Gastroenterology is the field of medicine relating to the treatment of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenterologists focus on the treatment of diseases of the digestive system, this includes a range of organs starting at the mouth and ending at the rectum.
Gastrointestinal (GI) surgery in Trinity, Florida
We offer digestive health care that fits your unique needs.
HCA Florida Trinity Hospital's complex gastric program includes a multidisciplinary approach to treating digestive system (e.g., liver, stomach, pancreas) diseases. We help you stay close to home while getting the advanced medical and surgical care you need.
Symptoms of GERD
What's gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? It's an illness where stomach acids flow back into the esophagus. GERD signs can include:
- Acid reflux
- Chest pain
- Chronic heartburn
- Chronic non-productive dry cough
- Stomach hernia
GERD and acid reflux treatments we provide
From diagnosis through resolution of your symptoms, we provide a range of services designed to rejuvenate your digestive wellbeing.
Diagnostic testing for GERD
No matter your symptoms, in addition to the below testing, a doctor may order advanced imaging scans to provide a more comprehensive diagnosis.
Our spectrum of gastrointestinal diagnostic testing includes:
- 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring— uses a small tube passed through the nose or mouth into the stomach, where it remains in place for 24 hours, monitoring the amount and frequency of stomach acid that backs up
- Barium swallow exam— involves a series of X-rays before and after drinking a contrast material (barium) that coats the inside lining of your GI tract, making it more visible on the X-ray
- Capsule pH study— uses a temporary capsule in your esophagus to evaluate frequent heartburn and related symptoms over a 48-hour test period
- Endoscopy— involves thin, lighted tubes and a tiny camera to closely examine the lining of the esophagus, allowing your doctor to see irritation or changes to the esophagus
- Esophageal manometry— passes a tube through your mouth into your esophagus to measure the pressure created by the muscles in your esophagus
Minimally invasive outpatient treatment options for GERD
If nonsurgical treatments such as lifestyle modification and medication management have not proven effective, an outpatient procedure may be your best option. In these cases, we offer a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to treat GERD.
Heller myotomy for achalasia
This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat achalasia, a rare disorder that blocks food and liquid from passing into your stomach from your esophagus. Achalasia is the result of damaged nerves in the esophagus. During this procedure, your surgeon will cut the muscles of your lower esophageal sphincter, allowing food and liquids to effectively pass to the stomach.
Magnetic implant for reflux management
A minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, magnetic implants are a series of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores that are placed around the esophagus just above the stomach. The magnetic attraction between the beads expands the existing esophageal sphincter’s barrier function to prevent reflux. This procedure is reversible and allows you to preserve normal physiological functions, such as belching or vomiting.
This is a laparoscopic procedure in the abdomen that allows the doctor to directly see and operate on your stomach. This surgery uses small incisions to pass surgical tools into the abdomen to complete the surgery. Your surgeon will view the areas on a screen with images from a small camera in the abdomen.
Radiofrequency therapy for reflux symptoms
Radiofrequency therapy is a nonsurgical way to treat the underlying problems that may cause GERD. Performing this therapy takes about an hour, and it delivers radiofrequency energy to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus, improving the muscle tissue. The result is enhanced barrier function and fewer reflux events.
What you should know about GERD
For some people, GERD creates serious medical problems. Severe cases of GERD can lead to esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, strictures and esophageal cancer. That's why it's so important to understand if you are at risk of developing GERD.
Acid reflux vs heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, and sometimes the two terms can mistakenly be used interchangeably. While heartburn involves mild-to-severe chest pain that is sometimes mistaken for a heart attack, it has nothing to do with the heart. Instead, it takes place in your esophagus, a part of your digestive system. When acid forms in your esophagus — typically after eating — it causes a burning sensation around your breastbone, causing that chest pain.
Acid reflux occurs when the circular muscle that joins your esophagus and stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) either does not close all the way during swallowing or opens when it is not supposed to. When this occurs, stomach acid flows backwards into your esophagus, creating a burning sensation that can cause a sore throat, cough or sour taste in the mouth.
Risk factors for GERD
GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux, but its key risk factors are mostly avoidable and treatable. Get serious about your condition with your doctor if you are:
- 40 years old or older
- Frequently smoking
- In the habit of consuming alcohol, citrus, caffeine, tomato-based foods, chocolate, spicy foods or peppermint
- Regularly stooping, bending or lifting heavy objects (especially as part of your job or day-to-day life)
When heartburn is a sign of GERD
Heartburn is a common symptom that affects more than 60 million Americans each month. This is critical because heartburn is a key symptom and indicator of GERD, especially if your heartburn:
- Affects your sleep
- Has occurred regularly for several years
- Occurs twice or more a week
- Persists and becomes more severe
Do you have GERD?
If you answer "yes" to two or more of the following questions, ask your doctor about treatment options for GERD:
- Do you experience a bitter acid taste in your mouth?
- Do you experience an uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone that seems to be moving upward from the stomach?
- Do you experience heartburn or acid indigestion two or more times per week?
- Do you have a burning sensation in the back of your throat?
- Do you often experience these problems after meals?
- Do you take antacids or prescription medication to treat heartburn, but still have symptoms or experience only temporary relief?
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