What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus).” When this reflux of acid and bile happens repeatedly and causes heartburn, it is diagnosed as GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease).
What are GERD Symptoms?
The most common GERD symptoms are acid reflux and heartburn. Although these are the most common symptoms, GERD can present in other ways which do not initially seem like reflux. Your gastroenterologist or GERD specialist may consider other symptoms that could be a manifestation of GERD. Below are a few symptoms that may be caused by GERD:
- Acid Reflux – regurgitation of food or sour liquid
- Heartburn – a burning sensation in your chest
- Chest pain
- Problems with swallowing
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Sinus problems
- Sleep apnea
How is GERD Treated?
The goal in treating GERD is to eliminate the symptoms that cause it. Unfortunately, in many patients, GERD is a chronic relapsing disease. In these cases, long-term maintenance is the key to treatment. Your Gastroenterologist may advise lifestyle changes or medications to treat GERD based on each patient’s individual symptoms.
The most common lifestyle changes recommended for those patients suffering from GERD are:
- Change your diet to avoid foods that trigger heartburn
- Wait 2-3 hours after eating before lying down
- Elevate the head of your bed
- Don’t smoke
- Maintain a healthy weight
If the lifestyle changes don’t eliminate your symptoms then your Gastroenterologist may recommend certain medications. The most common medications used to treat GERD are H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors.
If you suffer from any of the GERD symptoms described above it is recommended that you consult a gastroenterologist. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenneth Brown at his Plano clinic click on the button below.