Advanced Endoscopy Center
Gastroenterology located in St. Louis, MO
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes pain and discomfort in 20% of all adults. Without treatment, GERD puts you at risk for serious complications. The team at Advanced Endoscopy Center determines the severity of your GERD and provides customized treatment that stops your pain and prevents damage to your esophagus. Don’t wait to get relief from GERD. Call the office in St. Louis, Missouri, or book an appointment online today.
GERD Q & A
What causes GERD?
GERD occurs when the contents of your stomach, including strong stomach acid, come out of the stomach and go up into your esophagus. This problem develops when a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weakens.
The LES normally opens to let the things you swallow enter your stomach. Then it closes to keep everything inside your stomach. When the LES doesn’t work properly, you end up with acid reflux.
Acid reflux is a common problem that affects nearly everyone at one time in their life. However, acid reflux turns into GERD when you have reflux and heartburn at least twice a week.
What symptoms develop if I have GERD?
The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, which causes a burning, painful sensation in the center of your chest.
In addition to heartburn, you may experience:
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Dental erosion
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bitter taste in your mouth
- Feeling like something is caught in your throat
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get treatment. The longer GERD goes untreated, the more likely you are to sustain damage to your esophagus.
Damage caused by GERD leads to scar tissue, which narrows and blocks the esophagus. It can also cause precancerous changes in your esophagus, a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
How is GERD treated?
After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, and examining your throat, your provider may need to do additional testing. For example, they may do an upper GI endoscopy to examine the tissues or esophageal manometry to see how well the LES is working.
GERD treatment includes one or more of the following:
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.
The first line of treatment includes antacids and proton-pump inhibitors. You may get enough relief from over-the-counter products, or your provider may need to prescribe a stronger dose.
If lifestyle changes and medications don’t improve your GERD, then you may need an endoscopic procedure. Endoscopies are minimally invasive procedures performed by gently inserting a narrow scope down your throat and esophagus.
Several endoscopic treatments are available to strengthen or repair the LES. Your provider recommends the best one for you.
If you have ongoing symptoms of GERD, schedule an appointment today. Call Advanced Endoscopy Center or use online booking.