Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition affecting about 20% of people in the United States. When left untreated, GERD may cause permanent damage to your esophagus and increase your risk of developing more serious health problems. At Lakeside Gastroenterology in Conroe and The Woodlands, Texas, board-certified gastroenterologist Nelson Tajong, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating GERD. For expert care of your chronic acid reflux, call the office closest to you or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that causes persistent acid reflux.

Though it’s not uncommon to experience heartburn from time to time, you likely have GERD if you have these symptoms two or more times a week.

Over time, the acid affects the lining of your esophagus, leading to other health problems such as esophagitis, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus, or esophageal cancer.

The experts at Lakeside Gastroenterology can help you manage your GERD to reduce acid reflux and prevent more serious health problems.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

GERD symptoms vary in type and severity. Though most people experience heartburn or indigestion, not everyone with GERD has these obvious physical symptoms.

Other GERD symptoms include:

  • Bad taste in the back of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Laryngitis
  • Chest pain
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting

Though GERD affects people of all ages, you may be at greater risk of developing this chronic health condition if you’re overweight or obese. First-hand or second-hand exposure to cigarette smoke may also increase your risk of GERD.

How is GERD diagnosed?

The experts at Lakeside Gastroenterology can diagnose GERD after a comprehensive history and physical. However, to assess the severity of your reflux and damage to your esophagus, your provider may request diagnostic tests, such as:

48-hour Bravo™ reflux test

The 48-hour Bravo reflux test measures the acid level in your esophagus. During the test, your gastroenterologist attaches a tiny capsule to your esophagus wall, which measures the acid level and sends the information to a receiver you wear on your waist.

Upper endoscopy

The upper endoscopy is a diagnostic test that allows your gastroenterologist to evaluate the tissue lining your upper digestive system. During an endoscopy, your provider may take tissue samples of your esophagus to confirm or rule out health complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.

Esophageal manometry

During esophageal manometry, your gastroenterologist examines the contractions and pressure in your esophagus to better understand the cause of your chest pain or heartburn.

How is GERD treated?

Treatment for GERD depends on the severity of your symptoms. Initially, your gastroenterologist may recommend lifestyle changes such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding foods that cause acid reflux
  • Not eating too close to bedtime
  • Smoking cessation

They may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to reduce stomach acidity. When lifestyle and medication fail to provide significant relief from your GERD, your gastroenterologist may suggest surgery to reduce the acid reflux.

GERD is a common problem that benefits from ongoing care with gastroenterologists. Call Lakeside Gastroenterology or schedule a consultation online today.