GERD, or gastroesphogeal reflux disease, is very common amongst EDS sufferers. It is estimated here at 55%. It can commonly co-occur with a hiatal hernia, which increases the severity of symptoms. It is thought that laxity in connective tissues, and in structures such as valves, leads to acid from the stomach making its way into the oesophagus. GERD is treated the same way as it is for non-EDS patients, namely using high doses of PPIs, and H2 agonist antihistamines, as well as OTC reflux meds. Other non-medication treatments, such as raising the head of the bed, are also recommended.
I have had problems with GERD, and associated gastritis, for many years now. So far, the meds have not provided too much relief. But I’m trying different combinations and dosages so maybe one day soon it won’t be a constant pain. Although it’s become more of a problem in recent years, it’s actually something I’ve had my whole life. Again, it’s one of those symptoms that provoke the reaction of ‘wait, that’s NOT normal?’ from fellow EDSers. Many of us grow up with symptoms of GERD and as children often find novel ways of describing them eg ‘vomiting in my mouth’, ‘swallowing vomit’ etc. Many of us had it since birth and were prescribed infant Gaviscon to mix with our formula or breastmilk. Often it takes the form of ‘silent reflux’ and causes problems that we don’t realise are caused by acid eg chronic cough, constant post nasal drip, nausea.
So, the theory is, treating the GERD will improve our quality of life immensely. So far, that hasn’t happened for me, but fingers crossed my new med combo will help.
[image of a dark red background, with the words ‘G is for GERD’ in black.]