Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a chronic digestive disorder affecting the ring (Lower Esophageal Sphincter) between muscle between esophagus and stomach. In people suffering from GERD, stomach acid or bile flows upwards into the esophagus irritating the inner lining of the food pipe.
GERD which usually starts as an occasional acid reflux following a heavy meal loaded with spices and oils may turn chronic if not addressed properly. Common symptoms include:
- Burning sensation in the chest, more at night
- Chest pain
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- Difficulty swallowing
- Water brash
However, it might be surprising to note that GERD also presents with quite a few unusual symptoms, that can leave you confused and press panic button instantly. Relax. If you are finding these following difficulties and your doctor has ruled out all possible causes, get tested for GERD.
Cough and Sore Throat:
Do you know that in most cases, cough is often a result of this gastrointestinal disorder? Known as nocturnal reflux, especially after a heavy intake of food or alcohol, gastric juices flow past the esophageal sphincter entering into the throat (pharynx) and even the voice box (larynx), irritating the sensitive tissues thus triggering a sore throat and cough. In severe cases, it may lead to acid laryngitis causing inflammation of the larynx.
Choking At Night:
If you suddenly feel chocked up in the middle of sleep and wake up to an episode of retching, blame it on GERD again. Nocturnal choking is another symptom where food or sour liquid flows into the throat causing severe burning sensation. Research suggest that people suffering from sleep apnea are particularly prone to nocturnal choking. Seek your doctor’s advice if this condition is repetitive.
Okay, this may sound unbelievable, but your blocked sinuses are a result of GERD. Doctors believe that acid reflux can trigger sinusitis where the digestive juices travel upwards to the nose and sinuses, irritating the inner linings. Though this is commonly seen in children, adults suffering from digestive issues too complain about this condition.
Asthma too is a chronic condition that usually happens in winter months. However, if you are an asthmatic, suffering a sudden attack in the summer months – make changes in your diet plan. Non-seasonal asthma attacks are often associated with GERD as severe coughing and wheezing mount excessive pressure on chest and abdominal regions, making the patient to inhale and exhale forcefully.
Ear Pain & Dizziness:
Though less common, sudden pain ear in the ear associated with dizziness is often contributed to GERD. Acid refluxes can sometimes reach upper GI system, affecting the inner lining in the tubes. This can severe irritation, inflammation causing a loss of balance or episodes of vertigo. This is often reported while lying down following heavy intake of food. Few patients complain about ear pain coupled with dizziness.
How To Treat GERD?
Though a chronic condition, GERD can be managed easily by making certain lifestyle changes.
- Follow a strict diet plan. Ensure a lot of fibre rich foods, vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid eating oily, fat loaded food items. Alcohol is a strict no-no before going to bed. Quit smoking.
- Workout regularly and stay active, to trigger easy digestion and better absorption of nutrients.
- Avoid drinking carbonated beverages. Guzzle down plain water, coconut water and fresh juices to beat GERD.
- Chew on jeera, ginger for instant relief. Cut down on coffee, citric juices. Do not eat vegetables like onions raw.