Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from acid reflux (heartburn or GERD) every day. Unfortunately, many of these patients believe that heartburn and reflux symptoms are just facts of life. The board-certified gastroenterologists at La Peer’s Reflux Surgery Center of Excellence believe that no one should have to suffer persistent reflux that affects his or her daily life. These acid reflux FAQ should help you determine when to seek treatment for this painful and inconvenient condition. When in doubt, contact our doctors by phone at (888) 593-1042.
Heartburn, GERD and Acid Reflux FAQ
Q: Is there a cure for acid reflux?
A: Sadly, there is no cure for GERD. However, the expert GI doctors at the Center of Excellence offer a number of effective acid reflux treatments to alleviate your pain and suffering as well as protect the health of the esophagus. These include the Nissen fundoplication and EsophyX TIF procedures.
Q: What is the best way to diagnose heartburn?
A: A GERD or acid reflux diagnosis is best achieved during an upper endoscopy (EGD) or ESO pill procedure. In some cases, our gastroenterologists will also perform a biopsy of the tissue in the esophagus.
Q: Who gets GERD?
A: The truth is that anyone can develop acid reflux or GERD. However, some people suffer a greater risk of developing the condition. People who are pregnant or overweight may bear a heightened risk due to increased pressure on the abdomen. Further, the condition is more common among people who smoke or drink alcohol, people suffering from hiatal hernias, and those who tend to eat before bed. Additionally, babies under one year of age are also at an increased risk for GERD.
Q: What steps can I take to reduce my likelihood of developing GERD?
A: You can limit your GERD risk by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding fatty or fried foods, and not smoking or drinking in excess. It’s also a good idea to refrain from eating for three hours before bed.
Q: Can GERD lead to esophageal cancer?
A: A small percentage of GERD sufferers go on to develop a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer. Monitoring and treating GERD are essential to protecting the health of the esophagus.
Q: Can taking too many antacids or H2 blockers damage my health?
A: Overusing antacids and H2 blockers can lead to digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Additionally, side effects like sore throat, fever, chest tightness, and bleeding can occur. For patients who want to reduce their drug dependency, surgery can be a good option to relieve GERD symptoms.
Q: How can I reduce heartburn symptoms during pregnancy?
A: Pregnant women may suffer an increased risk of heartburn due to the pressure on the abdomen. To reduce reflux symptoms, try eating smaller meals and avoid eating before bed. You may also want to try sleeping with the head of bed elevated.
Q: Are reflux surgeries really an effective means of treating GERD?
A: Studies show that reflux surgery is an effective means of relieving heartburn symptoms for many patients.
Q: Is reflux surgery really safe?
A: Every surgery carries some risk factor. However, the acid reflux surgeries performed at the Reflux Surgery Center of Excellence are widely regarded as a safe method of treating acid reflux with a low risk of side effects.
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Seek Treatment for Acid Reflux
If you have additional questions about treating GERD and acid reflux or to find out if you are a candidate for surgery, contact our expert GI doctors in Los Angeles by calling (888) 593-1042.
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