Do you really think that a normal cough may already mean that you have GERD? Here is a simple explanation on how GERD occurs.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is the medical term used to indicate the occurrence of acid reflux or heartburn. The normal routine of the circular muscles on your esophagus is to open when food is going from the mouth into the stomach and closes afterwards to prevent the digestive fluids from splashing back into your esophagus. However, there are times wherein the muscles do not completely close because of the changes on stomach pressure that is often caused by food or medications that you take. This is the reason why heartburn or GERD occurs.
Actually, GERD cough is one of the symptoms of GERD though it is not as obvious as the other symptoms. There are some people who instantly cough due to certain factors. This is the reason why it is really hard to know if you have GERD just by considering cough as a symptom. One of the common symptoms of this disease is heartburn, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing and sour taste in the mouth. Wheezing and coughing is also a symptom but you can only determine them once the other obvious symptoms already appeared.
So how does GERD cause cough? Stomach acids can trigger cough especially when it is pushed up on your esophagus. Actually, a small amount of stomach acid from the stomach can already cause cough. Too much stomach acid can also cause cough by spilling on the lungs. There are also cases wherein there is only little stomach acid and more bile but it can still cause coughing.
If the only symptom that you are experiencing is cough, do not simply go into conclusion that it is already GERD. Diagnosis will be difficult if you are only suffering from cough. Doctors will surely check everything to find out the real cause of the cough. If it is associated with GERD, the cough will only end once the disease is controlled. Any kind of medicine for cough or cold will not provide any relief if the cough is really associated with GERD. The best solution for this is to take antacids to help neutralize excess stomach acids. You can also consider H2 blockers and Proton pump inhibitors. However, do not take these medications until you are diagnosed with GERD.
If GERD is left untreated, it may cause damage to the esophagus, can cause ulcers and you can be at greater risk of esophageal cancer.