GERD Awareness Week
November 20th marks the beginning of GERD Awareness Week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects up to 40 percent of American adults. Here’s what the physicians of Premier Surgical Associates would like you to know about this common condition.
What is GERD?
GERD is a condition where stomach acid consistently flows back into the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. This backflow irritates your esophagus’s lining and causes the symptoms associated with GERD.
Usually, when you swallow, there’s a valve between the esophagus and stomach that prevents the contents of your stomach from going back into the esophagus. However, in individuals with GERD, this valve doesn’t function properly.
What are the Symptoms of GERD?
There are several symptoms associated with GERD:
• Pain or discomfort in the chest region
• Discomfort when you lie down to sleep
• Chronic cough
• Frequent swallowing and throat clearing
• Asthma-like symptoms
• The erosion of gums, teeth, and other oral structures
Treatments for GERD
Individuals with GERD have multiple treatment options to alleviate their symptoms and enhance their quality of life.
Changing your lifestyle can reduce or eliminate some cases of GERD. Limiting foods that trigger your reflux can alleviate the severity of your symptoms.
If you’re not sure what symptoms trigger your GERD, keep a food diary. Common culprits include:
• Spicy food
• Carbonated beverages
• Fried foods
Avoid lying down for two hours after you eat or drink, and use a pillow to keep your upper body elevated while you sleep.
There are prescription and non-prescription medications that are designed to reduce discomfort caused by GERD. Some medications focus on preventing symptoms; these medications are usually taken daily. Other medications aim to treat problematic symptoms caused by GERD and are taken as needed.
For people with long-term GERD, eventually medication may no longer help control your discomfort and symptoms. That’s when surgical treatment may be recommended.
Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure where the top of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus. This makes the lower esophageal sphincter stronger, preventing acid backup that causes GERD symptoms.
LINX Reflux Management System
The LINX Reflux Management System is a new, effective option for treating GERD. It uses a small bracelet made of magnetic titanium beads; this bracelet is placed around the lower esophageal sphincter so that it functions correctly.
Find relief at Premier Surgical Associates
At Premier Surgical Associates, our expert surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of gastrointestinal conditions like GERD. We can evaluate your symptoms, identify the underlying cause, and recommend the most appropriate long term treatment for you.