Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Utah
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition that results when a person experiences acid reflux on a regular basis. Acid reflux refers to the backflow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, causing the common symptom we know as heartburn.
A patient is often diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux is experienced in mild cases one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux occurs at least two times per week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease may present at any age, but it often presents at close to 40 years of age. If neglected, individuals have been known to later progress to a health concern called Barrett’s esophagus. If you are dealing with symptoms you believe are related to GERD, we urge you to see a gastroenterology specialist at Utah Gastroenterology in Utah as soon as possible.
What causes GERD?
The foods you eat, after they are chewed and swallowed, travel through the esophagus and past a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) before entering your stomach. Whenever the LES becomes compromised, it can lose strength and fail to prevent stomach acid from moving back into the esophagus. GERD is usually not brought about by any single factor; however, if you meet any of the following criteria, you may have an elevated risk of developing GERD:
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
- Being pregnant
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach extends through the diaphragm)
- Use of tobacco
- Consume raw onion or garlic
- Consume spicy foods
- Alcohol consumption
- Consume large meals late at night
- Being overweight
- Lie down often after eating
- Drink coffee
What are the major symptoms of GERD?
The primary symptoms associated with GERD are similar to those you may experience from acid reflux, but they occur more often. Those symptoms include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Poor-quality sleep
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Chest pain
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Persistent cough
You should book a meeting with a gastroenterologist at Utah Gastroenterology today if you suffer from any of these symptoms regularly or are in pain, or if you self-medicate with OTC heartburn medication more often than two times per week.
What are the available treatments for GERD?
Managing GERD could consist of lifestyle modifications, medical care, or both. Treatment options to prevent or reduce GERD can in Utah patients include:
- Tell your gastroenterologist about current medications you take
- Eat slowly and in moderation
- Sleep on an incline
- Non-prescription antacids
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction where the esophagus and stomach meet)
- Fundoplication (surgical procedure performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- Avoid tobacco use
- Do not eat foods and beverages prone to cause acid reflux (see those listed above)
- Minimize caffeine/coffee consumption
- Lose excess weight
- Stay awake and stand up after eating
- Do not eat at least two hours prior to going to bed
- Medication to strengthen the LES
How do acid reflux and GERD differ?
The difference between the conditions of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease may seem a bit confusing. But GERD is merely acid reflux that occurs multiple times a week for a prolonged amount of time. If you have heartburn daily or multiple times within the week, or your symptoms will not subside with over-the-counter medications, it could be due to GERD.
Are there any foods I should avoid if I have GERD?
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may be advised to avoid food that promotes the production of stomach acid. Examples include:
- Salty or peppery foods
- Sugary foods
- Spicy foods
- High-fat foods
- Beverages high in caffeine
- Red meat
- Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits
Our Utah Gastroenterology team can provide additional information on other foods to avoid if you are affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Can GERD shorten your lifespan?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is generally not life-threatening. It may make performing daily tasks uncomfortable from time to time, but you should be able to find relief with treatment. If left untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease could lead to more severe GI issues. Examples include esophagitis (irritation of the lining of the esophagus) and Barrett’s esophagus, which damages the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach). Receiving the care needed for this condition can help protect your overall health and wellness.
How long might it take for GERD to improve after beginning treatment?
The time it takes for GERD to improve may vary according to a few factors. These include the type of medication you’re taking, the extent of damage caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, and whether you avoid consuming foods that elicit symptoms. With the proper treatment, however, GERD symptoms should begin to subside as time progresses. Even though you may not be able to eliminate gastroesophageal reflux disease completely, you can most likely manage its effects successfully.
Find relief From GERD
GERD is a troublesome condition for millions of individuals across the world. With proper treatment, however, the condition can be handled and its distressing symptoms minimized. If you or someone you know is dealing with GERD, the experienced team of GI specialists at Utah Gastroenterology is ready to help. Please book a visit at our facility to receive treatment for GERD in Utah.
Dr. Chaya Krishnamurthy, M.D has been excellent she is a wonderful DR that you feel very comfortable with she explains everything so that we can understand and tell you how Serious the situation yes without leaving you with any hope she tell you step by step on what to do and still asks about my family do that they don’t end up in the same situation she is completely amazing
Dr Bridge is a very down to earth provider. His bedside manner is unparalleled. He listens and is very respectful and informative. It's nice having discussions about health care options with a knowledgeable expert and that is what you get when you visit Dr Bridge.
Easy access, great parking. Very professional, they are very interested in helping you , great Doctor and staff
Even after a night of little sleep (Dr Jeung’s family has a newborn), he was so attentive and helpful in listening to the problem of GERD and its possible role in a breathing problem. He explained the disorder and outlined a plan to resolve it. He was caring and brought clarity. Thank you!
Dr. Pedersen is very caring and knowledgeable. Overall, I had a really good experience. If I could give him and his office 100/10 I would!