About GERD/Acid Reflux
While learning about the treatments for GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or acid reflux is a very important part of your research, understanding GERD within the context of your daily life can assist you in making the right treatment decision for your particular circumstance. After all, every case of acid reflux is different, so your treatment plan should be unique too.
We have provided the reflux education below to offer some insight into the many facets of GERD. The content below is not intended to substitute for medical advice. Rather, a guide to help you get the most out of your consultation with a qualified physician for more in-depth information regarding your particular case.
What is GERD or Acid Reflux?
GERD is the acronym for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Many people believe that occasional acid reflux or heartburn is GERD, however this is not quite true. Occasional heartburn, indigestion or acid reflux is quite normal. Causes of GERD may be certain foods or something as simple as a heavy cough. Even some medications can cause acid reflux. This is called GER or Gastroesophageal Reflux.
Rather, GERD is when GER becomes a disease – it is the chronic form of heartburn or acid reflux. If a patient experiences symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux often – the rule of thumb is a couple times a week or more for several weeks – they may have GERD and should see a doctor as soon as possible. Explore more about the causes, symptoms, and complications of GERD.
GERD affects the LES or Lower Esophageal Sphincter, a muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. Normally, the LES acts as a one-way valve, allowing food to enter the stomach, but preventing the acidic contents of the stomach from flowing back up into the esophagus. When the LES begins to weaken, acidic fluid can begin to reenter the esophagus, causing, often serious, discomfort. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from GERD at least once a month and many more experience GER on occasion, making acid reflux a serious lifestyle problem.
Many sufferers wait too long to begin the treatment of their GERD. Over the longer-term, untreated GERD can cause erosion of the esophageal wall, breathing problems and strictures, all of which can lead to serious complications and reduced quality of life.
For some patients surgical treatment of GERD is appropriate. For those patients, Dr. Chang offers the TIF Surgery, also known as Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication. We encourage patients interested in having a TIF Surgery with Dr. Chang to schedule an appointment at either of our offices, located in Victoria and Corpus Christi, Texas.