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  • How common is GERD and how long does it last?

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    Old 11-10-2004, 04:53 PM   #1
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    How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    I'm just curious of how many people have GERD and how long have you had it and what do you do for it? Is it possible to have acid reflux and not realize it?

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    Old 11-12-2004, 11:23 AM   #2
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    I would say GERD is more common than you might think. I was diagnosed three years ago, after I developed extreme nausea for no apparent reason. Since then, I really have never had heartburn. My symptoms are nausea and coughing, and sometimes trouble swallowing - and once, asthma-like breathing problems.
    As far as I know, acid reflux never just `goes away' on its own. At least if you have a `mechanical' problem, like I do, where the valve closing my esophagus off from my stomach (at least I think that's what it divides), does not close all the way.
    If you have GERD, you need to keep in under control through either diet or medication, because if you let it continue, the acid will harm your esophagus and cause a pre-cancerous condition, and then obviously, cancer in some cases.
    But there are also new procedures, done with out-patient `surgery' using a laser, that appear so far to be pretty successful in ending GERD, by tightening that valve up so that acid can't leak in through it. That's what I am considering at this point, because the GERD symptoms (and the expense of the medicine itself) is such a nuisance. It would be really nice to not have to deal with it anymore.

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    Old 11-13-2004, 06:12 PM   #3
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    It cause cancer???? How long does one have to have Gerd before that becomes a concern??????? Can you have GERD and not know it sometimes? How is Gerd diagnosed? I take Nexium sometimes. How do you control it with diet? I have asthma so I never know if my breathing problems are due to that or now I guess it can be Gerd. Anyway, thanks for the info!!!! I really appreciate it!

    Old 11-14-2004, 09:41 AM   #4
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    Indirectly, GERD CAN cause cancer, but I'm not sure in what percentage of cases that happens. But I think it takes years of it to get to that point.
    How it can lead that way is if the GERD is not kept under control, then the acid that gets into your esophagus has a bad effect on the cells there, and causes changes to take place in those cells, which leads to a condition that if I remember right is called `Barretts esophagus.' Barrett's is a pre-cancerous condition. The Barrett's cells can then turn cancerous.

    If you have GERD, I think you would know that something is wrong, but not necessarily what. I would think you would have other conditions besides breathing problems, like heartburn, and/or nausea, and/or coughing for no apparent reason, trouble swallowing, et.. I don't think the breathing problems with it are common - I would say that's much more likely from your asthma. But please ask your doctor as I could be completely wrong.
    If you do think you might have either GERD or a problem like it, I would recommend talking to your doctor, and even seeing a GI specialist at least for an evaluation.
    Mine was diagnosed (I was 32 at the time) by my family doctor, after I went to see him because I'd suddenly become really nauseous for no obvious reason. When I ate food, the nausea would go away for a little bit but then come back when my stomach was empty. The first thing my doctor suspected was acid reflux. He gave me some samples of Prevacid to take for a few weeks to see if that helped, and it did, so that basically confirmed the diagnosis.
    When my employer switched insurers, I had to switch to Prilosec, which worked for awhile but then failed. So then I went on Nexium, and the same thing happened. Now I'm on Prevacid, which has done by far the best job at keeping in under control. I have no symptoms as long as I make sure to take my 60 mg per day. But my Prevacid co-pay is expensive, because most insurers won't have it on their `preferred' list.
    If you do have GERD, you need to take your medication every day, in order to keep it under control. Otherwise you will continue to have problems.
    My doctor did have a Barium swallow test done on me, where they watched me swallow the dye while standing in front of some imaging machine. That confirmed for them that the valve was not closing completely, even when I was on medication. They can also do a scope test on you to see if there's damage to your esophagus.

    Anyway sorry for the long post. I just wanted to give you info because I had to find all this out the hard way. I hope you find out what your problem is.
    I should also add that GERD can be made worse or even caused by stress, as can many stomach problems. So you might want to look at trying to get your stress levels down and see if that helps.

    Old 11-15-2004, 06:58 AM   #5
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    I have had GERD and acid reflux since last March when I got sick with my liver illness. I use a lowfat diet and I am meds for it. I take Nexium and Reglan twice daily. I still have problems but it is more controlled now. If you have it, take care of it or it can cause major problems for you.

    Old 11-15-2004, 07:23 PM   #6
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    Thanks everyone for the info!!!

    Old 11-20-2004, 10:10 AM   #7
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    GERD can be chronic , episodic/ come and go-- or be a one time thing, depending on the factors involved contributing to your GERD .

    For some a change in diet and lifestyle modifications are all that is needed. ( for example extra weight can make the LES ( lower esophageal sphincter) temporarily not act properly because it increases ab pressure and has an adverse effect on the LES -- or there may be an offending medication that needs to be stopped) And some with GERD need meds for life. It depends on contributing factors , and there are many, such as peralistis, gastric emptying, esophageal motility , bicarbonate in saliva, symptomatic hiatal hernia, overlappng conditons etc Many people with GERD only need to be treated wth PPIS intermittantly or can step down to an H2 blocker eventually.

    A barium swallow is not a good test to diagnose GERD -- it is used to rule out obstructions and structural abnormalties-- not considered a test to diagnose GERD at all. A 24 hour ph test is the difinative test for GERD if there are no erosions on endoscopy.

    Everyone refluxes acid -- even those WITHOUT GERD can reflux acid up to 50 times a day. A barium swallow can pick up reflux on perfectly healthy individuals. Therefore it is not a good test for GERD. The difference between those with GERD and healthy individuals is although everyone refluxes, it takes longer for the acid to clear in those with GERD. There is longer acid exposure time to the esophagus.

    PPIS do not stop reflux, they just take the acidity out of the reflux.

    Barretts esophagus --- a pre curcer to cancer-- can develop from untreated GERD. It is most common in men over 50. Most people with Barretts have very mild symptoms they let go for years -- and most Barretts is diagnosed on a first endoscopy.

    There is silent reflux-- it is called LPR . ( Laryngo-pharyngeal ) where acid exposure to the esophagus is normal -- but there is abnormal acid exposure to the larynx

    Before people just decide to take PPIS long term they should be tested properly with a manometry and ph test-- and gastric emptying study if they have pain and nausea. . You can also have GERD symptoms with totally normal acid exposure to the esophagus. This is called sensitive esophagus. Stress is implicated in this as stress amplifies pain perception.

    Old 12-12-2004, 06:29 PM   #8
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    Hi All,

    At first you may think that what I am posting is off-topic, but I think that anyone with
    Gerd probably has a problem with Bad Breath... That is why I am reposting in this shorter string.
    It would get lost in the "Bad Breath" string.

    Hi Thanatos,

    I notice that this Bad Breath string is getting too hard to navigate because it is getting
    so long again.

    I was tempted to post in a shorter string and may still do so, even though it would be off topic.

    I have read the first 70 posts and seen some people with a few good hints as
    to the causes of bad breath. There are quite a few and it has become a business selling remedies to those who are suffering from the problem

    One must first determine where the bad smell is originating.

    Here are a few tests to try..

    Have a trusted person give you some feedback...

    1/ Breathe out through your mouth and see if that smells so bad to the person

    2/ Close your mouth and breath out only through your nose.

    3/ If there is no difference, the smell is originating in the lungs.

    4/ If the smell is worse when breathing through your mouth, then one would think that it is coming from the mouth. Maybe NOT.

    5/ Try to burp and have that person tell you if the smell is the same as the breath or not. If it is the same or worse then the esophagus or stomach might well be to blame.

    6/ If it is different or less offensive, then the stomach and esophagus are
    probably not the source.

    7/ If the smelll is only bad when breathing through your nose, then you must rule out a sinus infection. A nasal swab would be a good thing to culture.
    (Many people carry a Staph Aureus bacteria in their noses/sinuses and if acne is also a problem on the face, this may be the cause as well.)

    If you do not have a trusted person to smell your breath, then you can get some information from a pet dog especially if they revolt from both your mouth and nose breath.

    If you have a spouse or mate, they may also have the same bad breath and not notice yours very much. You may also not be offended by theirs.

    Ask yourself if you have had an improvement in breath when taking antibiotics.
    If so, then maybe you did not take them long enough to clear up a difficult infection. Your doctor may be willing to prescribe longer, but some are not so understanding.

    If you are sexually active, you may have picked up a hard to diagnose infection from your partner... Bacteria such as Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma and Chlamydia will not culture on the usual petri dish media. If your doctor is a thinker, he will say... ""We can't find anything obvious to treat, but something
    must be causing the offensive smell, so lets try a week of Zithromax which will
    treat the hidden bacteria as well."" If it works, that must have been the problem. Of course, your mate may need to be treated at the same time or reinfection can easily occur .

    If the smell is coming from the stomach, poor digestion, a weak or open sphincter, or a gastric infection with Helicobacter Pylori should be ruled out.
    A blood test for Helicobacter Pylori or a breath test for Urea would be a big help. (The Urea smell may be the source of the bad breath.)
    If that was positive, then a week of two antibiotics and an ulcer med
    like prilosec or omeprazole would be the first thing to try.. This is called the
    "Triple Therapy" and has been accepted treatment for at least 8 years.
    Symptoms may include, belching, burping and burning in the stomach which gets better after eating for an hour or so... a white coated tongue, bad breath, and a sour taste in the mouth. If you have this... Get tested.
    If your doctor will not test for HP, then you need another doctor.

    If the test is negative, (which is possible) taking the triple therapy may still
    be helpful because not all Helicobacter strains are detectable.

    If you have hurt your esophagus in a car accident where whiplash was involved, or have injured yourself in the mid chest area while doing too many
    ab-crunches, it is possible that an important sphincter called the "Lower Esophageal Sphincer" and the "Phrenoesophageal Ligament"
    were damaged leaving you with a problem called acid reflux (gerd) that could be allowing stomach acid to burn the delicate esophageal tissue and cause the smell of rotting meat that is offending others. Surgery may be needed if this is the case. Sinus problems that resemble an infection can be due to
    breathing these acid fumes through delicate nasal membranes.

    If you need more info on such problems, do a search on "heartburn" or any of the other
    words in brackets.


    Old 01-16-2005, 12:21 AM   #9
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    Re: How common is GERD and how long does it last?

    Ive had gerd since my early 20s im now 48.As for how long gerd lasts all depends on whats causing it .In a high % of cases it caused by the relaxing of the les sphincter which then allows the contents of the stomach to flow upwards into the throat.Sometimes the symptoms can be relieved by losing weight if your over weight,or taking ppi's or surgery.Take care.

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