Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.  Many people experience acid reflux from time to time. GERD is mild acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week, or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs at least once a week.

Most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But some people with GERD may need stronger medications or surgery to ease symptoms.

Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which might be worse at night
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat

If you have nighttime acid reflux, you might also experience:

  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Disrupted sleep

Longstanding reflux can cause many problems including Barrett’s esophagus, esophagitis, and even esophageal cancer.

Diagnosis
At Gastroenterology Consultants of Greater Lowell, we have a full complement of diagnostic tools to diagnose GERD including 24-hour pH-impedence testing and upper endoscopy.

Treatment
If you do have GERD, be aware that longstanding proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use – such as omeprazole, Nexium, or Prilosec – has been associated with dementia, kidney failure, pneumonia, GI infections, and more.  We are one of only a few centers in Massachusetts offering endoscopic non-surgical methods for controlling reflux to minimize or even eliminate the need for anti-acid medication such as transoral incisionless fundoplication.

If you have uncontrolled GERD or wish to pursue options that may eliminate the need for medications, call us at 978-459-6737 or click here to request an appointment.