Patient Story - Life with GERD
Life with GERD
A patient living with esophagitis 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 in cycles, 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. Nowadays I don't 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 “burning sensation rising from the epigastrium up toward the neck”. It is a common disease in all ages with a higher prevalence by age. Current available therapy is effective but leaves more than half of the treated population unsatisfied.