Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a term used to describe the result of the common experience of acid reflux in an individual.
Acid reflux refers to a single occurrence or instance of acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus, described as heartburn.
Someone is usually diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux happens in mild cases one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux occurs at least twice a week. GERD can occur at any age, but it typically begins around age 40. If left untreated, patients can eventually develop a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. If you think you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, we encourage you to visit a gastroenterologist at a GI Alliance location near you.
What causes GERD?
When you swallow food, it passes through the esophagus and past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the stomach. When the LES becomes compromised, it can weaken and allow stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. In most cases, there is not a single cause that leads to this happening often, but you are more likely to have or develop GERD if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm)
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Eat large meals late at night
- Eat spicy foods
- Eat raw onion or garlic
- Lie down often after eating
- Drink coffee
What are the major symptoms of GERD?
The major symptoms of GERD are similar to acid reflux but may occur more frequently. Those symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic cough
- Disrupted sleep
You should make an appointment with a gastroenterologist at GI Alliance today if you experience any of these symptoms frequently and are in pain, or if you take over-the-counter-heartburn medication more than twice a week.
What are the available treatments for GERD?
Treating gastroesophageal reflux disease may include lifestyle changes, medical intervention, or both. Treatments to prevent or relieve GERD include:
- Avoid foods and beverages prone to cause acid reflux (see those mentioned above)
- Eat slowly and in moderation
- Stay awake and stand up after eating
- Do not eat within a minimum of two hours before going to bed
- Sleep on an incline with the head raised above the feet
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight (if overweight)
- Tell your gastroenterologist about current medications you are taking
- Limit coffee/caffeine intake
- Over-the-counter antacids
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- Medication to strengthen the LES
- Fundoplication (surgery wrapping the stomach around the LES)
- LINX device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
Find relief from GERD.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common condition impacting the lives of millions of people. With proper care, however, it can be well-managed and its uncomfortable symptoms can be relieved. If you or a loved one suffers from GERD, our physician-led network of gastroenterology specialists is here to help. Please contact a GI Alliance office in your community to schedule a treatment consultation.
I am a 67.yr old woman with a lot of gastroesophageal problems. Dr Brennan saw me for the first time the other day. I was thoroughly impressed with my experience with Dr. Brennan. He's already ordered an EGD, changed my medication. He is very through. He appeared to care about me the person. I think I'm going to enjoy this relationship. We can deal with the GERDS when we go in for the dilation. I look forward to having Dr Brennan as my doctor for rest of my life . His staff is also very courteous, kind, and professional. Thank you
I had seen Dr Honan for years then moved to Goodyear. Recently started having gerd issues again and even though his practice is now in SCOTTSDALE I didn't hesitate to call him and he got me right. He took excellent care of me and I am forever grateful. Best dr ever.
Dr. Patel listened very attentively to my medical history and my present issues. He then explained , in plain language, the options I had along with his recommendations. I felt very comfortable with the mutually agreed to path forward. He is very friendly and an excellent listener.
Superb treatment and care from Dr Faruqi and his staff!
Dr. Kumaravel is very friendly, thorough and professional on my initial visit. She worked out a plan for me to help severe heartburn and GERD.