Gastroesophageal reflux disease: symptoms and treatment

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) It is the passage of gastric contents to the esophagus spontaneously, without a cause that causes it. The physiological gastroesophageal reflux is due, above all, to the transient and spontaneous relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter due to stomach distension.

This condition It affects the quality of life of people who suffer from it. However, to consider it as a pathology, the symptoms must be important enough in terms of its presence or intensity.

Therefore gastroesophageal reflux It is a generally chronic pathological process with a good prognosis. In addition, the symptoms are of varying intensity and there will be intermittent periods of remission.

Causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease appears due to a malfunction of the sphincter that regulates the passage of acid juices.

The appearance of GERD depends on many factors. However The most important is the malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter. In addition, factors that favor gastroesophageal reflux include alterations of:

  • Esophageal motility.
  • Upper esophageal sphincter.
  • Esophageal clarification mechanisms and stomach contents.

In many cases hiatal hernia is associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is because the hiatus hernia favors reflux.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease It has a wide variety of symptoms. It can vary from the presence of symptoms only to the coexistence of esophagitis of different severity.

Also, less frequently, they may occur complications such as stenosis, esophageal ulcer or Barret's esophagus.

The variability of the symptoms depends on factors such as the duration of episodes of gastroesophageal reflux disease, the volume and aggressiveness of the refluxed material.

Further, the contact time of this material with the esophageal mucosa must be taken into account. The most frequent symptoms are:

  • Pyrosis: It is the characteristic symptom. It is the burning sensation ascending from the epigastrium.
  • Acid Regurgitation: It is the second most frequent symptom. It consists of the passage to the mouth of the gastric content spontaneously. This may be favored by certain postures or by increased abdominal pressure.
  • Centrothoracic pain: It is acute or abrupt in appearance and is produced by esophageal spasms. It can be suspected that the origin of pain is GERD when it is related to food intake and not an effort.
  • Gavesfagia: is choking.
  • Odynophagia: It is painful swallowing and is not a frequent symptom in gastroesophageal reflux disease. However, if it appears it may indicate the presence of esophagitis.

The typical symptoms of GERD have high diagnostic reliability. With the presence of them a diagnosis can be established almost certainly and indicate a treatment without the need for complementary diagnostic tests such as endoscopy.

However, if the patient has alarm symptoms, or does not respond adequately to conventional treatment, a high digestive endoscopy should be performed.

Also read: 9 home remedies to relieve heartburn during pregnancy

Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease It aims to relieve symptoms and cure esophagitis. In addition, they treat and prevent possible complications.

Also included are advice on lifestyle, hygienic-dietary measures, medications and, in some cases, surgery.

Hygienic-dietary measures

A healthy diet is decisive for controlling gastroesophageal reflux disease. In general, it is advised to eat light and avoid possible irritants.

Tips on lifestyle and hygienic-dietary measures they must be individual for each patient according to the risk factors that exist in each case. Although, the clinical response to the changes that have been introduced must be taken into account.

It is advisable to quit tobacco and reduce alcohol consumption, as well as weight loss in overweight or obese patients.

Another measure that is implemented is the elevation of the head of the bed, in cases that are clinical when they lie down. It is also recommended:

  • To avoid copious meals, it is better to eat less abundantly and more frequently.
  • Detect and avoid foods that trigger symptoms.
  • Controlling stress.
  • Do not perform extreme physical exercise.
  • Spend time with food by chewing enough.

You may also be interested: Problems that occur due to not chewing food well


Drug treatment It is based on the inhibition or neutralization of gastric acid secretion. Among the groups of drugs that are commonly used for the treatment of GERD are proton pump inhibitors.

These drugs cause total inhibition of gastric secretion. They also relieve symptoms, heal esophagitis and control recurrences.

Are also used antacids that efficiently and quickly relieve heartburn. Instead, prokinetics are useful when regurgitation predominates.

On the other hand, antiH2 produce a partial inhibition of gastric acid secretion. Its indication is the treatment of GERD when there is no esophagitis.

Does this disease afflict you? As you can see, there are several factors that can cause or make it worse. However, there are also several alternatives for its control and treatment.