Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, experience a steady assault of stomach acid to the lower esophagus. Sometimes, GERD can lead to changes in the mucous membranes lining the lower portion of the esophagus. When the cells of the esophagus become damaged, a patient is said to suffer from Barrett’s esophagus.
If you’re currently suffering from GERD, it’s important to seek treatment to prevent it from developing into a more serious condition like Barrett’s esophagus or even esophageal cancer. Contact the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence at La Peer by calling (888) 548-7614 for more information about GERD and Barrett’s esophagus from our world renown surgeons.
What Is GERD?
Many Americans suffer from reflux and heartburn on a regular basis. If your reflux is serious enough to affect your quality of life, then you may be suffering from gastrointestinal reflux disease, or GERD. People who are experiencing the following symptoms may want to consider being tested for GERD:
• Chest pain or heartburn, sometimes accompanied by a sour flavor in the mouth
• Trouble swallowing
• Regurgitation or acid reflux
• Sore throat or the feeling that you have a lump in your throat.
• Chronic cough.
Getting treatment for your GERD can help prevent you from developing a more serious condition known as Barrett’s esophagus.
Preventing Barrett’s Esophagus
The GI specialists at the Barrett’s Center of Excellence can advise you about options for treating your GERD before it develops into Barrett’s disease.
Along with antacids and prescription medications, various surgical options exist to help prevent stomach acid from backing up into the lower esophagus.
You can also take steps to reduce your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus. If you are already suffering from GERD, you should:
• Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Avoid restrictive clothing that puts pressure on the abdomen
• Sleep with your head elevated
• Stay away from spicy and acidic foods that are known to cause heartburn
• Eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day instead of 2-3 large ones
The doctors at the Barrett’s Center of Excellence are available to evaluate your heartburn and reflux. Diagnosing and treating GERD early may help prevent Barrett’s esophagus from developing in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is at risk of developing GERD?
A: The following things increase the risk of GERD:
• Drinking or smoking in excess
Q: If I have GERD, am I certain to develop Barrett’s esophagus?
A: No! Only about 5 in 100 people who have reflux will go on to develop Barrett’s disease. However, people with GERD are advised to undergo testing for Barrett’s.
Q: How is GERD diagnosed?
A: The doctors at the Barrett’s Center perform upper endoscopies and other imaging tests to evaluate the condition of the food pipe and determine if the patient is suffering from GERD.
Q: When should people with GERD consider surgery?
A: Surgery is a good option for GERD sufferers who have not improved with medication alone. People with severe reflux symptoms may also want to consider surgery.
Q: When should I contact the Barrett’s Center of Excellence?
A: If you are experiencing persistent heartburn and reflux that interferes with your daily life, you may want to schedule a consultation at the Barrett’s Center to be evaluated for GERD.
Contact Our Barrett’s Experts
Our experienced GI team, along with our first-class nurses and support staff, offer a number of successful treatments for GERD and Barrett’s disease. If you’re suffering, consider making an appointment at our Los Angeles outpatient center today at (888) 548-7614.
Next, read about treatment options.