Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a painful, very common condition that causes heartburn and acid reflux. Many sufferers have tried multiple OTC medications to manage their symptoms to no avail. That’s why patients need experienced gastrointestinal specialists to evaluate their symptoms, identify triggers, and determine the right course of action. Let us help you take control of your GERD.

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FAQs on G.E.R.D:

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when contents in the stomach flow back into the esophagus. This happens when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus do not close properly.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

Common symptoms include:

  • Heartburn - A burning sensation felt behind the breast bone
  • Acid regurgitation - Sensation of stomach fluid coming up through the chest
  • Unexplained chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing

What causes GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when there is an imbalance between the normal defense mechanisms of the esophagus and offensive factors such as acid (and other digestive juices) in the stomach.

There are a number of known triggers, including:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol use
  • Coffee
  • Citrus drinks
  • Tomato-based products
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Fatty foods

How is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease diagnosed?

There are two ways a GI specialist can diagnose GERD, an upper endoscopy or pH testing. 

Upper Endoscopy

A test in which a small tube with a light at the end is used to examine the esophagus, stomach and the first portion of the small intestine. Before this test, you will receive medications to help you relax and lessen any discomfort you may feel. An upper endoscopy allows your doctor to see the lining of the esophagus and detect any evidence of damage due to GERD. A biopsy of tissue may be done using an instrument similar to tweezers. Obtaining a biopsy does not cause pain or discomfort.

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Can I Avoid Acid Reflux And Heartburn?

Reflux symptoms sometimes disappear if dietary or lifestyle excesses that cause the symptoms are reduced or eliminated. Propping up the head of the bed at night may be helpful. 

Avoiding these items may reduce your discomfort:

  • Coffee
  • Citrus drinks
  • Tomato-based products
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Fatty or spicy foods
  • Eating within three hours of bedtime
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Excess weight gain

How is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treated?

  • Over-the-counter antacids 
  • Histamine H2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Prokinetics
  • Fundoplication (GERD surgery)

How Do I Know If I Need Surgery?

Surgery should be considered in patients with well-documented reflux disease who cannot tolerate medications or continue to have regurgitation as a primary symptom. Ask your doctor or GI specialist if surgery is the right option for you. 

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms: 

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Internal bleeding in addition to heartburn/acid regurgitation
  • Regular use of OTC drugs to reduce heartburn/acid regurgitation

Symptoms that persist after you’ve made simple lifestyle changes also warrant a visit to your doctor.