What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive problem that is characterized by food and liquids coming back up through the esophagus after you’ve swallowed them. Heartburn is commonly associated with GERD because the acid that comes back into the esophagus causes a burning sensation. This phenomenon is also referred to as acid reflux or acid indigestion. At Gotham Gastroenterology, we can treat GERD and its painful symptoms with lifestyle adjustments, medications, and in some more serious cases, with GERD surgery.
What causes heartburn and GERD?
There is a small band of muscles that can be found at the very bottom of your esophagus (the tube that allows you to swallow food and connects with your stomach). This band of muscle is called your sphincter and is responsible for opening and closing to allow food into your stomach. When working properly, the sphincter keeps food from coming back outside of the stomach and back into the esophagus once you swallow. However, for those who suffer from GERD, the sphincter is overly relaxed and allows food and drink to come back into the esophagus.
Those with GERD might be particularly triggered by certain foods and drinks, including:
- Fatty foods
- Fried foods
- Spicy foods
Additionally, some other factors could trigger GERD, such as:
- Being pregnant
- Being overweight
- Drinking excessive alcohol
What are the most common GERD symptoms?
The following acid reflux symptoms may warrant a trip to see a digestive disease specialist who can help you alleviate your discomfort as well as diagnose possible underlying digestive health problems:
- Burping excessively
- Dysphagia/Difficulty swallowing/Painful swallowing
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
- Voice changes/Hoarseness
- Asthma/Difficulty breathing/Wheezing
- Chronic coughing
- Bad breath
How is GERD diagnosed by a digestive disease doctor?
Visit Gotham Gastroenterology if you experience any of the above symptoms of GERD. Our experienced medical professionals can help you diagnose GERD and manage your symptoms to prevent discomfort and future health issues. Some of the following GERD tests may be used to help us accurately diagnose your condition:
- Upper GI endoscopy
- Acid reflux biopsy
- PH monitoring test
- Manometry test
- Barium swallow test
Can GERD lead to complications if left untreated?
There are several serious complications that can result from untreated GERD, so it’s important to visit a digestive health physician if you experience signs of GERD or heartburn. Your doctor can help you control GERD and prevent damage to your esophagus. Some of the GERD complications that could occur include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Esophageal strictures
- Esophagitis/esophagus inflammation
What acid reflux remedies are available at Gotham Gastroenterology?
Visit our New York City gastroenterology office to learn about your full GERD treatment options, which may include one or more of the following GERD treatments:
- Modifications to your current lifestyle
- Modifications to your current diet
- Over-the-counter medications recommended by our physicians
- Prescription medications as needed
- Esophageal surgery when appropriate
For more information or to book an appointment with Gotham Gastroenterology, contact our office at 212-794-0240. Our team of experts strives to provide excellence in gastroenterology for patients in NYC. You can also make an appointment by filling out a form.