Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Denver, CO
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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is the term we use to illustrate the result of the common occurrence of acid reflux. Acid reflux is the name given to an individual episode or instance of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, described as heartburn.
A patient is regularly diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux is experienced in mild cases one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux occurs at least twice per week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is known to occur at any time in life, but it often develops around age 40. If neglected, patients may come to develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. if you think you could be suffering from GERD, we urge you to request a visit with a gastroenterology specialist at Denver Digestive Health Specialists in Denver, CO as soon as possible.
What causes GERD?
Whenever we consume food, that food passes through the esophagus and beyond the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to then enter the stomach. Whenever the LES becomes compromised, it can lose strength and fail to stop stomach acid from regurgitating back into the esophagus. Oftentimes, there is not a single reason that encourages this, but a person is at greater risk of suffering from or developing GERD when they have one or more of these criteria:
- Eat spicy foods
- Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach pushes into the diaphragm)
- Lie down often after eating
- Use of alcohol
- Drink coffee
- Eat large meals late at night
- Consume raw onion or garlic
- Tobacco use
- Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
- Being overweight
What are the common symptoms of GERD?
The primary symptoms of GERD are quite like acid reflux but may be felt more often. These symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Lump-in-the-throat sensation
- Disrupted sleep
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Long-term cough
You should make a visit with a GI specialist at Denver Digestive Health Specialists today if you experience any of these symptoms with any frequency or are in pain, or if you use over-the-counter heartburn medication more than two times per week.
How is GERD treated?
Treating GERD could consist of lifestyle modifications, medical care, or both. Treatments to help prevent or relieve GERD may in Denver, CO patients include:
- Lose weight
- Minimize caffeine/coffee consumption
- Remain awake and stand up after eating
- Eat in moderation and slowly
- Non-prescription antacids
- Medication to strengthen the LES
- Inform your GI specialist about any medications you take
- Do not consume foods and drinks likely to cause acid reflux (such as fatty or friend foods, alcohol, citrus fruits, and more)
- Sleep on an incline
- Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
- Avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime
- Fundoplication (surgery performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
- Avoid tobacco use
- LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
How can I tell if I have GERD or acid reflux?
The primary differences between the conditions of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease may seem confusing. But GERD is essentially acid reflux that occurs more frequently for an extended period of time. Should you undergo heartburn or additional symptoms daily or multiple times within a week, or you experience symptoms that will not diminish with over-the-counter options, you could be experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What foods should I cut from my diet if I have GERD?
Foods that aid in the development of stomach acid should probably be avoided if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease. A few of these include:
- Foods high in fat
- Foods high in sugar
- Caffeinate beverages (such as coffee and soda)
- Citrus fruits
- Spicy foods
- Salty or peppery foods
- Red meat
Our Denver Digestive Health Specialists team can provide further information on foods to reduce or remove from your diet if you are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Can GERD be a life-threatening concern?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is generally not considered life-threatening. It might make everyday tasks more difficult at times, but you can likely find relief with proper treatment. If left untreated, GERD can lead to more severe GI conditions. Such concerns include esophagitis (irritation of the esophageal lining) and Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that damages the esophagus (the structure that connects your mouth to your stomach). Undergoing the care required to properly manage this disease can help preserve your overall health.
How long will it take for GERD to improve after beginning treatment?
There are a few factors that determine how long it might take to experience relief from GERD. Some of these include the type of medicine you take, how much damage has been caused by the condition, and if you avoid foods that trigger symptoms. However, with the proper care, you will likely experience fewer effects as time goes on. While you might not get rid of GERD entirely, you should be able to manage your symptoms with treatment.
Find relief from GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common condition touching many patients' daily lives. However, with appropriate treatment, it can be handled and its uncomfortable symptoms alleviated. If you or someone you know struggles with GERD, the board-certified team of gastroenterologists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists is available to help. We encourage you to book a consultation at our office to learn more about GERD treatment in Denver, CO.
Good first meeting & great support from on call Dr when I became ill the very next (weekend) day.
This was not a usual Doctor visit: 1. My wait time was less than 5 minutes from check-in to being seen. 2. Dr Siegel personally came for me from the waiting room. 3. Dr. Siegel took me to his office where we discussed some health related issues and the upcoming procedure, not to a windowless room where I would sit and wait and wait. 4. Dr. Siegel escorted me to the exam room where he did a brief examination. The examination was not uncomfortable as they usually are for me because we had a detailed conversation in his office and I was prepared. 5. This appointment was by far the smoothest I've ever had for a Doctor visit. It was personalized by Dr Siegel from beginning to end.
Been going to Doc Fishman for years. Great Doctor and extremely knowledgeable
I’ve had 2 colonoscopies done by Dr Fishman and had my first in office visit recently. I highly recommend Dr Fishman for his knowledge, professionalism and caring approach. Very transparent and takes his time ensuring all questions are answered and you are satisfied with your appointment.