Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia
General Surgeries located in Reston, VA
You’re not alone if you experience heartburn on a consistent basis. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes the burning sensation in your chest, affects more than 23 million Americans. The experienced team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia in Reston, Virginia, specializes in the treatment of GERD and offers nonsurgical and surgical solutions to ease your symptoms. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book online today.
GERD Q & A
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
GERD is a chronic condition in which the acidic contents from your stomach reflux up into your esophagus. Normally, after you swallow food, the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) opens to allow food to pass, then closes very quickly to prevent fluids from the stomach from refluxing into the esophagus.
If you have GERD, your valve isn’t working like it should and not closing all the way, allowing the stomach contents to regurgitate up. Over time, the acidic and non-acidic contents from your stomach damage the esophageal tissue and may increase your risk of developing other health conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
What causes GERD?
You may develop GERD from a number of causes. Some of the most common include:
Some children are born with a valve that doesn’t work properly. However, most children outgrow the condition or receive treatment during infancy.
Injury to the upper chest
An injury to the upper chest may cause the valve to “stretch” out of shape. Sports-related injuries and traumatic accidents are the most common cause.
Overweight and obesity
Being overweight or obese increases pressure on the valve, which may weaken the valve.
As you get older, muscle strength and integrity decrease, which increases your risk of GERD.
A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of your stomach protrudes up through your weakened diaphragm. GERD symptoms are common in those with a hiatal hernia.
What are GERD symptoms?
Heartburn is the most common GERD symptom. However, your GERD may cause a number of other symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Reflux-related sleep disorders
- Yellow fluid or stains on your pillow after sleeping
- Intolerance to certain foods or beverages
- Frequent swallowing
- Asthma or asthma-like symptoms
- Excessive throat clearing
- Persistent cough
- Burning in your mouth or throat
- Dental erosion or therapy-resistant gum disease
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, contact the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia to discuss the treatment options that can alleviate your discomfort and reduce the risk of other health complications.
How is GERD treated?
Treatment for your GERD may depend on the severity of your symptoms. Your treatment plan may include:
- Diet modification
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Prescription-strength medications
If a medical intervention fails to improve your GERD or your GERD symptoms are severe, the team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia may suggest a surgical procedure called Nissen fundoplication. During the procedure, your surgeon takes the upper curve of your stomach and wraps it around your esophagus, which gives your valve extra muscle support to prevent the reflux.
The surgical experts at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia perform the Nissen fundoplication using a minimally invasive approach to reduce incision size, recovery time, and surgical risk.
To learn more about your treatment options for GERD, contact the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia by phone or online today.