Complications of GERD


Complications of GERD – The chronic heartburn and its “consequences” to health

Many heartburners (known as GERD) with symptoms untreated can suffer many health troubles, the complications of GERD even cause consequences to the health.

If you are suffering from the heartburn frequently or prolongly (twice a week during several weeks), let’s go to find a medical help. Hereinafter are nine reasons for the complications of GERD and why you should not ignore the signs of GERD.


For the gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), food, acid and gastric will flow back into the esophagus – a tube connecting the throat to the stomach. For time, this will cause irritation and swelling, called the esophagitis

Dr. Sheth Anish, an assistant professor of digestive diseases at the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven Conn said that: “It is necessary for the esophagus to expose acid for a few weeks, you may be suffering from meningitis. They are all making the patients very uncomfortable, even painful, may increase the risk of esophageal corrosion and leaving scars”

Esophageal stenosis

In case the esophagitis spends too long, those scar tissues can cause the stenosis of the esophagus, make you painful or difficult in swallowing.

These large pieces of food can get stuck, it is required to carry out the endoscopy to pick them out. You also have the risk of suffocation and excessive weight loss, as a consequence of  not eating due to esophageal stenosis.

The esophageal stenosis can be treated by way of the esophageal dilatation or prolonged. That may need to be carried out over and over, but the acid blocking drugs such as: proton pump inhibitors (PPI) may prevent disease relapse.

The issue of the throat and voice

The main symptoms of GERD are the heartburn, but not everyone will get it. They may have other symptoms more difficult to diagnose.

“We call it the fits of ‘undercurrent reflux’,” said Dr. Sheth “Patients may not have the heartburn as usual, but have many other problems occur outside the esophagus, such as hoarseness, voice changes, sore throat, or chronic cough.. They feel like something blocking throat or getting coughed continuously and that is one of the GERD complications“.

Respiratory problems

The heartburn can be reduced by medication, but if the condition lasts, it can lead to many other diseases.

If stomach acid is inhaled after the reflux, GERD can cause asthma or pneumonia more exacerbated. Even when patients get no lung problems, GERD can cause difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath.

The treatment for this problem can be a double-edged knife. According to some studies, the GERD medications such as PPIs may actually increase the risk of pneumonia. (The researchers hypothesized that they may promote the growth of bacteria or stop coughing – an action that helps clean the lung.)

Let’s talk to your doctor about your GERD complications and to be considered to lung functions when treating the reflux esophagitis.


When stomach acid and gastric juices reflux back up the esophagus to the mouth, it can create sour, and if happens regularly it can erode tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay.

For those whose teeth are eroded by acid reflux often unaware of the damage until getting severe tooth decay.

In a study at the University of Alabama, 40% of GERD patients with severe dental caries (that figure is 70% to patients got reflux to the higher from esophagitis), compared to only 10% in those without reflux.

Ulceration of the esophagus

Stomach acid can erode the lining of the esophagus, causing pain or ulceration. (Other esophageal ulcer is difficult with gastric ulcers – often caused by bacteria). The persons get the esophageal ulcers can spit or vomit blood, or see blood in the stool. “The blood is dark red or black, piglets as coffee beans,” said Dr. Sheth.

Let’s your doctor know if you experience those symptoms. The endoscopic method – using a long flexible tube inserted in the mouth to see the GI – can detect tbe esophageal ulcer and its treatment with drugs to prevent or reduce acid.

If you have the heartburn more than twice 1 week, the symptoms are more severe and newer and newer, you need to visit your doctor soon.

The Barrett’s esophagus

If untreated for many years, the continuous acid reflux can cause pre-cancerous changes in the cells, a phenomenon called “Barrett’s esophagus”. This phenomenon does not cause any symptoms, but your doctor can make a diagnosis by performing the endoscopy.
A small proportion of people suffering from Barrett’s esophagus are possible to be developed into the esophageal cancer and fatal at last.

“If you have the heartburn more than twice a week during long time, the symptoms become more or more severe, or these symptoms appear new ones that never seen before, you should go to the doctor as soon as possible,” advises Dr. Sheth

Esophageal Cancer

In severe cases of untreated, GERD (and its subsequent evidence is of Barrett’s esophagus) can lead to the esophageal cancer. In 2010, there was 16.640 cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed in the United States. The main risky factors include smoking, alcohol, poor diet, and chronic reflux disease.

Symptoms include weight loss, dysphagia, or gastrointestinal bleeding, said Dr. Sheth. “It is a disease that occurs after many decades of damages from reflux, so if new patients are at 30 years old and still healthy then maybe we will not consider the possibility of cancer,” said Dr. Sheth . “But if you are over 50 years old and had the heartburn for many years, now get a sudden weight loss, then we’ll definitely want to check out the test”.

Reducing quality of life

Besides the health risks, GERD symptoms can affect the happiness of a person.

In a German study conducted in 2003 on 6,000 patients with GERD, most of them agreed that their quality of life were reduced due to problems in eating, sleeping, as well as the social and health limits. (There’s also the financial impact by buying expensive medications too much for treating heartburn).

Quality of life of patients with GERD is quite similar to that of the heartattracked patients, and in some cases lower than of cancer and diabete patients.

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