Many scleroderma patients suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where the digestive acid in the stomach comes up the esophagus causing a burning sensation often known as heartburn or acid indigestion.
While many healthy people suffer from acid reflux and experience mild discomfort, for scleroderma patients, GERD can become a chronic condition. The stomach acid can cause tooth decay, regurgitation, and difficulties swallowing. Long-term complications could also include cancer of the esophagus or esophageal ulceration.
Treatment of GERD for scleroderma patients includes lifestyles changes such as adapting their diet, quitting smoking, eating smaller meals and not lying down after meals. Over-the-counter indigestion medications can work for mild GERD or prescription medications that work by reducing stomach acid can be taken. Find out more about scleroderma-related GERD here.
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