of cancer that can result in patients with long-term GERD.
What is GERD (acid reflux):
At its most basic, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux, is a condition where the stomach
backs up (refluxes) and the liquid content contained within it returns to the esophagus.
If the liquid were something like water, there’d be no problem. However, the liquid most often contains acid, pepsin (an enzyme that aids in digestion), and even bile. Initially, this combination of caustic agents will agitate and redden the lining of the esophagus, but over time it can cause significant damage.
Interestingly, the reflux of liquid from the stomach is a common bodily experience for most people. However, in sufferers of GERD, the concentration of acid within the liquid is often significantly higher and the liquid itself stays in the esophagus—where it can do its damage—longer than in normal individuals.
For all people, the body does a number of things to minimize the impact of the refluxed acid. These protective
- Gravity and the waking hours. Because most reflux occurs during waking hours, the body’s upright position working with gravity helps the liquids to naturally make its way back down to the stomach.
- Swallowing. Salvia, which contains bicarbonates, which help to neutralize the damaging effects of acid, is a big part of managing refluxed liquids. Swallowing, then, goes a long way to help clear out the remaining reflux.
However, GERD sufferers and normal individuals alike become more susceptible to the damaging effects of
reflux at night. The body’s prone position as well as the lack of swallowing and saliva during sleep allows the refluxed liquids to remain longer in the esophagus, where they can do more damage.