Did you know that one in five Americans experience gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, every day? This article explores what GERD is and how it can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.

What is GERD, and what are the symptoms?


GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition that results in the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems.

The most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn and acid reflux. Other symptoms can include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food or bitter liquid, and hoarseness. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, see your doctor.

How can GERD lead to other more severe health issues?


GERD can lead to other more severe health problems if left untreated because the stomach acid can back up into the esophagus and damage the lining. This can cause inflammation and sores, and over time it can lead to Barrett's esophagus or cancer of the esophagus.

Barrett's esophagus is a precancerous condition caused by long-term exposure to stomach acid. The stomach acid can damage the esophagus lining, which can lead to inflammation and sores.

Cancer of the esophagus is a type of cancer that starts in the esophagus cells. It is a relatively rare cancer, but it can be severe if not treated.

The most common symptoms of cancer of the esophagus are difficulty swallowing and chest pain. Other symptoms can include weight loss, hoarseness, and vomiting if you're experiencing any of these symptoms.

Cancer of the esophagus is treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. The type of treatment depends on the stage of cancer. Treatment is usually successful if caught early, but it may be more challenging to treat if cancer has spread to other body parts.

If you have GERD, it is essential to see your doctor and get treatment.

What should you do if you think you have GERD?


If you think you have GERD or experience any of the symptoms listed above, you must see your doctor. They will be able to diagnose you and recommend a treatment plan.

Treatment for GERD usually includes lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods and drinks that can trigger symptoms and medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

The most frequent GERD surgery is laparoscopic fundoplication, which may be performed in various ways. Nissen fundoplication and laparoscopic fundoplication are two standard GERD surgical procedures.

Laparoscopic fundoplication is a minimally invasive surgery that involves wrapping the top of the stomach around the esophagus to prevent acid from refluxing back up. This procedure is generally done laparoscopically, requiring small abdominal incisions.

Nissen fundoplication is a procedure that sutures the upper portion of the stomach to the diaphragm to prevent acid from refluxing back up. This surgery usually necessitates a large abdominal incision.

What are some lifestyle changes that can help GERD?


If you have GERD, you can do a few things to help reduce your chances of getting it or make it easier to manage if you have already been diagnosed.

One thing you can do is to avoid certain foods and drinks that can trigger symptoms. These foods and drinks include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, and acidic foods.

You can also try to eat smaller meals more often instead of large meals throughout the day. This will help reduce the amount of stomach acid that is produced.

Another thing you can do is to exercise regularly. Exercise helps promote good digestion and can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.

Finally, you can try to relax and get adequate sleep. Stress and fatigue can make GERD symptoms worse, so it is essential to try to relax and get enough rest.

If you think you have GERD or experience any of the symptoms listed above, you must see your doctor. They will be able to diagnose you and recommend a treatment plan.

Carolina Digestive Can Help With GERD


Our team will be happy to work with you to create a prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategy. Contact us today; we treat all gastrointestinal issues and disorders with quality, comprehensive care.