What Is GERD?

What is GERD?

If you feel occasional heartburn, especially after eating spicy or acidic foods, it’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if you constantly feel heartburn and other symptoms, you could have a chronic condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Our gastroenterologist can help. Dr. Vikram Jayanty in Houston, TX, provides a wide range of gastroenterology services, including diagnosis and treatment of GERD.

What You Need To Know About GERD

GERD starts out as acid reflux disease. Acid reflux is caused by poor function of the sphincter muscle separating your esophagus from your stomach. This sphincter muscle closes to prevent stomach acid from regurgitating back up into your throat. When the sphincter muscle doesn’t close completely, stomach acid can flow back into your esophagus. When you have acid reflux, you may have:

  • Chronic sore throats
  • Frequent bad breath
  • A sour taste in your mouth

Acid reflux can become chronic and more severe, developing into gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Your symptoms may increase and you may experience:

  • More frequent and severe sore throats
  • Frequent dry coughing and wheezing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or chest pain
  • Tooth sensitivity due to eroded tooth enamel

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of GERD, it’s important to start a few dietary changes, including:

  • Eating small meals several times during the day
  • Avoiding eating a large meal, especially before bed
  • Not smoking or using tobacco products
  • Avoiding or limiting eating spicy or acidic foods
  • Taking over-the-counter antacid medications

If you are experiencing moderate to severe GERD symptoms, you need to see your gastroenterologist, who may recommend:

  • Dietary and nutritional counseling
  • Prescription-strength antacid medications
  • Prescription-strength medications to strengthen the esophageal sphincter muscle
  • Surgical treatment for severe GERD that doesn’t respond to medication therapy

Remember that if GERD is left untreated, it can cause serious medical problems, including:

  • Esophageal damage
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Increased dental sensitivity
  • Increased dental decay

Want To Know More?

To learn more about gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, talk with an expert. Call Dr. Vikram Jayanty in Houston, TX. You can reach him in the office by calling (713) 932-9200, so call today.

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