Food is a large part of life, and digestive issues can cause havoc when trying to enjoy your favorite meals with the ones you love. A very common digestive disorder is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). GERD occurs when food, fluids, or acidic stomach fluids back up from the stomach and into the esophagus. This digestive issue can affect any age, from infancy to adulthood. Everyone has experienced reflux, it occurs when you have heartburn or burp.
Am I At Greater Risk?
Those with asthma have a higher risk of developing GERD. This is because of asthma flare-ups. Flare-ups can cause the lower eosphageal sphincter to relax which then allows stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Some asthma medications can also worsen reflux symptoms. However, acid reflux can also worsen asthma or allergy symptoms because of the irritation it can cause in the airways and lungs. Dr. Patricia Gerber, a board-certified allergist at National Allergy & ENT explains, “GERD and asthma can affect each other, but usually in cases where either is poorly controlled. If a patient feels as though their GERD symptoms are poorly controlled then it is likely to affect their asthma as well, however if a patient finds that their symptoms are minor then they are less likely to affect one another.”
GERD symptoms include heartburn, acid taste in your mouth, burping, as well as these other less common symptoms*:
- Bad breath
- Laryngitis or hoarseness
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Inflammation of gums
- Chronic sore throat
- Acid regurgitation (retasting your food after eating)
- Chest pain (seek immediate medical help)
GERD can be eased with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications mostly, however there are times that stronger medications or surgery is needed to ease symptoms. An immunologist can assist you with treating GERD, especially if your asthma is being affected by the condition. To schedule an appointment with one of your board-certified Immunologists call us at (843) 212-7976 or schedule online.