Symptoms of GERD .. Does honey help in its treatment?

What is GERD? How does it happen? What are the symptoms of reflux? Is honey effective in the treatment of reflux? How do I know that I have heartburn and not a heart attack? What are the factors that can lead to heartburn and increase the risk of GERD?

What is GERD?

GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and chronic acid reflux, is a condition in which acid refluxes from the stomach into the esophagus, as stomach acid constantly flows into the mouth. Through the esophagus, which can cause heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, a feeling that food is stuck in the throat and other problems, according to Cleveland Clinic website” (ClevelandClinic).

gastroesophageal reflux disease

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. GERD occurs when a muscle at the end of the esophagus doesn’t close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it, according to a database medlineplus affiliated with the National Library of Health in the United States.

Acid reflux occurs because the valve at the end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter, does not close properly when food reaches the stomach. Acid then flows through the esophagus into the throat and mouth, giving the person a sour taste.

Acid reflux happens to nearly everyone at some point in life, so having acid reflux and heartburn from time to time is normal. However, if you have GERD or heartburn more than twice a week for several weeks, and you take heartburn medications and antacids regularly, and still have symptoms, you may have GERD.

Therefore, you should be treated for GERD; Not only to relieve symptoms, but because GERD can lead to more serious problems.

GERD symptoms

  • Constant heartburn.
  • Acid regurgitation, which is the return of food and acid to your mouth from the esophagus.
  • Heartburn more than twice a week for several weeks, and symptoms recur even after taking medications.
  • GERD without heartburn, with symptoms such as chest pain, hoarseness in the morning or difficulty swallowing.
  • Feeling that you have food stuck in your throat.
  • Feeling that you are suffocating or that your throat is tight.
  • dry cough.
  • Bad breath.
  • trouble swallowing;
  • vomiting;
  • sore throat.
  • Hoarseness.

What is heartburn?

Heartburn – also known as “heartburn” and “heartburn” – is a symptom of acid reflux, a painful burning sensation in the middle of your chest caused by irritation of the esophageal lining caused by stomach acid.

This burning can occur at any time, but is often worse after eating. For a number of people, heartburn gets worse when reclining or lying in bed, making it difficult to sleep well at night.

Fortunately, heartburn and indigestion can be controlled with over-the-counter heartburn medications.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

With gastroesophageal reflux disease – when reflux and heartburn occur more than once in a while – the tissues lining the esophagus are regularly hit by stomach acid, and eventually the tissue is damaged. Thus, this chronic acid reflux and heartburn affects your daily eating and sleeping habits.

And when GERD makes everyday life this way uncomfortable, contact your doctor. Although GERD isn’t life-threatening in and of itself, chronic esophagitis can lead to something more serious, and this may prompt you to need stronger prescription medications or even surgery to relieve symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

gastroesophageal reflux disease

GERD is very common, and the condition and its symptoms affect a large number of people, for example, about 20% of the US population suffers from symptoms of this disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

GERD risk factors

Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be at greater risk of developing it:

  • After age 40, you’re more likely to have some form of GERD (mild or severe).
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • pregnancy.
  • Smoking or regular exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Taking some medications that may cause gastroesophageal reflux disease.

GERD cause

Acid reflux results from a weak or relaxed lower esophageal sphincter (valve). This valve usually closes tightly after food enters your stomach, and if it becomes loose, the contents of your stomach rise back up into the esophagus. In addition, stomach acids flow back into the esophagus.

GERD and pregnancy

Some pregnant women suffer from heartburn almost daily due to the increased pressure on the abdomen.

Factors that may lead to heartburn

  • Certain types of food (such as dairy products, spicy or fried foods) and eating habits.
  • Medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies, as well as analgesics, sedatives and antidepressants.
  • Hiatal hernia

Heartburn, not a heart attack

Chest pain caused by heartburn may make a person afraid of having a heart attack. But heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, and since the discomfort in your chest can make it hard to tell the difference while it’s happening. But heart attack symptoms are different from heartburn, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Heartburn is the annoying burning or pain in your chest that can travel to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, not to mention other symptoms.

If the heartburn medications you are taking do not help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Can GERD cause asthma?

We don’t know exactly the relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD, and they are just as likely to have GERD as people without asthma.

GERD may worsen asthma symptoms, and asthma medications may worsen GERD. But treating GERD often helps relieve asthma symptoms.

GERD symptoms can infect the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may indicate a connection. Doctors often consider GERD as a cause of asthma if:

  • Asthma started in adulthood.
  • Asthma symptoms get worse after eating a meal, exercising, at night, and after lying down.
  • Asthma does not improve with standard asthma treatments.

And if you have asthma and GERD, your doctor can help you find the best ways to deal with both conditions, and give you the right medications and treatments that won’t aggravate your symptoms.

Is GERD dangerous or life-threatening?

GERD is not life threatening or dangerous in and of itself; But GERD – in the long run – can lead to more serious health problems, including the following:

1- Esophagitis

Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation caused by stomach acid in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in the esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and difficulty swallowing.

2. Barrett’s esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that occurs in some people (about 10% of people with long-term GERD). And the damage that acid reflux can do over years can alter the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus may lead to esophageal cancer.

3- Esophageal cancer

Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two main types: Adenocarcinoma, which usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. The second is squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle parts of the esophagus.

4- “التضيق” (Strictures)

Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus scars, resulting in narrowing of the esophagus. These restrictions can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquids from reaching the stomach.

Many over-the-counter and other medications relieve GERD. Most over-the-counter medications come in prescription strengths, too.

The most common medications for GERD

  1. Antacids that provide quick relief by neutralizing stomach acids, including Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan®, Maalox® Maalox).
  2. H-2 receptor blockers that reduce acid production, such as Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR®, Zantac®.
  3. Proton pump inhibitors, such as Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, and Nexium®, are stronger acid blockers that also help heal damaged esophageal tissue. Protonix®, AcipHex®, Dexilant®.

Gastroesophageal reflux surgery

GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes (such as eating habits). If these methods do not work, or if the patient cannot take medications for a long time, surgery may be the solution.

The standard surgical treatment is endoscopic surgery, or Nissen fundoplication, which is a minimally invasive procedure that corrects acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism in the lower part of the esophagus.

The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach (bottom) around the lower part of the esophagus. This strengthens the lower esophageal sphincter, so food does not back up into the esophagus.

Honey and GERD

According to a report in Healthline website(healthline), honey may work in a number of ways to help treat GERD symptoms. Article published by “Indian Journal of Medical Research(Indian Journal of Medical Research) points to many of the main benefits of honey, including:

  • Honey is an antioxidant and scavenges free radicals. Reflux may be caused in part by free radicals that damage the cells lining the digestive system. And honey may prevent damage by removing free radicals.
  • Honey may reduce inflammation in the esophagus.
  • The texture of honey allows it to better cover the mucous membrane of the esophagus. This can contribute to long-term relief.
  • Honey is natural and can be used with other traditional remedies.

Despite these claims, more research is needed to evaluate the true effectiveness of honey as a treatment for acid reflux.

Ginger and GERD

According to a report in Healthline websiteAlthough ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties may make it effective against GERD, there is currently no medical basis for this, and there have been no studies on whether ginger is an appropriate treatment for GERD symptoms.

Research on ginger is primarily limited to its nausea-reducing abilities. Researchers are still investigating the general safety of ginger and any medicinal properties it may contain.

10 Tips to Help Prevent GERD Symptoms

  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat small, frequent meals rather than large amounts several times a day.
  • Reduce fat by reducing the amount of butter, oils, salad dressings and gravy, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products (such as sour cream, cheese, and whole milk).
  • Sit up straight while eating and stay upright (sitting or standing) for 45 to 60 minutes afterward.
  • Avoid eating before bed. Wait at least 3 hours after eating before bed.
  • Try not to wear tight clothing in the abdomen, as it can put pressure on your stomach and push acid into your esophagus.
  • When sleeping, raise the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches (about 20 centimeters), using wooden blocks under the bed bases.
  • stop smoking.
  • Your doctor may prescribe acid-reducing medications.
  • Refrain from potentially stimulating foods.

What foods should I avoid if I have GERD?

Modifying your diet and eating habits plays a major role in controlling GERD symptoms. Try to avoid foods that cause you to feel acid.

For example, many people get heartburn from:

  • hot food.
  • Fried foods.
  • Fatty foods (including dairy products).
  • Chocolate.
  • tomato sauces.
  • garlic and onions;
  • Alcoholic beverages, coffee and soft drinks.
  • citrus fruits.

Why do pregnant women suffer from heartburn?

The head of the German Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Christian Albring, says that heartburn occurs at the beginning of pregnancy; The high level of estrogen in the blood makes the connective tissues more flexible, so the muscles can’t close the area between the esophagus and the stomach very tightly.

Albring added that in the last period of pregnancy, the uterus expands and pushes the stomach up, which leads to the lack of tightness in the entrance to the stomach and pushes stomach acid into the esophagus, especially when eating a lot of food.

Albring added that the most prominent symptom of heartburn is the feeling of burning pain behind the sternum, especially after eating a fatty meal or spicy foods, noting that this type of heartburn is normal during pregnancy, and it usually returns to normal after Birth.

To cope with heartburn, the pregnant woman must initially give up fatty and acidic foods while eating less.

One of the useful tips is also to take a walk after eating and sleep with the head raised.

If these measures do not relieve heartburn, acid-suppressing medications from the “proton pump inhibitors” (PPI) group are used.

What is silent GERD?

The German magazine “Nature Artist” reported that “Silent Reflux” is GERD without the characteristic symptom of it, which is acidity.
The Journal of Alternative Medicine explained that the symptoms of silent GERD are persistent coughing, a constant desire to hem and a feeling of a lump in the throat.

Source : German + The island + Websites + Health line

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