Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the relatively common complications we help patients with at Andrea’s Digestive Clinic: Colon, Liver, Gallbladder, GERD/Acid Reflux Specialist). Gastroesophageal reflux disease in Singapore just like in other places is defined as the regurgitation of gastric content into the esophagus. Contents of the stomach like hydrochloric acid and partially digested food irritate the esophagus lining, resulting in symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, trouble swallowing, etc.
GERD occurs when there is a disturbance in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is responsible for closing off your esophagus from your stomach after swallowing food. Sometimes, due to certain conditions like hiatal hernia, the pressure on the LES becomes weak, allowing contents from the digestive tract to flow back.
How Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) manifests itself
If you’ve got GERD, the common signs and symptoms you’re most likely to get are heartburn and regurgitation. Other less common symptoms can include wheezing, painful swallowing, coughing, hoarseness, chest pain, etc.
The intensity of the symptoms varies with each person depending on the severity of GERD. Sometimes you may not realize that you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease in Singapore until digestive discomfort starts interfering with your daily life or productivity at work or school.
If not treated, GERD can lead to a more serious condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. In this condition, the cells of your lower esophagus are damaged because of prolonged exposure to digestive juices. This can lead to cancer development in the future.
Can it be controlled?
If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease in Singapore, then there is no need for worry. It can be managed either through lifestyle changes or medications or both.
If you suspect that you could be having GERD but don’t have the most noticeable symptoms now, it’s advisable to undergo medical tests like endoscopy for early detection and prevention of complications like cancer. If diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease in Singapore, it is advised to follow the recommended dietary changes combined with relaxation methods to control the acid production in the stomach. Also, there are prescriptions on medications you could be given, so do consult your doctor and explore treatment options.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
To control symptoms of GERD, some simple lifestyle changes can help a lot. The most important thing you should change in your lifestyle if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease is quitting smoking.
Smoking can worsen the condition of GERD by weakening the LES. Likewise, quitting alcohol consumption and reducing intake of spicy foods also help a lot in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. Besides this, it’s important to have a healthy diet rich in fiber and low in fat.
For the meals, it is advised to eat slowly and chew your food properly before swallowing it. This will help you avoid heartburn as well as prevent the stomach from regurgitating its contents back into the esophagus due to increased acidity of the stomach.
As lifestyle changes are vital for managing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, you need to make these changes permanent. In a way, you develop a new lifestyle pattern where you completely transform yourself into a health-conscious person.
This is where regular checkups with your doctor are required so that they can remove any doubts you have regarding gastroesophageal reflux disease. If the lifestyle changes don’t bring some relief, chances are there you’re dealing with a serious case of GERD.
How do you know if GERD is serious?
It may not be easy to know straight away if your GERD is serious or not. Sometimes it might be difficult to judge because of its typical symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, etc. Some people experience mild symptoms, while others could experience more severe ones. Some of the symptoms that may be indicative that your condition could be serious include;
- Trouble swallowing, pain while swallowing
- Blood in your stool or vomit
- Persistent dry cough
- Severe chest pains
- Feeling that food is getting stuck in your throat ( dysphagia ) and difficulty in breathing after eating (aerophagia)
If you experience any of these symptoms, then do consult a doctor for gastroesophageal disease in Singapore immediately. You can discuss all lifestyle changes and different medications with them to find the most suitable solution for you.
Pharmaceutical Remedies to Treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Other than the lifestyle changes, you can also try some pharmaceutical medications to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease in Singapore. These drugs are available in the form of pills, and they work by reducing the acid production in the stomach, thereby helping control symptoms of GERD. You can talk about these with your doctor so that they can suggest the right treatment option based on your lifestyle changes and severity of symptoms.
However, it’s important to remember that all medications have side effects. So if you’re undecided whether or not to take medications, then discussing this with your doctor is advisable as they can help you find out natural ways of treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. Here are some of the common medications that may be recommended to help you deal with GERD:
- Antacids: Antacids like ranitidine, famotidine, omeprazole, and nizatidine are used for treating symptoms of GERD like heartburn and acid regurgitation. These drugs neutralize the esophagus’s gastric contents and decrease acid production in the stomach with few side effects like headache, diarrhea, etc.
- H2 Blockers: Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, pantoprazole, esomeprazole etc are also recommended for GERD. They inhibit the enzyme called H+/K+ ATPase that is responsible for the production of acid in the stomach. These drugs can cause side effects like headaches, diarrhea, etc., but they are considered more effective than antacids.
- Prokinetics: To empty partially digested food from the stomach into the small intestine quickly, your doctor may recommend prokinetics drugs like metoclopramide and domperidone to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. Apart from this, these drugs stimulate the muscles at the end of the esophagus and help food move smoothly into the small intestine.
- Sucralfate: It forms a protective barrier between the stomach lining and esophagus that protects the mucosa from damage due to acid secretion in the stomach. Other than this, sucralfate also inhibits the actions of pepsin and reduces its ability to damage the mucous membrane and promote ulceration. Sucralfate doesn’t have any serious side effects, but it can cause constipation.
There is a wide variation in the medication and lifestyle changes that your GI doctor may recommend for gastroesophageal disease in Singapore. As you probably already understand, religiously following the doctor’s recommendations or guidelines provides you with the best chances of managing this condition so don’t take chances with any treatment recommendations. Give us a call now at +65 6264 2836 for a complimentary appointment if you suspect that you could be dealing with GERD and you need more information about the disease.
Andrea’s Digestive Clinic: Colon, Liver, Gallbladder, GERD/Acid Reflux Specialist
#21-11/12 Royal Square at Novena, 101 Irrawaddy Rd, 329565
+65 6264 2836