Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease
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GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)/Acid Reflux

Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease is the regurgitation of the food contents of the stomach into the esophagus—the passageway through which food travels from the mouth to the stomach. Because the esophagus lacks the protective lining of the stomach, it is easily irritated by digestive stomach acids that go back up the food tube way. This causes a burning sensation in the chest that most people call heartburn, although it has nothing to do with the heart. In addition, the stomach acid can cause inflammation in the esophagus. The chronic inflammation of GERD can lead to ulcers and scarring, of the esophagus. 

Risk Factors
Some of the risk factors that can lead to this disease are smoking, eating fatty/spicy/acidic foods, being overweight, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, or a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, which controls the opening and closing of the food passageway. 

Along with the burning sensation in the chest, an individual will experience pain when swallowing food, a sour taste from acid reflux, and hoarseness or wheezing from regurgitation into the throat and lungs.    

Patient history usually indicates the diagnosis.  A lifestyle of smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, and a lack of exercise can cause this disease.  Also, frequent regurgitation after eating or drinking, along with a burning/sour taste in your mouth are signs of trouble that point to acid reflux. Diagnostic tests such as x-rays, pH measurements, and an endoscopy may be performed to look for evidence of esophageal inflammation. 

Treatment Options
The treatment of GERD depends on the patient’s symptoms. We may recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) antacid or prescribe one to neutralize the stomach acid.  Also, a prescription medication may be given to speed up the time that it takes for food to move through the stomach and into the intestines.  Dr. Aldoroty may suggest elevating the head of the bed by six inches to reduce reflux while sleeping.  Gravity helps acid flow down and out of the esophagus. In addition, change your eating habits. Rather than having three square meals, eat small meals several times a day. Less food in the stomach during the day, leads to a lower volume of stomach acid. In severe cases, Dr. Aldoroty might recommend surgery to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.

Please contact Dr. Aldoroty's office to learn more about all of the individualized, complete, and advanced medical procedures available to meet your healthcare needs.
For your convenience, his office is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., and by appointment.

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