If you have been diagnosed with the condition of fibromyalgia, then you’re likely already having to deal with lots of unpleasant signs and symptoms. These can range from migraines to constant muscle pain.
Fibromyalgia can be an extremely debilitating condition, making it difficult to participate in even simple tasks. In addition to this, fibromyalgia also makes you much more susceptible to developing other conditions.
One of these conditions is gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD. This is an extreme form of acid reflux. It can result in lots of very unpleasant signs and symptoms and could make your symptoms of fibromyalgia that much worse.
Luckily, for this condition, there are lots of very effective options for treatment to help you eliminate this.
Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease Explained
Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is an extreme form of acid reflux. In this condition, the food and acid in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. This causes some very uncomfortable symptoms such as chest pain, heartburn, and throat sensitivity.
GERD is very similar to heartburn and is very common among those living in the United States. It is thought to affect somewhere between five to seven percent of the population.
On the other hand, unlike heartburn, the symptoms of GERD actually occur several times in a week and very often, individuals with this condition will suffer with symptoms every day. If it isn’t treated, this condition can have some serious effects on your overall health, leading to some very severe complications.
Causes of Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease
This condition is typically due to a combination of various factors including physiological and lifestyle. The majority of individuals suffering from this condition hare a problem with the sphincter that is located at the bottom of their esophagus.
This sphincter is referred to as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter, or LES, and, when working properly- keeps the stomach acid or food in the stomach from coming back up into the esophagus.
However, in some cases, this Lower Esophageal Sphincter becomes weak and allows foods and acid to come back up into the esophagus. Additionally, it can also have occasional periods of relaxation- typically during the night- which allows the acid and food back into your throat.
Some other things that contribute to the development of Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease are diet, weight, and even overall health.
Who is At Risk for Developing GERD?
Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease is very common and affects men, women, and even children. However, if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, you’re at a greater risk for developing this condition. In fact, over 60 percent of individuals with fibromyalgia also suffer from GERD. The reasons behind this are not known at this time.
There are some other things that put you at risk for developing GERD:
- A diet full of spicy, fatty, or acidic foods
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease
The signs and symptoms of this condition are numerous and will become much more severe as time goes on. Some of the symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Chronic cough
- Dry mouth
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Vomiting blood
Complications of Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease
If you don’t get prompt treatment, this condition can be extremely dangerous to your overall health. When exposed to the acidic content from your stomach, it can cause your esophagus to become eroded as well as damage the enamel on your teeth.
This increases your chances of developing esophageal cancer as well as diseases of the mouth such as gingivitis. Additionally, the condition of GERD can cause an obstruction, called a stricture, in your esophagus.
GERD also has an effect on your sleeping patterns, which can cause your symptoms of fibromyalgia to become much worse. In fact, it has been proven that individuals suffering from GERD will wake up much more often during the night and therefore spend much less time in the states of deep sleep, which can cause an increase in daytime fatigue.
Treating Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease
There are lots of different treatment options available to help you gain some control over your GERD symptoms. Generally, it is recommended that you use a variety of these symptoms in order to get the best relief.
Self-Treatment of GERD
Of course, self-treatment can do wonders in helping to control your symptoms of this condition. Particularly, following a strict GERD diet can help you to eliminate both acid reflux and heartburn.
Try to avoid eating fatty or spicy foods and eat smaller meals more often rather than three large meals each day. This allows your stomach to digest what you eat quickly.
Also, try to avoid lying down or even leaning over for about three hours after a meal. This will keep your stomach acid and food where it belongs- in your stomach.
Medical Treatment for GERD
If you have a severe case of GERD, self-treatment will not likely be effective. You will need to seek medical treatment. You can find both OTC and prescription medications that can help to minimize your symptoms and offer relief. Following are the two most common types of medications used to treat GERD:
These particular medications prevent your stomach from producing acid. you can get them over the counter under the names of Pepcid AC or Zantac. If you prefer, you can speak with your physician about getting a prescription.
PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, keep the acid in your stomach from being released into the esophagus. You can get these either over the counter or by prescription under names such as Nexium, Protonix, or Prilosec.