Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Tulsa, OK
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is the term used to describe the effects of recurring acid reflux. Acid reflux is the name given to a single episode of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, known as heartburn.
Someone is typically diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux happens in mild cases one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux occurs at least twice a week. GERD can occur at any point in a person's life, but it usually begins about the age of 40. When left untreated, individuals can develop a complication called Barrett’s esophagus. If you might be experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease, we strongly recommend that you request a consultation with a GI specialist at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location in Tulsa, OK today.
What causes GERD?
Whenever we eat food, it moves through the esophagus and past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the stomach. Anytime the LES is compromised, it can weaken and fail to stop stomach acid from entering back into the esophagus. Many times, there is not just one reason that causes this to happen repeatedly, however, you are at greater risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease when you meet any of the following criteria:
- Consume spicy foods
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
- Alcohol consumption
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper portion of the stomach pushes into the diaphragm)
- Lie down often after eating
- Coffee consumption
- Consume raw onion or garlic
- Use of tobacco
- Eat large meals late at night
What are the most common symptoms of GERD?
The symptoms of GERD are similar to acid reflux but could be experienced more frequently. The most common symptoms can include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Chronic cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
- Disrupted sleep
- Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
Please request a consultation with a gastroenterologist at an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location near you if you are frequently experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms or if you use over-the-counter heartburn medication more than twice a week.
How is GERD treated?
Managing gastroesophageal reflux disease could include lifestyle modifications, medical intervention, or a combination of both. Treatments to help avoid or relieve GERD in Tulsa, OK patients include:
- Do not eat a minimum of two hours before going to bed
- Avoid foods and beverages likely to cause acid reflux
- Avoid smoking
- Remain awake and stand up after eating
- Eat in moderation and slowly
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- Over-the-counter antacids
- Lose excess weight
- Fundoplication (surgery performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
- Minimize caffeine/coffee intake
- Medication to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter
- Sleep on an incline
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
- Tell your GI specialist about current medications you take
How do acid reflux and GERD differ?
The difference between acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease can be confusing. Simply put, GERD is acid reflux that happens more frequently for a longer period of time. In the event you have heartburn or other symptoms either daily or multiple times throughout the week, or you have symptoms that do not ease with over-the-counter methods, GERD could be to blame.
Is there any food I should avoid if I have GERD?
If you have GERD, you may be advised to avoid foods that enhance the production of stomach acid. Some of these foods include:
- Citrus fruits (such as grapefruits and oranges)
- Foods high in fat
- Salt and pepper
- Red meat
- Spicy foods
- Foods high in sugar
- Caffeine (such as coffee and soda)
The team at Adult Gastroenterology Associates can give you more information on foods to reduce or cut from your diet if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Can GERD be life-threatening?
GERD is typically not life-threatening. It can make completing day-to-day tasks unpleasant at times, but you can likely find some reprieve with care. If not treated, gastroesophageal reflux disease might lead to more complicated gastrointestinal issues. A few examples involve esophagitis (irritation of the lining of the esophagus) and Barrett’s esophagus, a disease that damages the esophagus (the structure that connects the mouth and stomach). Undergoing proper treatment for this condition can help safeguard your health.
How long can it take for GERD to improve after treatment begins?
The time it takes for gastroesophageal reflux disease to improve with treatment depends on a few factors. These include the kind of medication you are taking, the damage caused by the disease up until diagnosis, and whether you avoid foods that trigger its effects. With the proper treatment, however, you may see your GERD symptoms diminish over time. Although you may not be able to cure GERD entirely, you can likely manage its symptoms successfully.
Find relief From GERD
GERD is a very common issue that impacts the lives of countless individuals. With appropriate medical care, however, it can be addressed and its uncomfortable symptoms alleviated. If you or someone you love struggles with GERD, the experienced team of gastroenterology specialists at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location are ready to help. Please request a consultation at one of our locations to get treatment for GERD in Tulsa, OK.
Dr Volak listened to my issues and concerns and took the time to provide me with answers to my medical problems. He was friendly while being respectful of me and made me comfortable during my visit.
25 yrs ago I went to 3 different Gastro Dr’s who tried meds that never resolved my problem. After 1st trip to Dr. Volak, I’ve never had this embarrassing problem again. Also have sent 5 friends with similar problems & all just love him for his thoughtfulness plus within a wk. no problem. He’s an exceptional Dr.
They all was excellent with their patients and did an amazing job with me, got me in there did my procedure and took excellent care of me, and I would highly recommend him for everyone. And yes I would definitely go back.
My experience at doctor Blankenships was a good one he spoke to me so I could under stand what he was saying and going to do for me