Gastrologists in Jacksonville, FL

We all sometimes get heartburn after eating, but if you have that painful, burning sensation in your chest on a regular basis, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux disease. Memorial Hospital Jacksonville uses a comprehensive approach to diagnose and treat acid reflux disease. By combining highly skilled physicians with the latest technology, we are committed to helping patients find relief from GERD.

For more information about GERD treatment and our gastroenterology services, call us at (904) 702-4373, or (904) 702-GERD.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) consists of heartburn and acid reflux occurrences that happen at least 3 times a week and cannot be treated through dietary and other lifestyle changes. Patients with GERD have a damaged lower esophageal sphincter, or LES—the valve situated at the bottom of the esophagus, closing off the esophagus from the stomach.

When the esophageal sphincter malfunctions, the valve cannot work properly. This results in highly acidic digestive juices rising up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and acid reflux.

Effects of GERD and acid reflux

If GERD or acid reflux is left untreated, serious complications can occur, including inflammation and ulceration in the esophagus. These complications can lead to difficulty swallowing and chronic GERD. Chronic acid reflux has been linked to Barrett's esophagus, which is a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.

Symptoms of GERD and acid reflux

Some symptoms commonly associated with GERD and acid reflux are:

  • Asthma
  • Bloating
  • Burning in the mouth or throat
  • Dental erosion, gum disease or inflammation
  • Excessive clearing of the throat
  • Food intolerances
  • Frequent swallowing
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Persistent cough
  • Sleep disruption

Risk factors for GERD and acid reflux

The most common risk factors for developing GERD or chronic acid reflux are:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a hiatal hernia
  • Being pregnant
  • Being a smoker

Symptoms of GERD may also be aggravated by lying down after eating a heavy meal or by consuming alcohol, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, coffee, fatty foods, spicy foods or tomatoes.

Diagnosing GERD and acid reflux

These are some of the tests we commonly use to diagnose GERD and acid reflux:

  • Endoscopy—a procedure using an endoscope to look inside the body
  • Barium swallow exam—an X-ray examination to view the back of mouth and throat
  • Bravo pH monitoring—a minimally invasive test to evaluate whether acid from the stomach is refluxing into the esophagus
  • Esophageal manometry—a test used to identify problems with pressure and movement in the esophagus

How do you treat GERD and acid reflux?

If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic heartburn or conditions such as acid reflux or GERD, we are ready to provide the care you need. Methods we use to treat GERD and acid reflux include:

  • Heller myotomy—a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat achalasia, which is a disorder of the esophagus that makes it hard for foods and liquids to pass into the stomach
  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication—a minimally invasive procedure used to restore function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach) by wrapping the stomach around the esophagus
  • Lower esophageal sphincter augmentation—a procedure where a small device called a LINX is implanted to tighten the opening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and stop reflux, allowing you to eat normally
  • Radiofrequency ablation—a procedure in which the inner lining of the esophagus containing precancerous cells is removed using high radiofrequency waves