Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive condition affecting the esophageal sphincter, or muscle ring found between the esophagus and stomach. GERD is a common condition among those suffering from acid indigestion or heartburn. A number of physicians believe that GERD can be caused by a hiatal hernia.

Normally, GERD sufferers can obtain relief through dietary and lifestyle changes, while others require medications, or even surgery. No matter what the cause may be, if you find yourself suffering from GERD, you could benefit from seeking GERD treatment in Mission Viejo.

Gastroesophageal is a term referring to both the stomach and esophagus. Reflux is a word meaning to return or flow back. So gastroesophageal reflux means that the contents of the stomach return into the esophagus, rather than passing into the stomach through the esophageal sphincter. When the contents of the stomach are properly handled by the body, they flow through the sphincter that seals to prevent the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. When the esophageal sphincter does not close properly, the contents of the stomach can sometimes flow back into the esophagus.

GERD and Hiatal Hernia

It is suspected that a hiatal hernia may lead to a weakening of the esophageal sphincter, increasing the odds of developing GERD. A hiatal hernia develops when part of the stomach moves into the chest through a tiny opening within the diaphragm, or muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Not everyone with a hiatal hernia will develop problems with acid reflux or heartburn. But having this condition may permit the contents of the stomach to move into the esophagus, requiring GERD treatment in Mission Viejo.

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Heartburn Symptoms

Acid indigestion, commonly known as heartburn, is GERD’s most common symptom. It is usually experienced as a sensation of burning chest pain under the breastbone and spreading up to the throat and neck. The discomfort of heartburn can linger for up to two hours and often worsens following eating. Heartburn can also develop when you bend or lie down.

GERD Treatment in Mission Viejo

If you are dealing with the pain and discomfort of GERD, you would be wise to seek out GERD treatment in Mission Viejo to alleviate your symptoms. We typically advise certain dietary and lifestyle changes for those dealing with GERD. The goal of treatment is minimizing the reflux or bringing about a reduction in the damage to the esophageal lining.

Refraining from consuming foods and beverages that lead to the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter is advised. For many people, these food items include alcoholic beverages, caffeine, peppermint, chocolate, and fatty foods. Acidic food products that can damage the esophageal lining include tomato products, citrus fruits and juices, and pepper.

Another thing that seems to help people with GERD is minimizing portion sizes at mealtime. Others find that eating their meals several hours prior to bedtime can reduce symptoms, since stomach acid is able to decrease and empty partially during this time.