Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in St. Louis, MO

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is the term used to illustrate the consequences of acid reflux in an individual. Acid reflux is defined by a singular episode or instance of acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus, described as heartburn.

An individual is typically diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux occurs in mild cases one or fewer times per week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux occurs at least twice a week. GERD is known to present at any time in life, but it most commonly presents around 40 years of age. If left untreated, patients have been known to eventually develop a health concern called Barrett’s esophagus. If you think you may have GERD, we urge you to request a consultation with a gastroenterologist at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location in the St. Louis, MO community as soon as possible.

Anytime we consume food, it moves through the esophagus and beyond the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to then enter the stomach. When the LES is compromised, it can weaken and fail to stop stomach acid from moving back into the esophagus. Typically, there is not a single cause that makes this happen repeatedly, still, you are at a greater risk of suffering from or developing GERD when you have one or more of the following criteria:

  • Use of tobacco
  • Lie down often after eating
  • Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
  • Drink coffee
  • Eat large meals late at night
  • Hiatal hernia (when the upper portion of the stomach extends into the diaphragm)
  • Pregnancy
  • Consume spicy foods
  • Consume raw onion or garlic
  • Use of alcohol
  • Being overweight

The main symptoms of GERD are similar to acid reflux but may be felt with greater frequency. These symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Poor-quality sleep
  • Chronic cough
  • Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
  • Lump-in-the-throat sensation
  • Laryngitis
  • Asthma
  • Dysphagia

We urge you to consult with a GI specialist at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location today if you struggle with any of the listed symptoms regularly and are in pain, or if you use OTC heartburn medication more often than twice within a week.

Managing gastroesophageal reflux disease might consist of lifestyle alterations, medical intervention, or a combination of both. Treatment options to help avoid or alleviate GERD may in St. Louis, MO patients include:

  • Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
  • Lose excess weight
  • Minimize caffeine/coffee intake
  • Over-the-counter antacids
  • Medication to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter
  • LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the junction of the stomach and esophagus)
  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Eat in moderation and slowly
  • Remain awake and stand up after eating
  • Do not consume foods and beverages prone to cause acid reflux (see those listed above)
  • Fundoplication (surgery performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
  • Do not eat a minimum of two hours prior to going to bed
  • Sleep on an incline
  • Tell your GI provider about current medications you are taking
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How can I tell if it's GERD or acid reflux?

The difference between gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux may be unclear to some. Simply put, GERD is merely acid reflux that comes about more than once a week for a longer amount of time. Should you experience heartburn or other symptoms daily or multiple times within the week, or you experience symptoms that don’t subside with over-the-counter medications, it’s possible you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

What foods should I cut from my diet if I am diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Food that heightens the collections of acid in your belly should possibly be avoided if you experience gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some of these foods are:

  • Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Sugary foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coffee, pop, and other highly caffeinated beverages
  • Foods high in fat
  • Red meat

Our Specialists in Gastroenterology team can give you more information on foods to steer clear from if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Can GERD shorten your lifespan?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is not likely to be life-threatening. It is possible that it will make day-to-day tasks harder from time to time, but you will more than likely be able to find reprieve with a good treatment method. If untreated, GERD might lead to more complicated gastrointestinal issues. Some of these conditions include esophagitis (inflammation of the lining of the esophagus) and Barrett’s esophagus, which damages the esophagus (the structure that bridges your mouth to your stomach). Obtaining the care you need for this disease can help preserve your GI health and wellness.

How long might it take for GERD to get better after treatment begins?

There are several factors that can determine how long it may take until you will begin feeling better if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease. This includes the form of medication you’re taking, the amount of damage that has occurred from your gastroesophageal reflux disease prior to this point, and how diligently you follow a diet without the foods that cause symptoms. That being said, with proper care you may see symptoms lessen as time goes on. Although you may not be able to get rid of gastroesophageal reflux disease completely, you can probably be able to manage your symptoms effectively.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an extremely common problem touching the lives of innumerable patients. With appropriate care, however, it can be managed and its distressing symptoms alleviated. If you or someone you know lives with GERD, the experienced team of GI specialists at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location near you is here to help. We encourage you to request a consultation at one of our locations to receive treatment for GERD in St. Louis, MO.

Fantastic staff. Excellent experience with Dr Root and the staff. 5 stars!

R.C. Google

Very professional and friendly staff. Dr was great - professional yet warm.

E.B. Google

Dr. Root has been such a help to me. After years of frustration GI doctor visits where I felt the doctor did not care about my situation and prescribed the bare necessity to treat the pain and not the problem. After switching over to Dr. Root I have been met with such kindness and help with my problems. I feel that he is a doctor that really cares and spends time with his patients and listens to them and their needs. He’s gone above and beyond with helping me with my issues. Thanks Dr. Root!

E.E. Google

Always friendly, knowledgable and kind.

C.H. Google

Dr Thyssen and the surgical staff from AEC were very efficient and worked together as a very pleasant team. I would have given 5 stars except my phone call to SIG a week before the colonoscopy almost made me cancel. I called SIG to get a better clarification as to the pre-colonosocpy diet. Whoever I talked to seemingly got annoyed with me asking questions and I was told to stick to no seeds or I they wouldn't be able to do the procedure. How does anyone know they consider bananas to have seeds unless it's clearly stated. I found a diet sheet online from a credible university and followed that. Please include a diet sheet for patients to follow - people's interpretation of peel and and seeds vary. AEC didn't call me until the day before the case to pre-register me. For those two items I'm knocking off a star but the surgical team were the best.

D.M. Google


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