Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Los Angeles
Although you may not know it, you are most likely already familiar with (GERD) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. If you have seen any of the advertisements for medications to treat this disease, you have probably come to refer to it as acid reflux. However, acid reflux and GERD are the same condition.
GERD is usually caused by a weakening of the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter. When this happens, stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus, causing discomfort and other symptoms. If you are currently living with GERD, Dr. Tabib can find the ideal treatment to control your symptoms. To schedule your appointment with him, contact us today.
The most common symptom of GERD is persistent heartburn, which occurs when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus and irritates the lining. You may also regurgitate stomach acid. Less common symptoms include:
- Chest Pain
- Morning Hoarseness
- Trouble Swallowing
- Dry Cough
- Bad Breath
Some people with GERD have the sensation that food is stuck in their throats.
In children, GERD can cause vomiting, coughing, and respiratory problems. It is often overlooked in children, and infants usually grow out of it by age one. However, it should be checked out by a doctor if the symptoms are persistent.
In children, an immature digestive system is usually to blame for GERD. In adults, a common cause is a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm. This commonly occurs in adults over age 50. Other contributing factors to GERD in adults may include:
- Fatty / Fried Foods
- Mint Flavorings
- Spicy Foods
In many cases, treating GERD is a matter of controlling these contributing factors.
Dr. Tabib may recommend one or more treatment methods to help alleviate the symptoms of GERD. This may include avoiding foods that cause flare-ups, staying upright for at least three hours after meals, raising the head of your bed by six to eight inches, and eating smaller meals. He may also recommend that you avoid alcohol, smoking, and lose weight if needed.
Medications can often be helpful in treating the symptoms of GERD. Dr. Tabib may recommend over-the-counter medications or he may prescribe drugs to treat your symptoms.
- Antacids – Alka-Seltzer, Mylanta, Maalox, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, Riopan, Tums, Titralac
- Foaming Agents – Gaviscon
- H2 Blockers – Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC, Axid AR, Zantac 75
- Proton Pump Inhibitors – Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, Nexium
- Prokinetics – Urecholine, Reglan, Metoclopramide
Each of these medications works in different ways. Antacids and foaming agents work to neutralize stomach acid, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors limit acid production, and prokinetics help strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter and make the stomach empty faster. Because of their varying mechanisms, Dr. Tabib may recommend some combination of medications to effectively treat your GERD.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to avoid a lifetime of medication use or because previous treatments have proven ineffective. The most common type of surgery used to treat GERD is known as Nissen fundoplication. It is usually performed laparoscopically, using small incisions and special instruments to wrap the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter. If a hiatal hernia is present, it can be repaired. Endoscopic surgery can also be used to help strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. The best procedure for you will depend on your individual condition.
If left untreated, GERD can lead to the development of a more serious condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. It may also contribute to asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis. If you are experiencing the symptoms of GERD, contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tabib today.