Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are common in Singapore, especially due to our love for spicy food and our irregular eating schedules on top of hectic work life. Because of our sedentary lifestyle, obesity is becoming a more prominent issue, and its effects can lead to heartburn, acid reflux and GERD. So, what does this trio refer to exactly, and how can you avoid them?
Do you experience heartburn from time to time? I’ve come across many patients who assume that just because they have heartburn, they have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Relax — that is not true. While heartburn is a symptom of GERD, it is not the only symptom, nor is it always necessary to experience heartburn to be diagnosed with GERD.
Acid reflux is a normal process where acidic content of the stomach flows up the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the upper stomach or chest. It is common for people —including myself— to experience acid reflux from time to time. However, frequent reflux can irritate the lining of the esophagus, giving rise to a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure to visually image the lining of your colon in order to examine it for any irregularities. Colonoscopies are usually carried out by general surgeons or Gastroenterologists. A long and soft tube with a camera & light known as a Colonoscope is carefully inserted via the anus, carrying a live image to a screen which allows the doctor to examine the colon, all the way to the exit of the small intestine.
A gastroscopy can help rule out or confirm the presence of conditions like stomach cancer, peptic ulcers or gastritis. In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is lowered down the throat to look inside the food pipe, stomach and first small of the small intestine. The endoscope has a camera and light at one end which captures and sends images of your insides to a monitor. It can also take tissue samples by latching instruments such as small pincers, as well as suck out air and fluids.