Untreated GERD: Possible Complications 1

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation, inflammation, and discomfort. Common symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle weakens or relaxes abnormally, allowing stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus.

Complications of Untreated GERD

GERD is a progressive disease that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Over time, the continued exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid can cause significant damage and increase the risk of developing other health conditions. Find more details about the topic in this external resource. Gerd Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades, broaden your understanding of the subject.

Untreated GERD: Possible Complications 2

Esophagitis

Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus that can be caused by acid reflux. This condition can cause painful swallowing, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain. Untreated esophagitis can lead to further complications such as ulcers, strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the normal cells in the esophagus are replaced by abnormal cells, which can increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

Strictures

Untreated GERD can cause long-term narrowing of the esophagus, a condition called a stricture. This can make swallowing difficult and painful, leading to food becoming stuck in the esophagus. Esophageal dilation may be necessary to treat this condition.

Barrett’s Esophagus

As previously mentioned, long-term untreated GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which can further increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed through endoscopy and biopsy.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is a rare complication of GERD, but the risk increases significantly in those with untreated GERD. The symptoms of esophageal cancer include difficulty and pain with swallowing, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and hoarseness. Prompt treatment is essential in the case of esophageal cancer, including surgical intervention, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Conclusion

Untreated GERD can lead to a range of serious complications, from inflammation and irritation to esophageal cancer. If you’re experiencing symptoms of GERD, it’s essential to speak with your healthcare provider to develop a customized treatment plan and prevent complications. Complement your reading and expand your knowledge on the topic with this specially selected external content for you. https://geriatricacademy.com/shoulder-blade-pain-from-acid-reflux-or-gerd/, uncover new perspectives and additional information!

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