My name is Lilith Maclin and if you suffer from a digestive disorder, you can find a wealth of information about this type of medical condition in my blog. Three years ago, my husband was having severe stomach cramps and his doctor told him that he had a digestive disorder called ulcerative colitis. After my husband was diagnosed, I did thorough research to learn how to control and manage this disorder. We kept track of everything that my husband ate and when a certain food caused a flare-up of his condition, he eliminated that food from his diet. By learning all we could about this digestive disorder, my husband has been able to live pain free. If you want more information about this disorder and how to manage it, you can find it here by reading my blog.
Your doctor says that the persistent heartburn you have after eating is more than just indigestion. You have GERD, and it can flare up after every meal. If you make some adjustments in your life, you can reverse the course of this disease. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with surgery in your future. Here are the details of how this disease affects you and what you can do to prevent it from escalating and requiring surgical treatment.
GERD is Your Body Digesting Itself
At the juncture of the esophagus and your stomach is a small muscular valve. This valve opens to let food pass through the esophagus into the stomach, and then closes to prevent stomach acid from coming up into the esophagus. Should this valve fail, stomach acid will leak into the esophagus where it will eat away the tissue lining. This causes inflammation and the pain you experience as heartburn.
If the valve becomes damaged so it never closes properly, then your esophagus will become severely damaged, causing bleeding and ulcers. The tissue can even develop cancerous cells. Without this valve, you'll have pain every time you eat.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will do blood tests and X-rays to determine the level of damage of the esophagus and the valve. If you were diagnosed early in this disease, your doctor can give you a prescription for a medication to take before you eat to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced. There are also a number of things you can do to reduce the pain and damage while the tissues heal.
Avoid the Triggers for GERD
Certain foods will cause excess stomach acid to be produced. Others contain their own acid that will affect your esophagus. Some of these foods include:
Make Some Lifestyle Changes
These actions will help you cope with GERD every day:
If the pain persists after a few weeks of these changes, your doctor may do an endoscopy to look at the esophagus and valve. If the vale is not returning to normal, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace it.
Monitor what you eat, and when. Limit your meal portions. Take the proactive antacid medication as directed by your doctor, and you may put off surgery long enough for your esophagus and valve to heal. For more information, schedule an appointment with your doctor.