Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid, and sometimes bile, backs up into the esophagus. Over time, the backwash of acid can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus.
Many times GERD can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, patients who continue to suffer from persistent heartburn two or more times a week should be seen by a qualified medical professional. These medications can lose their effectiveness over time and they don’t treat the underlying root cause of reflux. In addition, recent studies on the adverse effects of long-term use of over-the-counter medications indicate a significantly higher incidence of hip fractures, particularly among women. Left untreated, heartburn can lead to serious medical conditions, including Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.
One in four Americans suffer from an esophageal disorder. Are you at risk? Take the following quiz to find out:
If you answered yes to either of the first two questions and ANY other question, you have severe disease and may be at high risk for complications of GERD (i.e. esophagitis, ulcers, strictures, Barrett’s esophagus).
St.Vincent Salem Hospital can help. Physicians Jeffery Morgan, MD and Jonathan Noel, MD have developed a team approach to treating GERD patients.