Gastrointestinal Diseases

Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal Reflux:
It is a common condition that occurs due to the return of stomach acid and its contents to the esophagus, which many suffer from, including pregnant women from time to time, as it causes burning pain behind the sternum (burning), but its frequency and severity may be a problem that requires medical treatment.

In normal digestion, the esophageal sphincter (stomach gate) opens to allow food to enter the stomach, then closes to prevent food and stomach acid from returning to the esophagus.
Reflux is caused by a weakened valve (sphincter) that allows food and acid to return to the esophagus causing heartburn.

Risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy.
  • Diaphragmatic hernia.
  • Drugs that impair the function of the sphincter such as Sedatives.


  • Pain and burning in the chest and may reach the throat, causing congestion and laryngitis.
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing.
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Gingivitis and bad mouth odour.
  • Chronic dry cough and hoarseness.
  • Burping.
  • Increased salivation.

Reflux Irritants:

  • Anxiety and stress.
  • Eating large meals.
  • Eating spicy foods.
  • Eating acidic products.
  • Eating tomato products such as sauce and ketchup.
  • Eating fatty and fried foods.
  • Eating chocolate.
  • Caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks, coffee, etc.
  • Mint.

When to see a doctor:

  • when you feel burned for two or more days a week.
  • When you have difficulty swallowing food or liquids.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • When symptoms persist despite the use of medications.
  • Signs of gastrointestinal hemorrhage (such as: vomiting that contains blood or looks like ground coffee, stools that contain blood or is black in color).


  • Severe esophagitis.
  • Peptic ulcer.
  • narrowing of the esophagus.
  • Barrett's Syndrome.
  • Extra-esophageal complications (e.g., chronic cough, hoarseness, laryngitis, dental attrition).

In most cases, doctors diagnose gastroesophageal reflux by reviewing the symptoms and medical history, If the symptoms indicate Gerd , the doctor may recommend medication and lifestyle changes, instead of conducting tests, doctor may also recommend medical examinations When the symptoms indicate possible complications of  Gerd, the symptoms indicate that there may be another health problem causing symptoms similar to Gerd, so the symptoms do not improve after medication and lifestyle changes, Among these tests:

  • Barium X-ray.
  • Upper GI Endoscopy.
  • Examine the pH level of the esophagus.

GERD Treatment:

  • Simple antacids (acid equivalents only)
  • Acid secretion inhibitors (H2 receptor inhibitors).
  • Proton pump inhibitors.


  • Avoid foods and beverages that cause heartburn.
  • Smoking Cessation.
  • Maintain a normal weight.

Guidelines for symptom relief:
Make some lifestyle changes by:

  • Not lying down immediately after eating.
  • Eating two to three hours before lying down.
  • Divide meals into small and sporadic meals during the day.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing.
  • Raise the head of the bed by about 15-20 cm.
  • Weight loss in case of overweight or obesity

Last Update : 23 August 2023 12:55 PM
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