Monday June 10, 2013
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents reflux back up into the esophagus.
Heartburn and acid regurgitation are the main symptoms of GERD, though some people with GERD don't experience any heartburn episodes. This is why it's important to know all the possible symptoms of GERD.
While the majority of doctors will prescribe a trial of acid-suppressive therapy, and make a diagnosis based on the patient's response to this, there are tests to diagnose GERD a doctor may want to have performed.
Treatment for GERD will usually start with certain lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. If you continue to have symptoms after these modifications, your physician will discuss with you the use of antacids, H2 blockers, and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). If your physician and you decide a surgical option is needed, the most common surgical treatment for GERD is the fundoplications surgery. Another procedure sometimes used in the treatment of GERD is the radiofrequency treatment.
When were you diagnosed with GERD? Please take a moment to answer in the poll below. If you would like to share your story on what symptoms led to your GERD diagnosis, you can do so here.
Monday June 10, 2013
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, and up into the chest. This opening is called a esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus.
Approximately 50 percent of hiatal hernia patients don't experience any symptoms. For the other 50 percent of patients, the these hiatal hernia symptoms may occur. There are a number of contributing factors that can cause hiatal hernias. While some patients with a hernia hernia may also have GERD, GERD doesn't cause a hiatal hernia.
Various tests can be used to diagnose a hiatal hernia, though the tests most often used are the barium x-ray and the upper endoscopy. After the presence of a hernia is diagnosed, the treatment will vary by patient. As mentioned above, approximately 50% of patients with a hiatal hernia won't experience any symptoms, and may not require any special treatment. For those who do experience symptoms, which are usually heartburn related, they can discuss with their doctor the lifestyle modifications, the dietary changes, and any medications (such as antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors) that may be needed.
In some cases, such as when complications occur with a paraesophageal hiatal hernia, surgery may be needed. This type of surgery is commonly done as a laparoscopic procedure.
Monday June 10, 2013
Peptic ulcers can cause a variety of symptoms, and these vary from patient to patient. Some patients with ulcers have minimal, unusual, or even no symptoms at all. Others may have every symptom. This is why it is very important to consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
It is important to understand the causes of peptic ulcers. In the past, it was believed stress and diet caused peptic ulcers. Later, researchers stated stomach acids (hydrochloric acid and pepsin) contributed to the majority of ulcer formation. Today, however, research shows that most ulcers develop as a result of infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Since most peptic ulcers are caused by H. pylori, your doctor will most likely confirm the presence of this bacteria before doing other diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests tests for peptic ulcers can also include doing an upper endoscopy or barium x-rays.
If testing shows peptic ulcers are caused by an H. pylori, and standard treatment in these cases is a combination of drugs, including antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. If NSAIDS are the cause of your ulcer, you should stop taking these remedies. During the healing process for an NSAID-induced ulcer, your doctor may recommend the use of antacids to neutralize the acid, and H2-blockers or proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid production. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, for your treatment.
Many people think ulcers are an "adult disease." However, childhood peptic ulcers can and do develop. Children develop both duodenal and stomach (gastric) ulcers, though gastric ulcers are more common in children. The ulcer's location will determine the treatment.
Share your experience: If you have a peptic ulcer, what symptoms led to your peptic ulcer diagnosis?
Friday June 7, 2013
Most fish and seafood can make great choices for your meals because they are most often low in fat. This is good for those individuals whose heartburn is triggered by fatty foods. Fish and seafood dishes are becoming more popular choices for dinner meals, and even for grilling. The old adage that "fish is brain food" is true. One study reported that a single meal of fish per week reduced the normal age-related decline in intelligence by 10% to 13%.
Start enjoying these heartburn friendly fish and seafood dinner recipes.