Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common, chronic digestive condition that causes heartburn and indigestion. GERD occurs when the contents of your stomach flow up into your esophagus. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve between the esophagus and stomach, fails to close properly.
What are the symptoms of GERD?
Heartburn and acid regurgitation are the most common symptoms of GERD. Other symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling of fullness
- Bad taste in the back of your mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
It’s normal to have heartburn every once in a while. However, if you have heartburn or any of these other symptoms two or more times a week, then you may have GERD. GERD can damage the delicate tissue in your esophagus if left untreated.
What happens during a GERD evaluation?
When you visit NVG for a GERD evaluation, you can expect a comprehensive and patient-focused exam. The team asks detailed questions about your symptoms, usual diet, lifestyle habits, and medical history. They perform a physical exam and may recommend an upper endoscopy to evaluate your esophagus and stomach to look for signs of damage, such as inflammation (esophagitis).
What are the treatments for GERD?
NVG customizes your GERD treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms. Initial treatment focuses on lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, and not eating too close to bedtime. Losing weight may also ease your GERD symptoms.
When lifestyle changes fail to relieve your GERD, the team may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication that lowers stomach acid production or improve LES function.
The team may recommend routine endoscopy procedures to monitor your esophagus and signs of esophageal cancer.