Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This disease involves the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus.
In normal digestion, the LES opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. In people with GERD, the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach's contents to flow up into the esophagus.
This LES weakness is often thought to be caused by a condition called hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm).
The primary symptoms of GERD include heartburn, regurgitation, and an acid taste in the mouth.
How is GERD diagnosed?
If your symptoms are not resolved with medication, Dr. Bhatti may perfrom an EGD to take a biopsy or imaging tests to show the shape of your upper GI tract.
How is GERD treated?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Bhatti may recommend lifestyle changes, medicines, surgery, or a combination.
- not eating or drinking items that may cause GER, such as greasy or spicy foods and alcoholic drinks
- not overeating
- not eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
- losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
- quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
- taking over-the-counter medicines
You can buy many GERD medicines without a prescription. However, if your symptoms do not go away, Dr. Bhatti may recommend a specific combination of GERD medicines to control your unique symptoms.
If lifestyle changes and medication are not enough to provide long-term reflux control, Dr. Bhatti may recommend surgery.
Schedule an appointment at Bhatti GI if you are experiencing persistent GERD symptoms that are not responding to over-the-counter medication.
Click to learn more about GERD.