Now that the holiday season has arrived, many Americans will be eating delicious meals, and potentially overeating. As such, many people may start to experience heartburn. However, if heartburn, sometimes referred to as acid reflux, occurs more frequently than just around the holidays or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could potentially be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—a disease that affects one in five adults in the United States.
Causes and symptoms
GERD is caused by a weak valve that allows acid, bile and stomach contents to flow back from the stomach into the esophagus, creating pain (heartburn) and can often cause damage to the lining of the esophagus. Heartburn is the most common symptom, but not the only one.
Some GERD sufferers experience other symptoms such as hoarseness, a persistent cough, asthma, bad breath, sleep disruption, tooth erosion, and even vomiting. Medications can help with the heartburn symptoms, but do not address the actual cause of GERD—a weak valve.
There is hope
GERD is a serious disease that can impact every aspect of a person’s life, but there are treatments. Diagnostic testing performed by a healthcare provider specializing in diseases of the esophagus is the only way to definitively diagnose GERD. Those who think they may be suffering from GERD should seek help from a specialist who can provide an accurate diagnosis and discuss the latest treatment options that can give people their lives back.
Get treated today
The good news is that GERD is treatable. For most patients, relief comes with dietary changes or medication, although surgery sometimes is necessary. It’s important to note that GERD does not resolve itself, and untreated symptoms can lead to a variety of health complications, so visit your doctor if you think you may be suffering from it. Fortunately, Bingham Memorial Hospital has an exceptional gastroenterologist who specializes in heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.
Need a Gastroenterologist?
Dr. Eric A. Wingerson is double board certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine and fellowship trained in gastroenterology.
He diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive tract. His specialties include diagnosing and treating heartburn from GERD, abdominal pain, persistent nausea and vomiting, bowel habit disorders, peptic ulcer disease, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas disorders, swallowing disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoidal disease.
He sees patients in Blackfoot and Idaho Falls. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (208) 785-3800 in Blackfoot or (208) 535-3625 in Idaho Falls.