Dr. Williams is Boise's Leading GERD Surgeon

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Symptoms

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD, affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the muscle between the esophagus and stomach. The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn and acid indigestion.

Is GERD the Same Thing as Acid Reflux or Heartburn? 

Though many people use the terms acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD interchangeably, they are three different things. Acid reflux can occur because the LES is weak, causing acid to move back up into your esophagus. GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux.

Heartburn is a symptom of GERD. It occurs when the acid in your esophagus causes a burning sensation.

What Are the Symptoms of GERD in Adults?

Symptoms in adults include:

  • Bad breath
  • Damage to your teeth from the acid
  • Heartburn and chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Persistent cough
  • Regurgitation

What Are the Symptoms of GERD in Infants? 

Infants have different symptoms. They can include:

  • Trouble eating, choking and spitting up during and after meals
  • Fussiness after meals and burping
  • Not gaining weight
  • Not eating
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
gerd symptoms boise

What Are the Symptoms of GERD in Children?

Young children have the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Pain and discomfort in their chest and abdomen
  • Multiple respiratory infections and change in voice
  • Heartburn

What Procedures do General Surgeons Perform?

Although it is called "general", the doctors who practice general surgery are skilled specialty surgeons who mostly operate on abdominal complaints including hernias, appendicitis, gallbladders, stomach, and intestinal issues or breast cancer or other problems, but thyroid disease, melanoma or other skin cancers or problems, varicose veins, and subcutaneous masses and cysts are other common problems that General Surgeons treat.

Is GERD Dangerous?

If left untreated, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus. This can lead to holes in the esophagus and even ulcers.

Barrett's esophagus, another common side effect, causes changes to the lining of the esophagus and can lead to cancer of the esophagus. This is most common for people who have been dealing with GERD for many years.

How is GERD Diagnosed?

Before diagnosing GERD, most doctors recommend a lifestyle change. This includes exercising more and eating better. You should avoid spicy foods and other foods that can increase the acid in your stomach. Antacids are often used to help when the pain and burning becomes unbearable.

However, if this doesn't help, diagnostics may need to be performed. An endoscopy is used to look at your esophagus. Doctors look for inflammation and irritation. A biopsy may be taken to get a better look.

Xrays and an upper GI study may be done to get a better look at the esophagus, stomach, and the small intestines. Doctors can also measure the actual and severity of acid inside the esophagus with a pH probe inserted into the esophagus.

What Should You do if You Are Concerned That You Are Dealing with GERD?

If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) it is imperative that you seek medical advice for GERD treatment. If left untreated, GERD can cause many future medical issues from continued damage to the esophagus over a long period of time. Further damage to the esophagus can be prevented if GERD is diagnosed and treated promptly by your medical provider.

Dr. Steven Williams is known as the surgeon of choice for Hiatal Hernia / GERD, Gallbladder, Hernia, Varicose Veins and Spleen Surgery. Please contact us to set up an appointment to discover relief from your GERD symptoms.

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Straight From Dr. Williams