Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Overview

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common condition in which the stomach’s contents travel back up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) should remain tightly closed except to allow food to pass normally into the stomach. Inappropriate relaxation of the LES allows stomach contents, including acid, to flow back into the esophagus.

Chronic reflux can cause complications such as esophageal ulceration, bleeding, stricture formation and a precancerous condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. GERD symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation. Atypical symptoms include chest pain, cough, sore throat and laryngitis.

Endoscopy and esophageal pH monitoring may be necessary to confirm diagnosis or to evaluate and treat complications. Certain foods can exacerbate reflux symptoms. Spicy and acidic foods, chocolate, peppermint, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, overeating and obesity.

Treatment is aimed at reducing reflux of acidic gastric material. This can be achieved through dietary modification or medications to neutralize or inhibit the production of stomach acid. Are you concerned about your risk? Please visit Regional Gi at one of our four conveniently located offices. Contact us today!