Posts for tag: GERD
Occasional feelings of heartburn are normal, but if you suffer from heartburn frequently, your heartburn could actually be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD. Your gastroenterologist can help you get relief.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease often starts out as gastric reflux. Gastric reflux is caused by the sphincter muscle between your stomach and esophagus not closing properly. The incomplete closure of the muscle allows stomach acid to back up into your esophagus, causing the burning sensation known as heartburn.
Acid reflux can grow worse over time, developing into a chronic condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, GERD affects over 60 million people in this country. Signs and symptoms of GERD include:
- Chronic throat pain
- A sour taste and bad breath
- Chronic coughing and wheezing
- Eroding tooth enamel which causes sensitive teeth
- Chronic chest pain, nausea, and vomiting
You can do a lot to help manage GERD if you:
- Eat smaller meals
- Stop smoking and using tobacco products
- Don’t eat before going to bed or lying down
- Avoid eating spicy or acidic foods
- Take over-the-counter antacids
If you are suffering moderate to severe signs and symptoms of GERD, it’s best to visit your gastroenterologist for treatment. GERD is typically diagnosed with an endoscopy. The endoscopy can help identify irritated, inflamed, or ulcerated tissue due to GERD. Your gastroenterologist can prescribe medication to reduce stomach acid, soothe esophageal irritation, and heal ulcerated tissue.
Untreated GERD can lead to serious medical conditions, including:
- Esophageal inflammation, which results in swelling of your esophagus and difficulty swallowing
- Esophageal ulcers, which results in nausea, chest pain, and problems swallowing
- Esophageal narrowing and scarring, which results in problems swallowing
- Esophageal cancer
You don’t have to suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of GERD when relief is just a phone call away. To find out more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of GERD, call your gastroenterologist today.
Wondering if you could have GERD?
Are you living with acid reflux? If you deal with this problem rather frequently, you could have a chronic condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It’s more common than you know, and you could have it. Here’s what you should know about GERD,
What is GERD?
Every time you swallow food, your stomach produces acid to aid digestion. In a healthy gastrointestinal system, a valve in the esophagus opens to allow food and acid to pass from the esophagus to your gut. In those with GERD, the valve that allows food to pass through it may not close fully or open far too often, which can cause these acids to travel back up into the esophagus. If this happens regularly, the lining of the esophagus can become irritated and even damaged.
What Are the Symptoms?
While everyone will probably experience heartburn at some point, you will likely deal with chronic or persistent heartburn if you have GERD. Everybody is different when it comes to their symptoms. Besides heartburn and acid reflux, which are the two main symptoms of GERD, other symptoms include,
- Sore throat
- Problems swallowing
- Gum inflammation
- Throat irritation
- Chronic bad breath
- A bitter taste in the mouth
When Should I See a Gastroenterologist?
It isn’t always easy to know when to visit a gastroenterologist for an evaluation. Of course, if you’ve been dealing with heartburn that occurs twice or more during the week, if your heartburn is only getting worse, if you have trouble swallowing or if heartburn wakes you up at night, then it’s essential that you get your symptoms checked out.
How is GERD Treated?
The goal of treatment is to reduce and even eliminate your symptoms while also helping give the esophagus a chance to heal itself. There will be specific lifestyle changes you will need to make to improve your symptoms, such as,
- Avoiding or limiting spicy, fatty, fried and acidic foods
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol
- Losing weight if obesity or being overweight is a factor
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals
- Not eating about two to three hours before bed
- Not lying down immediately after eating
- Avoiding shirts or belts that are too tight or put too much pressure around the middle
Certain medications will also be prescribed to help you manage your symptoms better and to help repair the damage done to the esophagus. Surgery may be recommended if you’ve tried all other non-surgical options, but nothing has managed your GERD.
Don’t ignore your acid reflux, especially if you’re dealing with it twice a week. If so, you owe it to yourself to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist to find out if you could be dealing with GERD.
Whenever you eat spicy foods do you know that you’ll be suffering for it shortly after? Do you find that heartburn keeps you up at night or makes it impossible to enjoy a lot of your favorite foods? Do you suffer from heartburn symptoms more often than not? If so then you may be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder in which food and stomach acid travel back into the esophagus. Over time the stomach’s acidity can wear away at the lining of the esophagus and cause irritation.
Someone with GERD will not only experience heartburn on a regular basis but also may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Since the acid continues to travel back through the esophagus this can lead to persistent or recurring sore throats, as well as a dry cough or changes in your voice (e.g. hoarseness). You may even feel some of your food (as well as the stomach acid) travel back up through your throat.
If you find yourself taking a heartburn medication more than twice a week or if your symptoms are severe then this is the perfect time to turn to a GI doctor who can find a better way to manage your symptoms. If over-the-counter remedies aren’t cutting it then a gastroenterologist will prescribe a stronger medication. Some medications work by reducing acid production while other medications prevent acid production altogether to give the esophagus time to heal.
While most people find that their GERD symptoms can be properly controlled with over-the-counter or prescription medications, there are some people who still don’t find the relief they want or those who don’t want to use medications for the rest of their lives. If this is the case, there are also certain surgical procedures that can be recommended to help improve how the lower esophageal sphincter functions to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
Of course, there are some simple lifestyle modifications that can also help. Besides maintaining a healthy weight, it’s important to avoid certain foods that can trigger your symptoms (e.g. caffeine; alcohol; chocolate). When you do eat try to eat smaller meals and avoid eating right before bedtime. If you are a smoker, you will want to strongly consider quitting.
If you have questions about GERD and managing your heartburn symptoms then it’s time you turned to a gastroenterologist who can diagnose you with this digestive disease and then create a tailored treatment plan to help make mealtimes less painful.