What is acid reflux (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a chronic digestive disease. When the ring of muscles, called the lower esophageal sphincter, weaken over time, the valve may not close all the way or open too frequently, allowing acid to reflux into the esophagus. Individuals can also develop hiatal hernias, which can cause chronic inflammation and pain in the esophagus.
If left untreated, GERD could result in serious problems such as esophagitis, esophageal bleeding, ulcers, Barrett’s esophagus, and increased risk of esophageal cancer.
Symptoms of GERD
- Heartburn: the burning pain or discomfort in your abdomen and/or chest
- Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
- Sour or bitter taste in mouth
Treatment Options for GERD
Treatment options can range from lifestyle changes to surgery or a combination of treatments. Medications can be used to treat GERD symptoms; however, some patients may not respond well to medication, especially if they must take them for an extended period of time. Certain medications can also have side effects such as osteoporosis, weakening of bones, and colon infections. If you are taking medication for GERD, it’s important to discuss these side effects with your doctor.
Lifestyle Changes may include:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
- Avoid food at least 2 to 3 hours before bed
- Avoid tight clothing and belts
- Quit smoking
- Lose excess weight
- Nissen Fundoplication
- LINX procedure
In some cases, patients taking medication are not getting symptom relief and may even experience unwanted side effects. Surgical options can provide a safe, effective, and long-term treatment for GERD.