Lump in the throat, difficulty swallowing, pain in the chest or coughing… feeling any of these symptoms can be a sign that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If this phenomenon is normal in adults, it becomes worrying when it is too frequent. Indeed, it can then lead to serious complications. Dr. James East, gastroenterologist, shared them for the English media Medicalxpress.
Weight gain, fatty food, alcohol, tobacco, coffeebut also certain medications may promote gastroesophageal reflux. The latter is characterized by the ascent of part of the stomach into the esophagus. This syndrome is related to a failure of the muscle closing the digestive tract.
GERD: a phenomenon that affects 3.5 million French people
It is a recurring phenomenon that affects many individuals. It is estimated at 3.5 million the number of adults who suffer from it frequently in France. Thereby, 10% of the population experience symptoms of GERD every day. They are 20% to experience these occasional symptoms.
However, many of them do not consult or delay to do so despite the frequency of symptoms. If we often mention heartburn, there are other signs. As a reminder, here are the ones that should alert:
- a lump in the throat ;
- of the difficulty swallowing ;
- of the chest pain ;
- a cough ;
- and an worsening of asthma symptoms.
If occasionally gastroesophageal reflux is harmless, he can become dangerous at too high frequency. Thereby, There are two types of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Gastro-refluxesophageal : there are two types of reflux
Beyond infant gastroesophageal reflux which results in regurgitation and generally fades when the baby sits up or walks, we distinguish two types of reflux in adults. We differentiate them according to their frequency:
- Physiological intermittent gastroesophageal reflux : this first type of reflux does not lead to complications. “It’s a normal phenomenon when it is infrequent, brief and not painful“, explains the health insurance.
- Gastroesophageal reflux that lasts : in this type of reflux, “acid reflux from the stomach are significant, very frequent and prolonged over time“. The acidity of the stomach fluid ends up irritating the lining of the esophagus. Thus, it can be responsible for several complications.
Dr James East, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic Health Care in London, told Medicalxpress: “If you have Severe or frequent GERD, you need to see a doctor“.
In effect, this disorder can lead to many serious complications if it persists and is not treated. Medisite presents these five consequences of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
“Complications of GERD include esophagitis, inflammation at the bottom of the esophagus“, explains Dr. East. “In this case, stomach acid can break down tissue in the esophaguscausing inflammation, bleeding and sometimes an open wound (ulcer). esophagitis can cause pain and make swallowing difficult“, says the expert.
The esophageal stricturecorrespond to a narrowing of the esophagus. “The damage to the lower esophagus by stomach acid causes scar tissue to form. scar tissue narrows the alimentary track, catchy swallowing problems“, details the expert.
“Barrett’s esophagus is a common complication of GERD“, confides the gastroenterologist. This disorder is a precancerous disease that affects the lining of the esophagus.
The specialist specifies: “The damage caused by acid can cause changes in the tissues that line the lower esophagus. These changes are associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.”
Esophageal adenocarcinoma is a tumorsmart, that means she can spread to other parts of the body. This is the stadium advanced Barrett’s esophagus. “Every year, about 1 in 200 patients with Barrett’s esophagus will develop esophageal adenocarcinoma.”warns the expert.
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If gastroesophageal reflux persists and is not treated in timeit can also leave scars on the esophagus over the long term. This may increase the risk of tumors.
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