GERD (which stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a condition where the bile from the stomach overflows into the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. THe lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the “lid” that keeps the bile within the stomach. With GERD, the LES doesn’t close all the way and the bile backs up into the esophagus. In other words: GERD is pretty much strong, constant heartburn.
There are a variety of symptoms that can come along with GERD. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I was having chronic stomach pains. I would eat a bite or two of something, then have to stop because of the pain. About that time, several people in my family were having their gallbladders removed due to a variety of issues. I thought my symptoms were the result of my own gallbladder issues. I went to my doctor, and he diagnosed me at that time with GERD. I had never heard of GERD, and was really surprised that it wasn’t my gallbladder. I learned that tomatoes and citrus were triggers for GERD, so I went home and immediately got rid of anything that had those items in it. It took about 2 weeks, but I started feeling so much better. This was about 5 years ago. I am happy to report that I have not needed to go on GERD medication in that time.
However, in the past year, I have been cheating on my GERD more than I should. A slice of pizza there, a piece of lemon cake there. I have also noticed my symptoms creeping up again. The familiar pang of heartburn that directly correlates to my lapses in food judgement. If left unchecked, GERD can cause serious problems with the esophagus. It can cause corrosion, and possibly even cancer. As I take this path to my best self, it is important that I get this under control. I do not want to have problems in the future, knowing full well that I could have taken care of them here and now.
The best way to treat GERD is with a healthy diet, although I have to cut out tomatoes which is normally considered healthy. Obesity can also contribute to GERD, so managing weight is also important. I do have a weight problem, so getting that under control will help.
That being said, pretty much any healthy diet coupled with eliminating trigger foods will work for managing GERD. I plan to use the DASH diet (see the other post for information) with some modifications.
I hope that this part of my journey will find my GERD symptoms eliminated, and a happy esophagus. 🙂