Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD
Acid reflux, commonly associated with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), affects around 60 million American’s every month, and nearly 25 million people every day. Acid reflux is typically caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that allows stomach acid and bile to leak into the esophagus.
The LES is a muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. When the LES functions correctly it opens to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach, then closes to create a barrier between the esophagus and stomach acid. A weak LES will not close correctly and will allow stomach acid to wash back into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat, and cough.
When left untreated, GERD (or acid reflux) can lead to potentially serious complications, including:
- Esophagitis (Inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus)
- Stricture (Narrowing of the esophagus)
- Barrett’s Esophagus (Pre-cancerous changes to the esophagus)
- Esophageal Cancer
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
People experience symptoms of acid reflux in a variety of ways. The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. Other symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Clearing of the throat
- Tooth enamel decay
- Sleep disruption
treatment for gerd
There are a number of options available for the treatment of GERD. Each case is different, and based on the severity of your GERD your doctor may suggest a combination of the following:
• Lifestyle Changes
• Anti-reflux surgery: Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication
• Anti-reflux surgery: LINX Reflux Management System
• Anti-reflux surgery: Lap Nissen Fundoplication
We cover each of these treatment options in depth on our GERD Treatment page.