How Do the Signs of GERD Vary in Children and Adults?
One of the top common problems that many patients will have in their lives is acid reflux. A main symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which is characterized as a burning feeling in the chest cavity that may intensify right after eating or while lying down. Occasional acid reflux and heartburn are generally nothing serious. However, for individuals experiencing issues frequently (more than two times weekly), this might be an indication of a more severe condition referred to as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Based on different studies, it's estimated that about 20% of Americans are currently dealing with GERD. As a chronic digestive disease, it can cause some serious health complications without professional treatment. If you have constant acid reflux and heartburn, get in touch with a member of our team at Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX and find out how you can defend your health against this condition.
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?
GERD is a disorder of the digestive tract in which gastric acid flows back up the esophagus. In a healthy digestive tract, the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), a round muscle that divides the stomach from the esophagus, acts as a valve, allowing food to reach the stomach and preventing the contents of the stomach from traveling back up the esophagus. If the LES becomes impaired or lax, acid reflux, heartburn, and different symptoms can arise. GERD is characterized as long-lasting acid reflux, usually recurring more than two times a week. Individuals of many ages, as well as infants, could develop gastroesophageal reflux. When unaddressed, GERD could result in constant inflammation of the esophagus. This might cause the accumulation of scar tissue and esophageal ulcers as well as increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
What are some causes of GERD?
GERD is caused by a weak LES. While the precise instigator of LES dysfunction might be unidentified, there are several conditions that increase the likelihood of the disorder and lead to symptoms of GERD. These include:
- Expecting a child
- Stomach hernia
- Scleroderma (or other connective tissue conditions)
Some habits, such as using cigarettes or other tobacco products, may also cause heartburn and result in GERD. Certain medications can result in GERD or worsen its symptoms, including sedatives, calcium channel blockers, particular asthma meds, and SSRIs.
What are the indications of GERD in adults?
The most prominent symptom of GERD is chronic heartburn. The need to take OTC antacids more than two times a week may be an indication of GERD. However, a patient could still be diagnosed with GERD even when they do not have heartburn. The symptoms of GERD, including the quiet GERD symptoms that do not occur in the chest cavity, often include:
- Dental caries
- Difficulty swallowing
- Constant coughing
- Postnasal drip
- Noticing a lump in the throat
- Bad breath
What are some of the signs of GERD in young children?
Since GERD could affect patients in any stage of life, it is imperative to make a note of GERD symptoms when they develop, especially in infants. The common signs of GERD in babies are:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent vomiting
- Arching the back while or soon following meals
- Resisting feedings
- Lacking weight gain
- Persistent coughing
If your child has been exhibiting any signs or symptoms of acid reflux disease, talk to a member of our team at Digestive Health Associates of Texas and get an assessment at your earliest convenience.
Have GERD in Dallas, TX?
In the event that heartburn or various other symptoms of GERD are dramatically influencing your quality of life, it may be time to explore effective ways of managing this condition. The knowledgeable gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas are committed to helping patients learn about and manage their GI health while upholding the highest professional standards. Schedule a visit with one of our gastroenterologists in Dallas, TX to discover more about your treatment options.