Living with GERD can be uncomfortable but with the right course of treatment, symptoms can be countered. Learn what treatments our doctors are offering at American Hospital for GERD and other related diseases.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, is a digestive disorder that impacts the esophageal sphincter, which is between the esophagus and the stomach. Patients with GERD can experience excessive heartburn or indigestion, and in severe cases, other symptoms may also occur.
Some medical experts believe that patients with hiatal hernia have a higher chance of developing GERD since the condition weakens the esophageal sphincter and increases the risk of gastroesophageal reflux. A hiatal hernia occurs where the upper area of the stomach begins to move upwards into the chest through the diaphragmatic hiatus. Often, patients with hiatal hernia do not experience reflux or heartburn but the condition does allow for easy access of the stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. Whether due to hiatal hernia or not, GERD can easily be managed through dietary and lifestyle changes depending on the severity of the condition each individual patient experiences.
The most common symptom of GERD is acid reflux that causes a burning sensation, known as heartburn, in the chest which can also move up to your throat. Some other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease are:
• Food going up to the throat
• Chest pain
• Difficulty in swallowing
• Chronic cough
• Bad breath
• Breathing difficulties including Asthma
• Sleep problems
• Sore throat and voice changes
• Dental decay
The main reason for the development of GERD is the improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter which is responsible for keeping the stomach content from going up to the esophagus. When the sphincter relaxes inappropriately, stomach content including acid and other secretions travel up to the esophagus. Some other possible causes for GERD include:
• Hiatal Hernia
• Eating larger meals
• Laying down immediately after eating
• Connective tissue disorder
• Increased intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Certain types of foods have also been found as triggers of GERD for some people. These include:
• Citrus fruits
• Carbonated beverages
• Food with higher fat content
Though GERD does not often cause serious life-threatening complications in most people, however, in certain patients, the case may be different. Complications pertaining to GERD can be:
• Esophageal stricture
• Barrett’s esophagus
• Esophageal cancer
• Dental issues
• Breathing disorders
In order to better determine whether the patient is experiencing GERD, your doctor may perform the following diagnostic tests:
• Esophageal manometry
• pH testing
• pH measuring wireless capsules
GERD can commonly be treated through dietary restrictions and medication. Doctors may recommend patients to use simple medications such as antacids for mild symptoms or regular medications to reduce acid in the stomach. Medications that help empty the stomach (prokinetics) can also be prescribed.
Lifestyle changes are important in improving your quality of life and controlling the symptoms of GERD. Lifestyle changes can include:
• Weight management
• Avoiding trigger foods and beverages
• Eating smaller portions of food
• Eating slowly
• Quit smoking
• Elevating your head while resting
• Controlling your weight
• Wearing looser clothing
If symptoms cannot be controlled through medication and diet, your healthcare provider may recommend procedures to treat your acid reflux. These anti-reflux procedures are divided into endoscopic and surgical procedures.
For selected patients, endoscopic anti-reflux procedures are done through the endoscope without surgical incisions. These include:
• Endoscopic plication with the GERDx™ device.
• Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF).
In some cases, surgical options are preferred, and these include:
• Fundoplication: This procedure works by raising the pressure in the lower esophagus by winding the top of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter. This procedure is done either through open surgery or laparoscopically.
• LINX: This surgery is done by wrapping magnetic titanium beads around the LES which promotes proper functioning of the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.
If you would like to consult one of our expert doctors for gastroesophageal reflux disease or other digestive disorders, you may get in touch with us by going to our website and submitting the form given there. American Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in Dubai and we work hard to ensure that patients are given quality healthcare services.