Tag Archives: GERD

What is Barrett’s Esophagus?

Across the United States and the rest of the world, eating and drinking is not just an essential daily task, but it is also a social activity that most societies revolve around.  However, this typically enjoyable and necessary action can be extremely painful if you are suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus. This condition is a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer. If you are suffering from long-term GERD, there is a possibility you may also have Barrett’s Esophagus or will develop it. The professional gastroenterologists at Gastro Care LI have the experience necessary to diagnose and treat Barrett’s Esophagus and help you manage the effects of GERD.

The esophagus is a vital organ, which allows us to take part in the essential activities of eating and drinking. This long, muscular tube transports items from the mouth to the stomach and is one of the first steps to helping your body obtain the nutrients it needs. Many people across the country suffer from gastrointestinal problems involving the esophagus, such as GERD, which can be defined by the chronic movement of stomach acid into the esophagus. When suffering from GERD long-term, you may also develop Barrett’s Esophagus. This condition causes the normal tissue of the esophagus to change into tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. The abnormal growth of the cells that compose the esophagus is what increases the risk of esophageal cancer. An estimated 10% of all people suffering from GERD will develop Barrett’s Esophagus.

Diagnosing Barrett’s Esophagus requires an upper-endoscopy with a biopsy of the esophageal tissue. There are no symptoms that specifically indicate that someone has developed this condition, aside from those that already accompany GERD. However, the American Gastroenterological Association recommends testing if you have several of the common risk factors, including:

  • Obesity, pregnency, or other weight issues
  • Aged over 50
  • Have a hiatal hernia
  • Have had GERD for many years
  • Are male

Once you have been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus, there are several steps your gasteroenterologist may suggest in order to slow the spread of this condition. You may be prescribed medication, asked to make certain lifestyle changes, or undergo surgical procedures. Most importantly, a gastroenterologist will monitor and test for pre-cancer cells that may result from Barrett’s Esophagus.

Your gastrointestinal health is an essential part of your overall well-being. Conditions such as Barrett’s Esophagus can greatly reduce your quality of life and put you at risk for even further gastrointestinal problems. The gastroenterologists at Gastro Care LI are prepared to help you understand your risk of Barrett’s Esophagus and the best steps for you to take. To learn more about this condition or discuss other gastrointestinal needs contact them at (516) 265-7049, today.

What is GERD and how do I address it?

GERD, medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic digestive disease caused by an irritated esophagus. Usually, GERD is caused by frequent heartburn and acid reflux, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus. Frequent reflux subjects the esophagus to the strong acid from the stomach, and it can cause the esophagus to become inflamed and irritated. If this continues, the acid and inflammation can wear away the lining of the esophagus, leading to bleeding, esophageal narrowing, or even precancerous esophageal conditions. If you feel that you may be suffering from GERD, seek medical attention from a qualified gastroenterologist.

Symptoms of GERD

Besides frequent heartburn or acid reflux, there are other signs that may indicate GERD problems. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Lump in your throat
  • Dry cough

If you experience a burning chest sensation or regurgitate stomach acid more than twice a week, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. If you do not diagnose and treat GERD, problems will only continue to get worse.

Lifestyle Changes

Most cases of heartburn and acid reflux are triggered by food consumption and, particularly, foods that are highly acidic. Eating the right foods and, more importantly, avoiding the wrong foods, is essential when controlling or reducing acid reflux, and consequentially, GERD. Every person is different and not everyone’s acid reflux is triggered by the same foods. However, there are some common foods known to be more triggering when it comes to acid reflux and GERD:

  • Fried food
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Spicy food
  • Caffeine
  • Mint
  • Alcohol

Changing your diet is a great way to reduce acid reflux and GERD problems. Of course, diet alone may not be enough to treat all of your gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, your gastroenterologist may advise other changes and treatment options to combat your GERD. Some of these may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Elevating the head of your bed
  • No smoking
  • No lying down after a meal
  • Taking over-the-counter antacids or acid blockers
  • Taking prescription medication

Speak to your gastroenterologist to discuss diet and other lifestyle changes that will help you be a healthier you.

Contact Us

If you suffer from frequent acid reflux and suspect that you may be damaging your esophageal lining, contact a gastroenterologist. Dr. Rieders, Dr. Reddy and Dr. Brandon Rieders at GastroCare LI have dedicated their professional careers to helping people suffering from gastrointestinal problems. We understand how painful and debilitating these problems can be and we are here to help. To schedule an appointment or learn more about GERD, contact our office at (516) 265-7049 today.