What’s acid reflux and GERD?
Acid reflux happens when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus.
It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux.
If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might
have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According
to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), GERD affects about 20 percent of people in the United States.
If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious complications.
Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which
can radiate up toward your neck. This feeling is often known as heartburn.
If you have acid reflux, you might develop a sour or bitter taste at the
back of your mouth. It might also cause you to regurgitate food or liquid
from your stomach into your mouth. In some cases, GERD can cause difficulty
swallowing. It can sometimes lead to breathing problems, like a chronic
cough or asthma.
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle at the
end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and
opens when you swallow. Then it tightens and closes again afterwards.
Acid reflux happens when your LES doesn’t tighten or close properly.
This allows digestive juices and other contents from your stomach to rise
up into your esophagus.
Risk factors for GERD
- Hiatal Hernia
- Delayed stomach emptying
- eating large meals or eating late at night
- drinking alcohol or caffeine
GERD can often times be diagnosed based on a history and physical examination
alone. To confirm the diagnosis of GERD, check for complications associated
with GERD or prior to considering reflux surgery your physician might
recommend additional testing that is all available at St. Joseph Medical
Center. This testing includes:
Upper endoscopy: A thin tube with a camera and a light is inserted down
your throat so your physician can examine the inside of your stomach and
esophagus. They will be looking for evidence of reflux disease, complications
of reflux disease or to obtain biopsies.
Esophageal manometry: A thin catheter with pressure sensors is inserted
through your nares and into your esophagus. These sensors measure muscle
contractions and LES pressures during swallowing.
pH testing: A sensor is placed into your esophagus to identify if, and
for how long stomach acid regurgitates into your esophagus.
GERD treatment options
GERD can be managed with dietary/lifestyle changes, medications that help
reduce stomach acid production or surgical correction of the abnormal
LES. Common medications used to treat GERD include proton pump inhibitors
(PPI's) or H2 receptor antagonists (H2RA). Possible surgical options
include gastric bypass surgery, fundoplication or the new LINX procedure.
If GERD can't be managed with dietary/lifestyle changes or medications
then surgical correction may be appropriate. Other indications to consider
surgical corrections include: intolerable side-effects from PPI or H2RA
therapy, the desire to avoid long-term medications or people with large
A Revolutionary Treatment for Reflux Disease: Linx
Reflux sufferers, meet LINX® — a revolutionary treatment for
reflux. It’s a simple device with life-changing potential. LINX®
is intended for patients diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
(GERD) as defined by abnormal pH testing, and who are seeking an alternative
to continuous acid suppression therapy. Continue on to learn more about
this small device and its results. Requires no permanent anatomic alteration
to restore the reflux barrier.* The LINX Reflux Management System is a
flexible ring of small magnets placed around the LES during a minimally
invasive procedure. The strength of the magnets helps keep the LES closed
to prevent reflux. When patients swallow, the LINX Reflux Management System
opens temporarily to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.
Want to learn more? Call our Heart Burn & Reflux Center at 816-943-2687
Your Care Team:
Scott Robert Holmes, DO
Dr. Holmes received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas
with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. He received his medical degree
from Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience. His Internal Medicine
Residency and his Geriatric and Gastroenterology Fellowships were completed
at Saint Louis University and Saint Louis University Medical Center.
Dr. Holmes is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.
10116 W. 105th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
Phone: (913) 495-9600
Fax: (913) 599-0951
Jonathan Patterson, MD
Dr. Jonathan Patterson is a native of Blue Springs, MO. He earned his undergraduate
and medical degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed
his residency in general surgery at Truman Medical Center and Saint Luke’s
Hospital of Kansas City. Dr. Patterson is board certified in general surgery
by the American Board of Surgery.
United Surgical Associates of Kansas City
St. Joseph Medical Center
Multispecialty Suite, 201, Building C-East
1000 Carondelet Drive
Kansas City, MO 64114
PHONE: (816) 254-9292