GERD Treatments

Information About Life With GERD

Gastro Esophageal Reflux DiseaseGastric acid in the stomach is responsible for breaking down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Sometimes, however, that gastric acid travels back up the esophagus, causing a painful burn often referred to as heartburn.

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is believed to be caused by hiatal hernia, where stomach acid can leak back through the lower part of the esophagus. This kind of pain can make it difficult to eat food or even lie down, as these activities can trigger more heartburn.

Some contributors leading to GERD include:

  • Overeating
  • Consuming foods high in citrus, fat, chocolate, or spiciness
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Being overweight

Diagnosing GERD

As it is possible your GERD is caused by gastritis or an ulcer, it’s important to talk to your doctor and plan a treatment for this harmful condition. Along with looking at your medical history and conducting a physical exam, your doctor could use a number of methods when trying to diagnose GERD.

Methods for detecting GERD include:

  • Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series: Using a fluid to trace through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, doctors can x-ray the upper digestive tract to see how well your organs are functioning in moving food and liquids along.
  • EGD or upper endoscopy: With a flexible light tube called an endoscope, a physician can look directly into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine to examine the tissue there.
  • Bernstein test: By dripping a test solution into the esophagus, doctors can see how your body creates acid and whether or not the amount of acid is excessive.
  • Esophageal manometry: Muscles in the digestive tract are tested using a tube that puts gentle pressure on the esophagus. This can help doctors know how well your muscles work in preventing gastric acid from flowing back out of the stomach.
  • pH Monitoring: A tube is inserted down into the esophagus to test the pH levels of fluids that exist where the esophagus and stomach meet.

Take the GERD/Heartburn
Patient questionnaire here

Treating GERD

How your GERD treatments are carried out will depend largely on your medical history and current health. There are many cases where GERD’s impact can be lessened simply by changing some life habits.

You may be able to manage GERD by:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Monitoring your food intake
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Consume less alcohol
  • Elevating the head of your bed 6 inches
  • Taking antacids as directed by your doctor
  • Asking your doctor about H2-blockers and protein pump inhibitors
  • Losing excess weight
  • Avoiding overeating

Innovative New Treatment Procedures

Methodist Dallas Medical Center also performs Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) treatment. This is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no any incisions that creates a new gastroesophageal valve using an endoscope. As there are no incisions, the usual surgical risks such as blood loss, need for transfusions, infection, and incisional herniation are often reduced.

This new procedure can give patients:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less discomfort
  • Quicker recovery
  • Ability to reverse the procedure
  • No unsightly scarring

Not everyone affected by GERD is a candidate for TIF treatment. Talk with your doctor about your options for managing your gastroesophageal condition.

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System, or any of its affiliated hospitals.