Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Florida
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease also referred to as GERD, is the term to illustrate the result of the common occurrence of acid reflux in one's daily life. Acid reflux refers to an individual occurrence or experience of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, referred to as heartburn.
An individual is regularly diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux happens in mild cases one or fewer times in a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux is experienced at a minimum of two times per week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease may develop at any time in life, but it typically develops around age 40. When neglected, patients have been known to eventually develop a complication known as Barrett’s esophagus. Should you think that you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida in Florida as soon as possible.
What causes GERD?
Anytime one chooses to ingest food, that food progresses through the esophagus and past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to then enter the stomach. When the LES grows compromised, it can lose strength and fail to prevent stomach acid from entering back into the esophagus. Usually, there is not a lone catalyst that increases the chance of this occurring frequently, but you are at greater risk of developing GERD should you meet any of these criteria:
- Eat large meals late at night
- Alcohol use
- Consume raw onion or garlic
- Eat spicy foods
- Being pregnant
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach extends into the diaphragm)
- Lie down often after eating
- Tobacco use
- Drink coffee
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
To learn more about what causes GERD, schedule a consultation with our GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida.
What are the major symptoms of GERD?
The main signs of GERD are quite like acid reflux but may occur more frequently. These symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chronic cough
- Unexplained weight loss
- Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Poor-quality sleep
We encourage you to request an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida as soon as possible if you have any of the listed symptoms frequently and are in pain, or if you use over-the-counter heartburn medication more often than two times per week.
What are the available treatments for GERD?
Treating GERD at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida might include lifestyle alterations, medical intervention, or both. Treatment approaches to avoid or reduce GERD can in Florida patients include:
- Lose weight
- Sleep on an incline
- Non-prescription antacids
- Quit smoking
- Medication to strengthen the LES
- Eat slowly and in moderation
- Limit coffee/caffeine intake
- Fundoplication (surgery wrapping the stomach around the LES)
- Avoid foods and beverages likely to cause acid reflux (see the list above)
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction where the esophagus and stomach meet)
- Remain awake and stand up after eating
- Do not eat a minimum of two hours before going to bed
- Inform your gastroenterologist about the current medications you are taking
What is the difference between acid reflux and GERD?
The primary differences between acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease can seem to be confusing. But GERD is simply acid reflux that occurs more frequently for a longer stretch of time. If you have heartburn or additional symptoms daily or more than once throughout the week, or you have symptoms that will not ease with over-the-counter medications, you might be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What types of food should I stay away from if I am dealing with GERD?
Food and beverages that promote acid production in the stomach should likely be avoided if you are diagnosed with GERD. Some examples of these items include:
- High-fat foods
- Salty or peppery foods
- Sugary foods
- Red meat
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits such as grapefruits and oranges
- Caffeine (such as coffee and soda)
The Gastroenterology Associates of Florida team can provide further details on the foods to reduce or cut from your diet if you experience GERD.
Can GERD shorten your lifespan?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is not likely to be life-threatening. It can sometimes make daily tasks uncomfortable, but you can likely find relief with proper care. If left untreated, GERD could lead to more severe conditions. Such concerns include esophagitis (inflammation of the lining of the esophagus) and Barrett’s esophagus, which can damage the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). Obtaining the care you need to manage this disease properly can help safeguard your health and wellness.
How long can it take for GERD to improve after treatment begins?
Several factors may impact how long it might take to experience relief from gastroesophageal reflux disease. These can include the type of medication you take, the amount of damage caused by the disease, and if you avoid consuming food items that exacerbate symptoms. With proper care, you may notice that symptoms of GERD begin to wane over time. While it might not be possible to eliminate GERD completely, you will likely be able to manage its effects.
Find relief from GERD
GERD is a common concern affecting the lives of countless patients. With appropriate medical care, however, it can be addressed and its unpleasant symptoms minimized. If you or someone you know suffers from GERD, the physician-led network of gastroenterology specialists at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida is here to help. We urge you to schedule a consultation at our practice to find treatment for GERD in Florida.
Dr Hurwitz is a very caring . He listens to you and addresses all your concerns. He’s very knowledgeable. I’ve blessed to be his patient.
I have been going to doctor Medrano for a few years now and wouldn’t change him for any other Gastrointerologist. He listens when you speak and he is very responsive. Also very satisfied with his staff!!!!
The doctor and staff are top notch. They listen, remember, and take action. Seriously, no matter how long the drive, for the best care possible it's so worth it.
Having Dr. Miles Medrano as our gastroenterologist is great! We admire his professional and friendly attitude so much! He’s keeping my husband’s acid reflux and some other problems under control, for years now. We are so lucky! Our quality of life is so much better because of his care. I recommended this doctor to my family and friends.