Patient Story - Life with GERD
Life with GERD
A patient living with esophagitis (erosive GERD) describes how the symptoms affect his daily life:
I am 40 years old, and I have had episodes of heartburn for many years. Heartburn comes and goes, and sometimes I can avoid heartburn by avoiding certain foods or drinks that trigger the pain. I was diagnosed with esophagitis after my doctor sent me to a specialist for an endoscopy.
Often, I feel that content from my tummy comes up into my throat, and the pain gets very intense. My doctor calls this regurgitation. I am almost choking sometimes. Even though I know I have esophagitis due to reflux disease, it is scary to feel pressure on my chest. I cannot stop thinking – is this a heart attack? Should I call my doctor or go to the hospital?
Trying to get a good night’s sleep is difficult as I constantly am disturbed by heartburn. The next day, I feel irritated, angry, and too tired to do a good day’s work. Nowadays, my family knows when to keep out of my way. Over the years, I have tried various medicines, but I still have disturbing symptoms, especially during the evening and night. Antacids help a little. I don’t like to complain, but this disease affects the way I live my life and limits my social life. I no longer appreciate activities like going to the cinema, visiting a restaurant or having a nice picnic in the park. Eating in public is more of a pressure than a pleasure for me. This isolates me step by step and I think it is difficult to keep in touch with friends. The feeling of limitation is hard to bear.
The image above is a generic image chosen to illustrate the symptoms. It is not a picture of the patient telling their story.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is often presented based on repeated episodes of symptoms like a “burning sensation rising from the epigastrium up toward the neck”. It is a common disease in all ages with a higher prevalence by increasing age. Currently available therapy is effective but leaves more than half of the treated population unsatisfied.