Trust Your Gut & Get GERD Under Control
Following our gut is something we do every day, but we may avoid listening to our gut when it comes to gut health.
Have you had feelings of heartburn (burning in the chest), regurgitation of food that causes acid tastes in the throat, trouble swallowing, unexplained cough or abdominal or chest pain after eating? These signs could be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
GERD is the most common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder in the United States with nearly 60 million cases in America per month. It occurs when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus and throat. More specifically, GERD is a weak or relaxed lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that is located at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus. The stomach contents pass through the LES and create heartburn. This reflux, or backflow of stomach acid, causes the typical and bothersome GERD symptoms.
GERD’s disruption in healthy digestion can interrupt vital nutrients being delivered to the body that help maintain immunity and proper brain function. The health of the GI tract is directly related to the health of other systems in the body both physically and mentally. When the gut isn’t working as it should, people can be more prone to illness and infection because of that immunity interference.
When to see a doctor about GERD
Occasional heartburn may happen to anyone, especially after eating a restaurant meal or party foods. How do you know when symptoms become more severe and it may be time to see a doctor about GERD?
“If a person is experiencing heartburn more than once weekly, having difficulty swallowing or if over- thecounter medication no longer helps, it is time to talk with your doctor,” said Carol Morris, D.O., board-certified gastroenterologist with Baptist Medical Group – Gastroenterology.
Baptist Medical Group – Gastroenterology offers a full scope of digestive health services including diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the esophagus, bowel, liver, pancreas and stomach. Specific services include treatment for:
• Persistent nausea and vomiting
• Difficulty swallowing
• Bleeding from the bowel
• Abdominal pain
• Persistent diarrhea
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Crohn’s disease
They also offer the following procedures:
• Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)