Reham El-Shaer, MD
Board Certified Gastroenterologist located in Kingston, NY
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common problem affecting around 20% of Americans. If you have persistent, painful acid reflux or heartburn, contact Reham El-Shaer, MD, and her team at Ulster Gastroenterology in Kingston, New York. They offer state-of-the-art, in-office diagnostic tests and personalized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms and restore your health. Call Ulster Gastroenterology today or schedule a consultation online if you have concerns about GERD.
GERD Q & A
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
GERD is a severe, chronic condition that occurs when the acidic contents of your stomach leak into your esophagus. The primary symptoms of GERD are heartburn and acid regurgitation. You may also have chest pain, be hoarse in the morning, or feel like food is stuck in your throat.
When untreated, GERD can contribute to several complications. It can cause esophagitis, esophageal strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition that alters the cells that line your esophagus.
What causes GERD?
GERD develops when weakness in the esophageal sphincter between your esophagus and stomach can’t keep your stomach contents in place. Factors that contribute to a weak esophageal sphincter and GERD include pressure on your abdomen, medications, and hiatal hernias.
Your diet can also increase your risk of GERD. Dairy products, fried foods, and spices can trigger GERD symptoms. Additionally, if you eat too quickly, don’t chew your food, or take bites that are too big, you increase your risk of GERD.
How is GERD diagnosed?
The Ulster Gastroenterology team provides thorough exams and diagnostic testing to identify GERD. Your provider begins by asking about your symptoms, diet, and medical history.
When necessary, your provider may suggest additional testing to confirm and evaluate your condition. You may need to have an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, esophageal pH monitoring, or esophageal manometry.
These tests evaluate your stomach, duodenum, and esophageal sphincter, as well as the lining of your upper gastrointestinal tract. The tests also measure your esophageal function and acid levels.
How is GERD treated?
In some cases, you can control GERD by adjusting your diet and the way you eat. Your provider might recommend an over-the-counter acid reducer. Depending on your needs, they may also suggest prescription medications, including:
- H-2 receptor blockers
- Proton pump inhibitors
In severe cases, your provider may suggest a surgical procedure to strengthen your esophageal sphincter.
The Ulster Gastroenterology team may recommend Nissen fundoplication or LINX® device implantation. Both surgeries add support to the sphincter to prevent acid reflux.
Call Ulster Gastroenterology today or make an appointment online if you have concerns about GERD and need medical help.