Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Arizona
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, sometimes referred to as GERD, is the term to illustrate what we see as the consequence of the common experience of acid reflux. Acid reflux refers to a single episode or experience of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, described as heartburn.
An individual is usually diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux occurs in mild cases one or fewer times per week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux is experienced at minimum twice a week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is known to present at any time in life, but it usually develops close to 40 years of age. When neglected, it has been known to eventually progress to a health concern referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. Should you think that you may be be suffering with GERD, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist at Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ as soon as possible.
What causes GERD?
Whenever we ingest food, it progresses through the esophagus and beyond the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to then enter the stomach. When the LES is compromised, it can weaken and fail to stop stomach acid from moving back into the esophagus. Usually, there is not an individual reason that this happens repeatedly, still a person is at greater risk of having or developing GERD should you meet any of these criteria:
- Eat large meals late at night
- Being overweight
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm)
- Alcohol consumption
- Use of tobacco
- Eat raw onion or garlic
- Coffee consumption
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
- Consume spicy foods
- Lie down often after eating
What are the major symptoms of GERD?
The primary signs of GERD are similar to acid reflux but may occur more frequently. Those symptoms may include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Disrupted sleep
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Long-term cough
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
We encourage you to schedule a meeting with a GI doctor at Arizona Digestive Health as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms regularly or are in pain, or if you take over-the-counter heartburn medication more often than twice within a week.
What are the available treatments for GERD?
Managing GERD might consist of lifestyle changes, medical intervention, or a combination of both. Treatment approaches to prevent or reduce GERD can in Phoenix, AZ patients include:
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
- Sleep on an incline
- Tell your GI specialist about any medications you are taking
- Eat slowly and in moderation
- Non-prescription antacids
- Fundoplication (surgical procedure performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- Avoid smoking
- Lose excess weight
- Do not eat at least two hours before bedtime
- Minimize caffeine/coffee intake
- Do not consume foods and drinks likely to cause acid reflux (see the list above)
- Medication to strengthen the LES
- Remain awake and stand up after eating
How can I tell if I have GERD or acid reflux?
The primary differences between acid reflux and GERD can be perplexing. GERD is merely acid reflux that persists multiple times a week for a longer period of time. If you suffer heartburn or additional symptoms either daily or more than once throughout the week, or you have symptoms that aren't alleviated with OTC medications, you may be experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What foods should I stay away from if I have gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Food that heightens the accumulation of acid in the stomach should possibly be avoided if you experience GERD. Some of these foods include:
- Citrus fruits
- Sugary foods
- Beverages high in caffeine
- Foods containing salt and pepper
- Foods high in fat
- Red meat
- Spicy foods
Our Arizona Digestive Health gastroenterologists can provide more information on the foods to avoid if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Is GERD life-threatening?
GERD is generally not considered life-threatening. It can make daily tasks harder at times, but you should be able to find relief with proper treatment. If left untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease could lead to other GI conditions. Some of these conditions involve esophagitis (inflammation of the lining of the esophagus) and Barrett’s esophagus, a disease that can damage the esophagus (the structure that joins your mouth to your stomach). Undergoing the treatment required to manage this disease can help preserve your health.
How long can it take for GERD to resolve after beginning treatment?
Several factors impact how long it may take to feel better when you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. These can include the form of medication you are taking, the amount of damage that has occurred from GERD, and if you maintain a diet free of the foods that exacerbate symptoms. However, with treatment, you will likely see your GERD symptoms lessen over time. Even though you might not be able to resolve gastroesophageal reflux disease completely, you should be able to find relief from its effects.
Find relief from GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an extremely common problem affecting the day-to-day lives of many people. With professional treatment, however, it can be treated and its distressing symptoms alleviated. If you or a loved one lives with GERD, the physician-led network of gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health is ready to help. We urge you to book a visit at our office to find treatment for GERD in Phoenix, AZ.
Dr. Ratuapli is a great doctor. I have had stomach issues for years. I was just brushed off by other physicians it was gerd, acid reflux or my gallbladder which was none of my cases losing a gallbladder out all the misdiagnoses. I found Dr. Ratuapli he found what was going on with my stomach issues having properly diagnosed I feel better. He is a very humble man taking his time to listen. I would recommend him to my family & friends.
Dr. Verkhovsky listened to what concerned me, made recommendations and provided me with a sample of medication before sending a script to the pharmacy. Told me to call him if I needed further help. Explained to me how to protect my esophagus from damage caused by gerd. Dr.V cares about his patient’s health.
Dr Saperstein helped me get free from GERD. I had really bad acid reflux for years. I recommend him for any digestive problems. Very freindly staff.
I have GERD and other complications for about 58 years. Dr. Michael F. Foley has been my gastroenterologist for the last three years. He is very good, compassionate, he knows very well his speciality and I am fine with his services. I truly recommend him. Thank you Dr. Foley.
I had seen Dr Honan for years then moved to Goodyear. Recently started having gerd issues again and even though his practice is now in SCOTTSDALE I didn't hesitate to call him and he got me right. He took excellent care of me and I am forever grateful. Best dr ever.