Up to 28% of people in North America have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) today. At Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, the experienced specialists understand how uncomfortable frequent acid reflux can be, and they’re here to help with powerful treatments. The practice has 13 convenient offices throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, University, and Pineville, North Carolina, so call the one nearest you, or click on the provided link to schedule your appointment today.
GERD is a condition featuring chronic painful irritation of the esophagus, the long tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. This condition happens when digestive acid moves in the wrong direction (acid reflux), traveling upward to irritate and burn the lining of the esophagus.
Although many people have acid reflux once in a while, people with GERD experience it at least twice a week.
Your doctor at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, may also diagnose GERD if you have esophageal narrowing, tissue erosion, or precancerous changes in your esophageal tissue (Barrett’s esophagus) due to acid reflux.
GERD can cause considerable discomfort and pain, with symptoms commonly including:
Symptoms of GERD sometimes worsen immediately after you eat, especially if you bend over or lie down. Many people experience an increase in GERD symptoms at night.
What causes GERD?
GERD occurs because digestive acids leave your stomach and make their way up your esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) — the ring of muscle at the end of your esophagus — malfunctions.
Normally, the LES opens to let food move into the stomach and then closes tightly to keep the food down and prevent acid reflux. With GERD, the esophageal sphincter doesn’t tighten fully or otherwise doesn’t work like it should, allowing the stomach acids to escape.
Certain people are more likely to experience GERD, including pregnant women, people who struggle with weight, diabetes, and people with hiatal hernias. Asthma is a significant risk factor for GERD; up to 80% of people with asthma also develop GERD.
GERD treatment is generally either over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medication can reduce stomach acid, heal the lining of your esophagus, or strengthen the LES.
Healthy changes, including weight management, changing your eating habits, and improving your sleep routine, may also help with GERD symptoms.
If nonsurgical measures aren’t successful, your Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, doctor may recommend surgery to reinforce or replace your LES.
For help with acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD, call the nearest Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, office, or click on the provided link to make your appointment now.