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What is Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease?

Posted on February 25, 2018 at 10:05 PM

GORD is a very common disorder and occurs when stomach acid refluxes into the lower oesophagus through the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a band of muscles that act as a protective barrier against reflux material by contracting and relaxing. If this barrier is relaxed at inappropriate times or otherwise compromised, reflux occurs. Chronic or reoccurring reflux allows prolonged contact of stomach contents with the lower oesophagus, leading to symptoms.



In general four underlying conditions are associated with GORD:

1. Decreased lower oesophageal sphincter pressure.

2. Irritation of the lining of the oesophagus by the stomach contents.

3. Abnormal clearance of oesophageal acid.

4. Delayed stomach emptying.



Symptoms:

The primary symptom of GORD is persistent heartburn, a burning discomfort felt in the upper chest or abdomen. Symptoms vary from person to person and at times there may be no symptoms at all. The majority of people with GORD have mild symptoms, with no visible evidence of tissue damage and little risk of developing complications.



Dietary modifications:

Recommendations to lessen the likelihood of reflux and to avoid irritation of sensitive or inflamed oesophageal tissue.

• Decrease total fat intake - High fat meals and fried foods tend to decrease LES pressure and delay stomach emptying thereby increasing the risk of reflux.

• Avoid large meals - Large meals increase the likelihood of increased gastric (stomach) pressure and reflux.

• Decrease total caloric intake if weight loss is desired - Since obesity may promote reflux, weight loss may be suggested by your healthcare provider to control reflux.

• Avoid chocolate - Chocolate contains methylxanthine, which has been shown to reduce LES pressure by causing relaxation of smooth muscle.

• Avoid coffee depending on individual tolerance - Coffee, with or without caffeine, may promote gastroesophageal reflux.

• Avoid other known irritants - Alcohol, mint, carbonated beverages, citrus juices, and tomato products- all may aggravate GORD. These products may be consumed depending on individual tolerance.



Other modifications for treating GORD

• Maintain upright posture during and after eating.

• Stop smoking.

• Avoid clothing that is tight in the abdominal area.

• Avoid eating within 3 hours before bedtime.

• Lose weight if you are overweight.

• Sleep on your left side.

• Chew non-mint gum which will increase saliva production and decrease acid in the oesophagus.

• Elevate the head of your bed 4-6 inches by placing bricks under the headboard.




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