What is GERD? If you have heartburn or reflux twice a week or more, you may have GERD. Heartburn is the most common symptom, but you may also experience:
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Frequent swallowing
- Asthma or asthma-like symptoms
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Sleep disruption (unable to sleep lying down)
- Excessive clearing of the throat
- Persistent cough
- Burning in the mouth or throat
- Intolerance of certain foods
- Dental erosions or therapy-resistant gum disease or inflammation
About 45% of the American population get acid reflux. About 10% have an acid reflux more than once a week and they experience variety of symptoms, including waking up at night with food or acid coming up in their mouth, waking up with coughing spells, day time food or acid reflux, food getting stuck in the esophagus while eating.
Why pharmaceuticals are not a long-term solution? GERD today is typically treated with medications such as histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), such as Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix. These medications can lose their effectiveness over time. They also don’t treat the underlying root causes of reflux, the deteriorated anatomy of the antireflux barrier, so life-long medication therapy is required. In addition, recent studies on the adverse effects of long-term use of PPIs indicate a significantly higher incidence of hip fractures, particularly among women.
Why are acid and food coming back up to the mouth? At the lower end of the esophagus there is a valve called lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES becomes incompetent it fails to keep acid and food in the stomach, allowing them to come up when ever there is pressure on stomach.
What is the solution or management? The best solution is to repair the diaphgmatic hernia and create a new valve around the lower esophagus. Dr. Pandya does this laparoscopically and the procedure is called laparoscopic antireflux surgery. For more information click here.
There are many medications sold by various pharmaceutical companies like Nexium, Zantac, and many others. These medications work to temporarily reduce acid production in the stomach and provide short term relief. They do not provide any lasting benefit and certainly do not correct the basic defect in the LES. It may also cause harm to those who take the medication if taken for a long period of time.
“Dr. Pandya is my knight in shinning armor. I had acid reflux and was sick all the time. If I ate, the acid would come up in my mouth and also when I was sleeping. I was throwing up a lot, losing weight and the medications were not working. I went to Dr. Pandya with my problems. He performed the special surgery and now I have no heartburn or acid reflux. Thank you, Dr. Pandya, for making me well again! Dr. Pandya has patients coming from many locations including Santa Barbara and Washington State. He can do many different surgeries like skin cancer, hernia repair, gall stone surgery, breast cancer surgery. He is the best!”
- SHIRLEY POLANEC
If you have any question regarding GERD please call (559) 782 8533 to make an appointment with Dr. Pandya.