About Gerd / Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid moves up into your esophagus. While many people experience occasional heartburn, experiencing frequent heartburn two or more times a week may be associated with GERD.
During swallowing, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. GERD occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD / Reflux
GERD can create numerous symptoms that vary patient-to-patient, with heartburn being one of the most common symptoms. Oftentimes, the symptoms are mild and treatable. Other symptoms of GERD include pressure or pain behind the breastbone, persistent dry cough, bitter sour taste of acid in the throat, hoarseness or sore throat, sensation of a lump in your throat, increase in saliva, a burning sensation in your chest or throat, difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of food or sour liquid.
Treatment of GERD / Reflux
It’s important that you seek treatment for GERD from a specially-trained gastroenterologist. There are many different treatments for GERD and they vary patient-to-patient. Over-the-counter remedies such as antacids may be suggested to control heartburn symptoms. In some cases, stronger prescription medication or even surgery may be prescribed. A simple lifestyle and diet change could be beneficial to ease symptoms as well. Some beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, or citrus juices can cause irritation and agitate GERD symptoms.
Did You Know?
- If left untreated, GERD can cause permanent damage and lead to cancer of the esophagus.
- Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of GERD symptom within a 12-month period.
- Approximately seven million people in the U.S. have some symptoms of GERD.
The Southeast Gastro team is here to help with your GERD diagnosis and treatment. If you think you be suffering from GERD please call us today or click here to request an appointment.