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Posts for tag: GERD

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, LLC
December 31, 2020
Tags: GERD  

Are your gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) symptoms under control? If you're still suffering from heartburn, nausea, difficulty swallowing, or other GERD symptoms despite taking over-the-counter medications, it's a good idea to schedule a visit with your Anchorage, AK, gastroenterologists at Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease.

How GERD affects you

GERD symptoms occur when strong stomach acids leak into your esophagus, the tube that transports food to your stomach. Acids may flow backward if the esophageal sphincter is weak or doesn't close properly. The sphincter, a circular muscle located between the stomach and bottom part of the esophagus, opens to let food into the stomach, then closes as soon food reaches its destination.

The backward flow of acids, known as reflux, irritates the sensitive lining of the esophagus, causing chest pain, heartburn, a lump-in-the-throat sensation, bad taste in the mouth, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms.

You may have GERD if your symptoms occur two or more times per week or are severe enough to affect your lifestyle.

Your gastroenterologist offers treatments that ease GERD symptoms

During your visit to the Anchorage gastroenterology office, your gastroenterologist may recommend a test called an upper endoscopy. The endoscopy allows your doctor to examine and lining of your stomach and esophagus and determine why your symptoms haven't improved with over-the-counter medication.

The minimally invasive test involves passing a thin, flexible scope through your mouth and into your esophagus and stomach while you're sedated. The lighted scope contains a camera that sends images to a digital monitor.

The information learned from the endoscopy helps your gastroenterologist make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. Depending on your results, he may recommend different over-the-counter medications than you've tried before or may prescribe prescription medications that block acid production or reduce it or strengthen the sphincter. In severe cases, surgery is may be needed to make the esophageal sphincter stronger.

Your gastroenterologist can also discuss lifestyle modifications that can be helpful. Losing weight, wearing looser clothing, avoiding alcohol and certain foods, or raising the head of your bed may not eliminate your symptoms, but these actions can help reduce symptoms when combined with medication.

Don't let your GERD symptoms control your life! Call (907) 569-1333 to make an appointment with your gastroenterologists in Anchorage, AK, at Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease.

October 17, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD  

Whenever you eat spicy foods do you know that you’ll be suffering for it shortly after? Do you find that heartburn keeps you up at night or makes it impossible to enjoy a lot of your favorite foods? Do you suffer from heartburn symptoms more often than not? If so then you may be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder in which food and stomach acid travel back into the esophagus. Over time the stomach’s acidity can wear away at the lining of the esophagus and cause irritation.

Someone with GERD will not only experience heartburn on a regular basis but also may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Since the acid continues to travel back through the esophagus this can lead to persistent or recurring sore throats, as well as a dry cough or changes in your voice (e.g. hoarseness). You may even feel some of your food (as well as the stomach acid) travel back up through your throat.

If you find yourself taking a heartburn medication more than twice a week or if your symptoms are severe then this is the perfect time to turn to a GI doctor who can find a better way to manage your symptoms. If over-the-counter remedies aren’t cutting it then a gastroenterologist will prescribe a stronger medication. Some medications work by reducing acid production while other medications prevent acid production altogether to give the esophagus time to heal.

While most people find that their GERD symptoms can be properly controlled with over-the-counter or prescription medications, there are some people who still don’t find the relief they want or those who don’t want to use medications for the rest of their lives. If this is the case, there are also certain surgical procedures that can be recommended to help improve how the lower esophageal sphincter functions to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Of course, there are some simple lifestyle modifications that can also help. Besides maintaining a healthy weight, it’s important to avoid certain foods that can trigger your symptoms (e.g. caffeine; alcohol; chocolate). When you do eat try to eat smaller meals and avoid eating right before bedtime. If you are a smoker, you will want to strongly consider quitting.

If you have questions about GERD and managing your heartburn symptoms then it’s time you turned to a gastroenterologist who can diagnose you with this digestive disease and then create a tailored treatment plan to help make mealtimes less painful.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
September 28, 2018
Category: GI Care

Unfortunately, many of us eat the foods we crave before thinking about how it affects our digestive health. Your digestive health is directly impacted by the lifestyle you live and the foods you eat. Exercising, drinking water, and adding fiber all contribute to better digestive health. Here are five digestive problems that are caused by a poor diet.

1. GERD- GERD is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining. Symptoms include heartburn, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. Some foods and beverages are known to cause reflux. If you're at risk for GERD, avoid fatty foods, acidic foods, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeinated beverages. Being overweight and obesity are also causes of GERD. 

2. Cancer- Diet can also directly affect your risk of stomach and bowel cancer. Some foods, such as processed and salt-preserved foods, and red meat can increase the risk of developing stomach and bowel cancer. While others, such as vegetables and fruits, are especially potent cancer fighters. Choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas instead of refined grains, and eating poultry, fish, or beans may also help lower your risk of stomach and bowel cancer.

3. Gallstones- Slimming down (if you're overweight) and changes to your diet may help prevent gallstones. Gallstones are hardened deposits of bile inside the gallbladder. Because cholesterol plays a role in the development of gallstones, you should avoid eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat. Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol and fat and not enough of a high-fiber diet can increase your risk of gallstones.

4. Ulcerative Colitis- Eating a high-fat diet increases the risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a digestive disease that results in inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include fatigue, rectal bleeding, anemia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and feeling an urgent need to take a bowel movement. It's a serious disease that can cause dangerous complications if you don't get the right treatment.

5. Diverticulosis- Diverticulosis is a condition in which protruding pockets develop in the digestive tract. These pouches form when high pressure inside the large intestine pushes against weak spots in the intestinal wall. A high-fiber diet will reduce the risk of developing diverticular disease. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diverticulitis can become serious, requiring hospital admission.

We really are what we eat! Swap those poor eating habits over for better ones. A healthy diet provides important minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to keep the body healthy. You can start making proactive changes to your diet today that can benefit your digestive health now, and throughout your entire life.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
July 24, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD  

Many adults have experienced acid reflux at one time or another. Acid reflux occurs when stomach fluids regurgitate back up into the gerdesophagus, which can produce a burning sensation in the throat and chest areas known as heartburn. Acid reflux is more properly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Treatments are available for individuals with chronic GERD. At Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy are your gastroenterologists for the treatment of GERD in Anchorage, AK.

GERD Symptoms

Several symptoms are associated with GERD. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms and involves a burning sensation in the chest and throat areas caused by stomach fluids reaching the mouth. Lying down can aggravate heartburn and worsen the burning sensation. In addition to heartburn, other symptoms of GERD include:

  • A bitter taste in the mouth
  • Regurgitation
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Chest pain

Causes of GERD

GERD can be caused by a number of different factors. Certain conditions increase a person’s likelihood of developing GERD. For instance, in women, GERD often occurs during pregnancy even if a woman never experienced GERD prior to being pregnant. Obesity also increases the risk of developing GERD, as does smoking. Consumption of certain foods and beverages can induce GERD, as well. Such foods and beverages include:

  • Excess alcohol
  • Citrus beverages
  • Coffee
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fatty foods
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate

Treatment of GERD

Over-the-counter antacid products are available for treating mild, occasional instances of GERD. Dietary modifications can also reduce instances of GERD. Chronic and more serious cases of GERD are best treated by a gastroenterologist, as over-the-counter antacids are only effective for a short time. A gastroenterologist can prescribe an appropriate medication for long term GERD relief, such as a prescription antacid or a proton pump inhibitor.

Proton pump inhibitors treat the symptoms of reflux by blocking the final step of the acid production process in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatment for individuals experiencing frequent GERD symptoms. Examples of proton pump inhibitor medications include omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeproazole, and pantoprazole. See an experienced gastroenterologist for treatment of GERD in Anchorage.

Effective treatments are available for preventing and alleviating the symptoms of GERD. For treatment of GERD in Anchorage, schedule an appointment with Dr. Boisen, Dr. McClendon, and Dr. Molloy by calling Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease at (907) 569-1333.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
June 15, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Heartburn   GERD  

Do you find that most mealtimes end up being ruined by gnawing, nagging heartburn? While most people will experience heartburn at some point during their lifetime, if you are someone who suffers from this problem several times a week then you may just have a digestive disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


What is GERD?

Whenever you eat food, it travels from the esophagus to the stomach. Once food enters the stomach, the stomach produces acid to break up the food. Of course, in healthy individuals the food travels from the stomach to the intestines; however, if you have GERD then the acid and food contents actually flow back up to the esophagus from the stomach, irritating the lining of the throat and causing a nasty case of heartburn.


What are the symptoms?

Heartburn is a classic symptom of GERD. Heartburn is a burning in the chest that also affects the lining of the throat. Heartburn sometimes produces an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. Symptoms may get worse if you eat a big meal, consume something spicy or lie down immediately after eating.


How is GERD diagnosed?

In some situations a gastroenterologist may be able to determine that you have GERD based on the symptoms you describe and through a simple physical exam; however, sometimes a diagnostic test is required in order to determine whether your symptoms are truly caused by GERD or something else. An upper endoscopy is one common diagnostic procedure performed to check for signs of inflammation or damage to the lining of the esophagus, which are indicative of GERD.


What are my treatment options?

Your treatment plan will most likely consist of lifestyle modifications and medications.


Lifestyle modifications

If you are overweight or obese you may be at a higher risk for developing GERD. It’s important to lose that excess weight and to maintain a healthy weight to reduce your symptoms. Quit smoking if you are currently a smoker. Make sure to eat slowly and eat smaller meals. Don’t lie down immediately after eating and eat about three hours before going to bed.


Also, there are certain foods that can trigger heartburn symptoms including chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, tomato sauce, garlic, or fatty and spicy foods. Limit or avoid any of these foods if they are known to cause you heartburn.



Those with milder symptoms may be able to use an over-the-counter antacid or medication to manage their symptoms; however, if symptoms are moderate-to-severe, or if you have damage to the lining of the esophagus, then you’ll need a stronger medication to reduce or even prevent the production of stomach acid until the damage has healed.


If you deal with heartburn on a regular basis or can’t seem to get heartburn under control it’s important that you turn to a GI doctor who can help you find the proper treatment option to prevent digestive complications and to make mealtimes more enjoyable again.