An Unexpected Sore Spot
Read Time: 3 minutes A morning sore throat may be the sign of something deeper. The cause could be GERD, and the condition may be the reason lozenges are ineffective. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder affecting the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.
How a simple but powerful condition affects the body
GERD happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. The backwash of liquid, or acid reflux causes irritation to the esophagus’ lining. GERD ranges from mild to severe reflux occurring once or twice a week.
The cases of GERD are more than expected
More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn and acid reflux symptoms at least once a month. However, when acid reflux symptoms present more than twice weekly, GERD is sure to follow. A 2014 study estimated up to 30% of Americans have GERD. Millions of Americans suffer from the disease and are unaware of the diagnosis.
GERD’s main target
GERD has no main target, impacting persons regardless of age, race, or gender. Pregnant women, overweight people, smokers, and people with hiatal hernia are high risk. People who take certain types of medications like antihistamines and painkillers, may also suffer from GERD.
Signs GERD’s got you, babe!
The common symptoms include chest pain, heartburn and difficulty swallowing or a sore throat. Vomiting foods, sour liquids or a lump in the throat are also common signs. People with nighttime acid reflux may experience a chronic cough, laryngitis, and sleep disruption.
When GERD attacks
Foods like chocolate, coffee, fried foods and fatty foods triggers GERD. Even healthy fats like avocado, if overindulged, triggers the disease. Habits like smoking also aggravates the condition. Smoking relaxes the LES causing acid to backwash into the esophagus. Drinking alcohol, obesity, and pregnancy also can increase the changes of gastrointestinal problems.
Simple strategies to treat GERD
A combination of lifestyle changes and medication treats the disease. Over the counter antacids and H2-blockers can provide much-needed relief. Research shows alcohol consumption increases the stomach acid levels in GERD patients. Similarly, spicy, fatty, and acidic foods also increase acid levels. An assessment of eating habits can fight gastroesophageal reflux. In extreme cases, minimally invasive surgeries like fundoplication can prevent excessive reflux.
Fighting GERD starts now
For constant symptoms, seek advice from a doctor immediately. Until then, be aware of the triggers. Eat smaller meals and avoid eating close to bedtime. Stomach contents can splash towards the LES laying down. More importantly, don’t ignore sore throats and get checked for gastroesophageal reflux disease today.