Do You Have GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, affects nearly 20% of the U.S. population. While this condition is treatable, ignoring the symptoms could lead to irreversible damage to your esophagus and increase your risk of esophageal cancer. If you live in Wasilla, Anchorage, Palmer, and Mat-Su Valley, AK, and think you might have GERD, it’s important you seek treatment right away. The gastroenterologists of Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease can diagnose and treat this common condition, so you can get back to living.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive condition that affects the lower esophageal sphincter. Also known as the LES, the lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle located between your stomach and esophagus. This muscle plays a major role in digestion. When you eat or drink, the LES opens, allowing the food/liquid to pass through to your stomach. It then closes, preventing stomach acid and food from flowing back to your esophagus. 

GERD occurs when this muscle is weak or relaxes at the wrong time. This leads to acid reflux, which is when the stomach’s contents flow back up into the esophagus. If you experience this burning sensation more than twice a week, you should seek medical attention. Upon diagnosis, the gastroenterologists of Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease in Wasilla, Anchorage, Palmer, and Mat-Su Valley, AK can help relieve your GERD symptoms.

Symptoms of GERD

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is the most common symptom GERD patients complain of. This burning chest pain or pressure starts at the breastbone and moves into the neck and throat. It’s usually worse after eating and can last for several hours. 

Many patients find that bending over or lying down worsens their symptoms. In most cases, taking an antacid or standing up straight offers quick relief. 

Besides pain and pressure in the chest and esophagus, common symptoms of GERD are:

  • Bad breath
  • Bitter, acidic taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lump in your throat
  • Erosion of your tooth enamel

If your heartburn symptoms typically occur at night, you may also experience:

  • Asthmatic symptoms
  • Chronic, dry cough
  • Insomnia
  • Hoarse voice or laryngitis

Treating GERD

If you receive a GERD diagnosis, your physician will first recommend over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes. If these remedies don’t offer relief within a few weeks, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication. If the problem persists, your gastroenterologist may recommend surgery, which involves closing off or narrowing the LES. 

Do you suffer from some or all of the symptoms listed above? Do you have heartburn two or more times a week? Our trusted gastroenterologists in Wasilla, Anchorage, Palmer, and Mat-Su Valley, AK have years of experience working with GERD patients. Call Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease in Anchorage, AK, by calling (907) 569-1333, Wasilla, AK, at (907) 631-3578, or Eagle River, AK, by calling (907) 569-1333 to schedule your appointment today.


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