Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) impacts 1 in 5 people in the United States. While this condition is treatable, GERD can cause damage to your esophagus and digestive system.
At the Center for Advanced Surgery, with locations in Dallas, Plano, and Tyler, Texas, board-certified gastroesophageal surgeons Dr. Marc Ward and Dr. Steven Leeds diagnose and treat new and existing patients with GERD. Our team can help you understand your risk factors for GERD, and how to better protect your digestive health.
Here’s what Dr. Ward and Dr. Leeds want you to know about your chances of developing GERD.
GERD develops when your stomach acid, an essential part of the digestive process, travels the wrong way up your esophagus. The valves and sphincters that are supposed to control your digestive fluids don’t work correctly.
Lots of people experience heartburn occasionally. However, if you frequently suffer from symptoms like a burning sensation in your chest that worsens after eating or at bedtime, regurgitation, problems swallowing, or chronic coughing or chest pain, the health of your digestive system could be threatened.
A regular backwash of stomach acid can irritate the tissues of your esophagus. Untreated, GERD can have complications including ulcers and a narrowing of your esophagus, making it difficult to swallow properly.
Risk factors for GERD
Some factors make you more prone to developing GERD.
Your diet makes a big difference to your digestive health. If you eat lots of high-fat foods, or consume large amounts of highly acidic coffee, you’re more likely to suffer from GERD. High alcohol consumption can also be linked to the condition. You’re more likely to develop GERD if you’re overweight or obese as well.
Smoking is also a risk factor for GERD. Constant coughing can strain your system, leaving you more prone to digestive trouble.
Other disorders of your digestive system or connective tissues can sometimes result in GERD. These include hiatal hernias and delayed stomach emptying.
Talk to the professionals at the Center for Advanced Surgery about your existing diagnoses, and learn more about your risks of GERD. You may be able to improve your risks with procedures to treat other problems and conditions.
GERD diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
At the Center for Advanced Surgery, we can diagnose and effectively treat cases of GERD. We can also help you understand your personal risk factors, and recommend medical procedures and lifestyle changes to support your long-term digestive health and wellness. With the proper prevention, you can avoid GERD and its complications.
To diagnose GERD, we use pH catheter or probe studies to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus over a 24-hour period, as well as exams like endoscopy, manometry, and X-rays.
For GERD treatment, the Center for Advanced Surgery team can recommend conservative treatment options including lifestyle changes, as well as surgical procedures that can strengthen and repair your esophageal sphincter.
To learn more about GERD and your digestive health, get in touch with the Center for Advanced Surgery now. Schedule your consultation appointment over the phone, or book online today.