About 2 in 10 Americans have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At Desert Valley Gastroenterology in Mesa, Arizona, the team of renowned GERD experts knows how challenging the disease is. They provide prompt care, effective treatment, and rapid symptom relief. The practice offers easy access to appointments, so call the office to book your consultation now.
GERD occurs when digestive acids in your stomach flow upwards into the esophagus — the tube between your mouth and stomach. This process (acid reflux) is common, and most people experience it occasionally.
However, with GERD, acid reflux occurs at least twice a week over a long period. GERD is often uncomfortable and inconvenient and may cause symptoms that impact your quality of life. About 20% of Americans have GERD.
GERD causes symptoms such as:
GERD can cause additional issues over time. For example, increased acid in your mouth can erode tooth enamel and increase your risk of cavities.
People with GERD may eventually develop Barrett’s esophagus, in which the lining of the lower esophagus thickens and reddens. Barrett’s esophagus increases your risk of esophageal cancer.
GERD can develop if the muscle that controls food and liquid flow to your stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) weakens or doesn’t function properly.
Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter opens when you swallow so food can travel down your esophagus and into your stomach. After that, it closes tightly, preventing food and digestive acids from moving into your esophagus.
If your lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t function correctly, you could experience GERD and complications like Barrett’s esophagus.
Several factors can lead to lower esophageal sphincter issues, including carrying extra weight, pregnancy, hiatal hernia, connective tissue disorders, and smoking.
Certain medications may also cause GERD or worsen existing GERD, such as sedatives, high blood pressure medications, and pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen.
GERD treatment depends on your specific symptoms and how the disease affects your life. In most cases, treatment includes lifestyle changes, but you may need medication. Common approaches are:
If conservative techniques don’t ease your GERD symptoms, the team may recommend a procedure that improves lower esophageal sphincter function.
Call Desert Valley Gastroenterology to book your appointment!