Gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD or acid reflux, is a chronic digestive disease in which acid and bile flow back from the stomach and into the esophagus, caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which results in pain, sour tastes in your mouth, and overall discomfort. More than 23 million people in the United States are taking anti-reflux medication and at least 18% of people have GERD. Not only are the effects of GERD uncomfortable, but they can also cause damage to the lining of the esophagus and lead to more serious complications and diseases, including Barrett’s Esophagus or cancer, later on if left untreated.
Symptoms of GERD may include:
- A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to your throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Dry cough
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
- Sensation of a lump in your throat
Risk factors may include:
- Bulging of top of stomach up into the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
- Dry mouth
- Delayed stomach emptying
- Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
Seeking Relief and Treatment
In some cases lifestyle changes such as losing weight, a change in diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking may help address symptoms of GERD. Additionally there are medications available to help manage symptoms, however if you are on medication for GERD and still experiencing symptoms it may be time to consult a doctor as up to one third of people taking medication for their symptoms will need more advanced treatment.
Treating GERD and Esophageal Diseases at Riverview Medical Center
Riverview Medical Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health Cancer Care, is expanding the breadth and depth of services for the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal diseases, like GERD, Barrett’s Esophagus, esophageal achalasia, and cancer. Thanks to new innovative technology, our expert physicians are able to diagnose and treat more patients than ever before, without the need for travel.
For more information about esophageal services at Riverview Medical Center, please call Medical Day Stay at 732-530-2295.
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