Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) services offered in Waldorf, MD

Heartburn is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, but if it occurs regularly, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At GI Associates of Maryland in Waldorf, Maryland, the team of experienced gastroenterologists offers comprehensive care for GERD. Healthy lifestyle changes, prescription medication, and trigger avoidance provide lasting relief. Call the GI Associates of Maryland office today to schedule gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) treatment, or book your appointment online. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Q & A

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, which happens to everyone; however, if it becomes regular, it can scar your esophagus, increasing your risk of health problems. 

What are the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

GERD symptoms include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Upper abdominal or chest pain
  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn)
  • Backwash (regurgitation) of food or stomach acid
  • Persistent cough

You might develop a sore throat or asthma if your GERD flare-ups occur at night. 

What causes GERD?

GERD occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) –– a band of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus –– fails to relax or weakens. 

A healthy LES allows food to enter your stomach. But if your LES stops working, stomach acid can flow back into your esophagus, irritating its lining and causing inflammation. 

How is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diagnosed?

Your GI Associates of Maryland provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and completes a physical exam. If they suspect you have GERD, they order additional testing, including:

Upper endoscopy

During an upper endoscopy, your provider inserts a thin tube with a light and camera on the end (endoscope) through your mouth and throat into your esophagus. The endoscope provides real-time images of your esophagus and stomach, allowing your provider to see if there’s inflammation. 

If necessary, your provider uses the endoscope to collect a biopsy (tissue sample) for additional testing.

Ambulatory acid (pH) test

An ambulatory pH test uses a monitor to identify when and how often stomach acid enters your esophagus. The monitor connects to a small wearable device that attaches to your waist or shoulder.

How is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) treated?

GI Associates of Maryland treats GERD using a conservative and minimally invasive approach. Your provider might recommend:

  • Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
  • Medications to reduce acid production
  • Medications that heal the esophagus and block acid production 
  • Prescription-strength proton pump inhibitors
  • Prescription-strength H2 blockers
  • Avoiding drinks with alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoiding spicy foods
  • Avoiding foods with lots of sugar and saturated fat

If your symptoms continue or get worse, your provider might recommend surgery. There are several types of surgery to treat GERD, but all tighten your LES and prevent acid backflow. 

Call the GI Associates of Maryland office today to request a GERD consultation, or book your appointment online.