Gastroenterology located in Northridge, CA & Encino, CA
Approximately 20% of Americans have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that can cause long-term damage to the esophagus without treatment. As a skilled gastroenterologist, Suhail Salem, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive issues such as GERD at his practice in Northridge and Encino, California. If you have persistent heartburn, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.
GERD Q & A
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?
GERD is a gastrointestinal issue characterized by persistent and chronic acid reflux. When you have acid reflux, the acid in your stomach flows back into your esophagus, irritating your esophageal lining.
Common symptoms of GERD include:
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Heartburn or chest pain after eating
- Regurgitating food or sour liquid
- Feeling like you have a lump in your throat
- Bad breath
- Nausea or vomiting
In some cases, GERD occurs at night. When this happens, it can trigger additional symptoms such as asthma, chronic cough, or laryngitis. Having GERD at night can also disrupt your sleep.
What causes GERD?
Acid reflux is a common problem, usually associated with overeating or consuming certain kinds of food. When you have GERD, your issue is because of a dysfunctional sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus that doesn’t close properly.
Several factors increase your chances of having GERD, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Going through a pregnancy
- Taking certain medications
Without treatment, GERD can cause permanent damage to your esophageal tissue. Over time, this can cause problems swallowing, painful ulcers, and increase your chances of having esophageal cancer in the future.
How is GERD diagnosed?
Dr. Salem diagnoses GERD by reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical examination. He might also recommend a series of specialized diagnostic exams based on your symptoms, including:
- Upper endoscopy to check your stomach and esophagus
- Upper GI series to look for physical abnormalities
- Esophageal pH and impedance monitoring to look for acid in your esophagus
Dr. Salem might also suggest an esophageal manometry to evaluate your esophageal muscle contractions while you swallow.
How is GERD treated?
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Salem works closely with you to develop a treatment strategy to manage your condition. This personalized approach often includes medications that work to decrease or neutralize your stomach acids and also help empty your stomach faster.
By working with Dr. Salem to effectively diagnose and manage your condition, you can reduce your risk of sustaining damage to your esophagus and developing future complications.
To find solutions for GERD, call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.