Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GERD?
* Stomach pain (pain in the upper abdomen)
* Non-burning chest pain
* Difficulty swallowing (called dysphagia [dis-fay-jya]), or food getting stuck
* Painful swallowing (called odynophagia [oh-dine-oh-fay-jya])
* Persistent laryngitis/hoarseness
* Persistent sore throat
* Chronic cough, new onset asthma, or asthma only at night
* Regurgitation of foods/fluids; taste of acid in the throat
* Sense of a lump in the throat
* Worsening dental disease
* Recurrent pneumonia
* Chronic sinusitis
* Waking up with a choking sensation
Symptoms that should always be brought to your doctor's attention are:
* Food getting stuck in your esophagus
* Unexplained weight loss
* Chest pain
* Choking and bleeding (you might notice dark stools)
WHAT IS GERD?
The diaphragm is a muscle that keeps the stomach in the abdomen and out of the chest. The diaphragm has an opening through which the esophagus passes just before it empties into the stomach. This opening is called a hiatus. Weakness of the diaphragm around this opening may lead to a hiatal hernia. The presence of a hiatal hernia makes reflux more likely either due to an increased pressure in the abdomen (from coughing, bending, or too much food in the stomach) or by gravity (lying down too soon after a meal).
HOW IS GERD TREATED?
GERD symptoms can be controlled by antacid medications taken daily or by undergoing a common and often curative surgery called a Nissen Fundoplication. After a complete evaluation, you and your physician can discuss the best treatment option for you.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a condition in the esophagus and stomach caused by issues in the esophageal sphincter. With normal people, the valve between the esophagus and stomach tightens and closes to prevent acidity and food from rising up into the esophagus. In people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, the valve does not close properly and allows acid to come back up into the esophagus. When this occurs, people experience the digestive symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease such as persistent heartburn, regurgitation, painful swallowing, nausea and a burning chest sensation. Though gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disease in and of itself, it can unfortunately cause other diseases and symptoms for people who have it, such as asthma, persistent cough, sinus problems, tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion, and persistent throat clearing. Over the long term, bad cases of gastroesophageal reflux disease can even lead to metaplasia, which has the potential to turn cancerous.
Since gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to so many negative side effects, it is very important that patients suffering from symptoms seek medical diagnosis and help right away. At the Beverly Hills Comprehensive Weight Loss Clinic, our top notch team of caring nutritionists and gastrointestinal specialist physicians and surgeons have helped diagnose and treat many patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease. Mild gastroesophageal reflux disease can be controlled by making diet changes. For many patients, dietary changes are enough to get a handle on their gastroesophageal reflux disease and provides tremendous relief from the symptoms they are experiencing. For patients experiencing severe gastroesophageal reflux disease, surgery is a more aggressive approach that can provide the relief you are looking for.