About 20% of Americans have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition characterized by stomach acid flowing backward into the esophagus. At The Gastroenterology Group, the expert providers offer complete care for GERD. If you’re tired of experiencing heartburn, make an appointment today by calling the office in Akron, Ohio, or clicking the online booking feature.
GERD is an irritating digestive condition that causes chronic heartburn. It occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes or weakens, allowing stomach acid to flow backward into your esophagus.
Almost everyone experiences occasional heartburn. But if you have heartburn more than twice a week and it doesn’t respond to at-home treatments, don’t delay seeking professional medical help.
Symptoms of GERD include:
As the condition gets worse, you might also experience respiratory symptoms, like wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
GERD affects people of all backgrounds, but several things increase your risk, including:
Your diet can also put you at risk of developing GERD. For example, if you eat fatty or fried foods, you’re more likely to experience chronic heartburn.
Your provider reviews your medical records and asks about your symptoms to diagnose GERD. They’ll need to know when your symptoms started and if certain activities, like lying down after eating or drinking alcohol, make them worse.
Next, your provider completes a physical exam and may order an upper endoscopy. An upper endoscopy is done under an anesthetic. Once you fall asleep, your provider carefully inserts an endoscope through your mouth and into your esophagus and stomach. An endoscope is a thin tube with a bright light and a high-definition camera on its end.
The endoscope allows your provider to look for areas of inflammation and other abnormalities. They can even take a biopsy. If your provider determines that you have GERD, they make treatment recommendations.
Treatment of GERD typically includes a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication. For example, avoiding certain foods and drinks, like onions, garlic, and alcohol, could significantly reduce flare-ups. Your provider might also recommend medications to reduce acid production or help heal your esophagus.
If your symptoms worsen, surgery might be necessary even after making lifestyle changes and taking medication. Several minimally invasive procedures can be used to repair your lower esophageal sphincter, the natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This provides long-term GERD relief.
To explore the various available treatments for GERD, make an appointment at The Gastroenterology Group by calling the office today or clicking the online booking feature.