Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backward from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).
This action can irritate the esophagus. GERD is also called heartburn, reflux, and esophageal reflux.
Heartburn is the most common symptom, but patients with GERD may also experience:
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Frequent swallowing
- Asthma or asthma-like symptoms
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Sleep disruption (unable to sleep lying down)
- Excessive clearing of the throat
- Persistent cough
- Burning in the mouth or throat
- Intolerance of certain foods
- Dental erosions or therapy-resistant gum disease or inflammation
Over time, persistent exposure of the delicate tissue of the esophagus to the acid contents of the stomach can cause chronic inflammation or esophagitis, which can lead to a potentially serious condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
In addition to dietary controls, medications such as non-prescription antacids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and H2 blockers help prevent the acceleration of GERD.
Over time, however, these medications may lose their effectiveness, requiring increased dosage, which increases costs and the risk of long-term side effects.
Invasive surgical procedures, such as the Nissen fundoplication, are effective. However, due to the risk of adverse events and the invasive nature of these procedures they have lost popularity in recent years.
Durham Regional Hospital offers the EsophyX TIF procedure, a minimally invasive surgical solution for the treatment of GERD. Learn more about EsophyX TIF.
Physicians offering this service include: