Every year during the week of Thanksgiving, we recognize National GERD Awareness Week. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not function correctly to keep stomach contents from refluxing up into the esophagus. Patients with GERD will then classically experience symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation, but may also have less common symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, chest or upper abdominal pain, chronic cough, and hoarseness.
Many Americans experience GERD symptoms on a regular basis. In fact, anywhere from 20-40% of Americans experience heartburn on a weekly or monthly basis. In many cases, these symptoms are effectively controlled with dietary changes such as avoiding foods associated with GERD, such as acidic food and drinks, coffee, chocolate, and high fat meals. Beyond this, medications such as antacids like Tums or acid-suppressing medications like histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors will control more severe symptoms.Dr. Michael Antiporda, General Surgeon
But when dietary changes and/or medication are inadequate, then anti-reflux surgery may be an excellent option that can restore a patient’s quality of life and allow him or her to enjoy eating the foods they used to enjoy without suffering troublesome heartburn or regurgitation.
It is important to treat GERD effectively to prevent long-term damage to the esophagus. We recommend that patients talk to their primary care provider, gastroenterologist, or foregut surgeon if they have had troublesome reflux symptoms for many years, do not have adequate control of symptoms with medications, have had changes or worsening of symptoms, or have had symptoms bad enough to require medications more than twice per week.
References and Suggested Reading:
Gyawali CP, Kahrilas PJ, Savarino E, Zerbib F, Mion F, Smout AJPM, Vaezi M, Sifrim D, Fox MR, Vela MF, Tutuian R, Tack J, Bredenoord AJ, Pandolfino J, Roman S. Modern diagnosis of GERD: the Lyon Consensus. Gut. 2018 Jul;67(7):1351-1362. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-314722. Epub 2018 Feb 3. PMID: 29437910; PMCID: PMC6031267.
Slater BJ, Dirks RC, McKinley SK, Ansari MT, Kohn GP, Thosani N, Qumseya B, Billmeier S, Daly S, Crawford C, P Ehlers A, Hollands C, Palazzo F, Rodriguez N, Train A, Wassenaar E, Walsh D, Pryor AD, Stefanidis D. SAGES guidelines for the surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Surg Endosc. 2021 Sep;35(9):4903-4917. doi: 10.1007/s00464-021-08625-5. Epub 2021 Jul 19. PMID: 34279710. https://www.sages.org/publications/guidelines/guidelines-for-the-surgical-treatment-of-gastroesophageal-reflux-gerd/
Dr. Michael Antiporda is a foregut surgeon with Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville, TN. He is based at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. His expertise and training comprises medical and surgical treatment of both benign and malignant conditions of the stomach and esophagus. He has published multiple papers and presented at numerous national conferences on surgery for GERD and hiatal hernia. He is proud to have learned from and trained with some of the best known surgeons in his field. To request an appointment with Dr. Antiporda, call (865) 524-3695 or click the link below: