GERD and Other Digestive Conditions

. Posted in SYMPTOMS OF DISEASE

The symptoms of GERD include heartburn, indigestion, reflux, and belching. If you experience these symptoms along with any of the sinus
infection symptoms just described, it is important that you see a specialist who understands the link between these disease processes.

When GERD occurs, the stomach contents rise above the junction between the stomach and the esophagus. When they reach the voice box and drop into the lung, the condition is LPRD. The acids may even rise above the pharynx (throat) and actually reach the nose and sinuses. There are other inflammatory bowel disease processes that affect the GI tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease, which are similar to those of ulcerative colitis, often include fatigability. There also may be a palpable mass in the colon with Crohn’s disease.

For instance, my patient Monte suffered from sinus disease and headaches that kept him up at night. He also experienced bad gastroesophageal reflux. I told him that his GERD was brought on by his sinus infections. The mucus that pools in his sinuses eventually drips into his throat, is swallowed, and passes into his stomach. This causes his reflux to act up. He noted that when his postnasal drip worsened, his reflux got worse. Once he began to follow the prescribed regimen, his symptoms virtually disappeared. He is now getting enough sleep, no longer suffers from headaches, and does not experience acid reflux.

GERD/LPRD and asthma are known to be clinically related. Sometimes, asthma is the first symptom noted in a GERD/LPRD diagnosis. If GERD/LPRD is not properly or is incompletely treated, then reflux of stomach acid can enter the lung, setting off asthma symptoms. The acids from the stomach inflame the lining of the lungs, and you may start wheezing. These acids can also cause a chemical tracheitis or bronchitis, resulting in a chronic cough or throat clearing. Treating the GERD/LPRD appropriately at the onset may prevent the asthma and at the very least will improve the likelihood that the reflux will not cause significant inflammation to the trachea, bronchi, or lung.

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