Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects an amazing 20% of American adults. Without treatment to keep GERD under control, they’re all at risk of serious and painful complications. The board-certified physicians at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates in Fairfax and Reston, Virginia, recommend scheduling an early evaluation so you can get customized treatment that stops your pain and prevents GERD from damaging your esophagus. Don’t wait to get relief from GERD. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.
GERD occurs when gastric acid comes out of your stomach and goes up into your esophagus. This problem happens when the muscle between the esophagus and stomach weakens.
This muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), opens to let food and beverages enter your stomach. Then it tightly closes to keep everything in your stomach, including gastric acid. When the LES is weak or damaged, it doesn’t work normally, and you end up with acid reflux.
Acid reflux turns into GERD when you have reflux at least twice a week and the problem doesn’t improve with over-the-counter antacids.
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. If you have heartburn, you experience a burning sensation and sometimes intense pain in the center of your chest.
You may also experience:
Without treatment, GERD can damage the lining of your esophagus. This leads to complications such as scar tissue, a narrowed esophagus, and precancerous changes called Barrett’s esophagus.
After learning about your symptoms and examining your throat, your provider at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates often does diagnostic testing to confirm your diagnosis. They may do an upper GI endoscopy (EGD), a pH probe test, or esophageal manometry.
GERD treatment includes:
You can prevent or reduce acid reflux by losing weight if needed, not lying down after eating, sleeping with your head elevated, and avoiding foods and beverages that trigger reflux.
Over-the-counter or prescription antacids and proton-pump inhibitors are the first lines of treatment for GERD. If your GERD doesn’t improve, you may need a minimally invasive procedure.
Several minimally invasive procedures are available to treat GERD, but most people get exceptional results with Stretta® Therapy. Your provider guides the Stretta endoscope through your mouth and down your esophagus to the LES.
The Stretta sends low-energy, low-temperature radiofrequency energy into the LES and the stomach, where it meets the muscle. The energy triggers changes in the tissues, thickening the muscles, increasing the amount of smooth muscle, and strengthening the LES.
As a result, the LES regains normal function and keeps gastric acid in the stomach. After treatment with Stretta, most people get GERD relief that lasts 4-10 years.
The sooner you get GERD treatment, the better it is for the health of your esophagus. To make an appointment, call Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates today.