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'GERD' posts

Dysphagia - what it is, what can be done, and why you should speak with your provider if you have trouble swallowing

Dysphagia. This is the technical medical term for difficulty swallowing which is a common complaint. Most people have experienced this sensation in their lives. It can occur when you’re eating something doughy like a bagel or French bread and then take few extra bites before swallowing. If you immediately swallow several times in a row you may get the sensation that the food is slowly passing toward your stomach. Your mouth may salivate; you might get a pressure sensation behind your breastbone; you might experience some pain, burning or discomfort. And, then you will feel instant relief the second the food you swallowed passes from the esophagus into the stomach. This is dysphagia.

For most people, this experience occurs very occasionally and usually when we are trying to eat too much, too quickly.

However, for some patients this symptom may occur more frequently such as daily and sometimes as often as every bite of food. It may also occur with solid food alone or with both solids and liquids. Most people will hope that the symptom will resolve by itself. Over time, they will often change the way they eat to avoid the symptom. They will eat slowly and chew their food till it resembles a paste, or they will use water to make things runny which then allows the food to pass.

What is interesting is that patients are reluctant to see or discuss this symptom with their physicians. In the last few months, I have seen patients who have had the symptom of dysphagia anywhere from 1 year to 40 years before they believed it was important enough to seek medical advice. The simple truth is that dysphagia that happens regularly or requires changes in the way you eat should be reported to a physician to determine the cause of the trouble.

What causes dysphagia?

There ...

GERD: Something not to be thankful for at Thanksgiving

It is that time of the year when we get together with family and friends at Thanksgiving to eat heaping platefulls of turkey with greasy gravy, green bean casserole and rich pumpkin pie with whipped cream. How about seconds! This can be a difficult scenario for someone with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with GERD may be bothered with very troublesome symptoms after ingesting large amounts of rich food.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, as it is commonly called, is a condition where you are bothered by burning chest pain behind their breast bone. This commonly occurs after meals or during the night. You also may experience regurgitation of gastric contents up into the throat, causing coughing and difficulty breathing. It may be common for many people who usually do not have GERD problems to have some GERD symptoms following a large Thanksgiving meal. Other people, however, may have these symptoms on a much more frequent basis.

What causes GERD?

With the swallowing process, food ...

Upcoming GERD talk at Swedish Issaquah on 9/26

LINX has arrived at Swedish! After several months of preparation, we will be implanting the first 3 LINX devices on September 21, 2012. For our 3 adventurous patients, we are excited to see them have their GERD controlled with the LINX and also hope that it meets their expectations.

To learn more about this procedure and others options for managing GERD, you may wish to come and hear my partners Dr. Ralph Aye and Dr. Alex Farivar talk at Swedish Issaquah on September 26th, 2012. For more information and to register for the 9/26 GERD class, click here.

Update on 9/23: I am happy to report that our patients who have received the LINX device are all doing well.

Free Class on Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux at Swedish/Issaquah on Sept. 26

ISSAQUAH, WASH., Sept. 13, 2012 – On Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Swedish/Issaquah (751 NE Blakely Drive, Issaquah) a free community health education program will be given by two experts in esophageal conditions. The 90-minute class will examine causes of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as offer practical steps for personal management and treatment.

A new treatment for GERD: The LINX - Reflux Management System

Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion are all forms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This common problem afflicts over 20 million people in the United States on a daily basis. As a surgeon who treats patients with some of the most severe symptoms of GERD, I was recently struck by the fact that very little has changed in the treatment of the debilitating problem over the last several decades.

Medications have always been the primary treatment for patients with GERD. TUMS, Rolaids, alka seltzer are easy over the counter remedies that could provide instant but only short-term relief. More potent medications called H2 receptor antagonists (commonly known as Zantac, Pepcid AC) brought about longer lasting relief. These medications were great but many patients experienced a relapse of symptoms.

The newest medications for GERD...

GERD and Esophageal Cancer

April is esophageal cancer awareness month and I was stimulated by two patients I saw recently to highlight the association of esophageal cancer with chronic GERD (heartburn, acid reflux) and the over the counter treatments people take for GERD.

Why am I writing about this? To highlight three common issues I hear everyday:

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