Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

What is Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)?
GERD is a common condition in which the gastric contents move up into the esophagus. Reflux becomes a disease when it causes frequent or severe symptoms or injury. Reflux may damage the esophagus, pharynx or respiratory tract.

There is a difference between GERD and heartburn. Our gastroenterologist specialists can determine if you have GERD.

What are the Symptoms of GERD?
The main symptom of GERD is heartburn, and regurgitation of sour or bitter liquid to the throat or mouth. The combination of heartburn and regurgitation is such a common characteristic of GERD that formal testing may be unnecessary. Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • Non-burning chest pain, which is usually located in the middle of the chest and radiates to the back
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

How is GERD Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of GERD starts with a thorough physical examination during which you describe your symptoms and medical history. If the typical symptoms of reflux disease are present, including heartburn and regurgitation, your doctor may begin treatment without performing specific diagnostic tests.

In some cases, the following test may be needed:

  • Upper Endoscopy
  • Reflux Testing (Wireless pH/pH Impedance)
  • Esophageal Manometry
  • Barium Esophagram

How is GERD Treated?
There are two main approaches to treating GERD

  • medication
  • surgery

Most patients can effectively use a combination of lifestyle changes and drug therapy to treat their GERD. However, surgery is an option for patients who do not respond to medical treatment.

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