July 4, 2011
Each week we talk with a local doctor to find out what's going around Central Virginia. Dr. William Tompkins of Blue Ridge Internal Medicine says gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD or acid reflux disease, is what's going around this week.
GERD is a condition in which the stomach acids leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus. Dr. Tompkins says symptoms include heartburn, irritation of the esophagus, chronic hoarseness and occasional or chronic cough.
GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. Doctors typically see it in overweight people.
Treatment options include Tums or Maalox for occasional discomfort. If your condition is more severe, Dr. Tompkins recommends Zantac or Pepcid or even stronger medications like Prilosec and Nexium. Laproscropic surgery may also be an option.
GERD can be prevented by keeping meals modest. It's also recommended that after eating you don't lie down until your stomach is empty, avoid heavy lifting and avoid wearing tight clothes that squeeze your stomach. Dr. Tompkins also suggests staying trim and says overweight people should shed 5-10 pounds to help control the condition.