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Monday, August 22, 2011

Throat Problems in Gastroesophgeal Reflux Disease

Posted by Dr Prahallad Panda on 9:08 AM Comments

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a very common disorder encountered among many patients. Here the gastric acid, which is essentially hydrochloric acid along with food or as such comes back to esophagus; and eventually may come up to throat and mouth level.
This gives intense burning sensation in the chest in the mid-line (Called Heart Burn) with each bout of reflux. In the night time due to more horizontal position of esophagus with the stomach acid reflux may come to throat and even to mouth, though also seen in up right position.
 Stomach.Image via Wikipedia
This gives bitter taste to mouth. Excessive acid in esophagus, throat and mouth may cause damage to the inner layers of these parts. Eventually, it may lead to esophagitis or ulcer in esophagus; inflammation of larynx (The voice box) and throat. In throat is gives some unpleasant sticking sensation throughout. In mouth, it may cause damage of enamel of tooth leading to decay (Caries) of tooth.
There are mechanisms in place at the junction of the esophagus with the stomach to prevent the reflux of contents of stomach to the esophagus by an one way valvular mechanism. Sometimes some abnormality in that place is responsible for this reflux disease. Sometimes, a motility disorder of the digestive system may also responsible for it.
Proton pump inhibitors are the best to relieve the symptoms of a patient. However, many surgical options including ones through laparoscopic method are available.
Conservatively, one may get relief from the symptoms by adhering to some lifestyle changes;
  • Avoiding foods those cause excessive acidity in stomach; it varies from person to person; and the sufferers learn well the type of foods over time. Generally, those are chillies, spices, hot beverages and pickle.
  • Taking small and frequent meals instead of large meals.
  • Not drinking water immediately after taking food.
  • Remaining in upright position or taking a small walk inside home after taking food helps.
  • Not to go for sleep immediately after taking food.
  • Keeping the head end of bed up or using a pillow below head helps.
  • Loosing abdominal fat.
  • Going for some Yogic practices like "Pranayam".
  • Physical exercise.
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol.
  • Avoiding stress and strain, which causes excessive acid output.
It may sometimes be confused with anginal attack. Drinking plain water relieves the pain and burning sensation of GERD.
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