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Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) with Dr. Malek's Office: A Common Condition with Serious Implications

 Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a prevalent condition that affects millions of people worldwide, particularly in the United States, where it is estimated that approximately 20% of the population suffers from it. GERD is characterized by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, leading to symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and, in severe cases, esophagitis.

What is GERD and Why Does It Occur?

GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus – becomes weakened or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. This acid reflux can cause inflammation and damage to the esophageal lining, known as esophagitis. Factors contributing to GERD include obesity, pregnancy, smoking, certain medications, and dietary habits.

Symptoms of GERD

The symptoms of GERD can vary from mild to severe and can significantly impact quality of life. Common symptoms include:

  • Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest, often after eating, which might be worse at night.

  • Regurgitation: A sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into the throat or mouth.

  • Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing.

  • Chest Pain: Sometimes mistaken for a heart attack.

  • Chronic Cough: Especially at night.

  • Hoarseness: Particularly in the morning.

The Link Between GERD and Weight

Weight Loss

One of the notable connections to GERD is body weight. Studies have shown that excess weight, particularly abdominal fat, can increase pressure on the stomach and LES, exacerbating acid reflux. Therefore, weight loss is often recommended as a primary strategy for managing GERD symptoms.

Our weight loss program at Dr. Malek's Office is designed not only to help patients achieve a healthier weight but also to alleviate GERD symptoms, potentially reducing the need for medication and improving overall well-being.

Risk Factors and Complications

Chronic, untreated GERD can lead to serious health complications, including:

  • Esophagitis: Inflammation that can cause ulcers and bleeding.

  • Strictures: Narrowing of the esophagus due to scar tissue, leading to swallowing difficulties.

  • Barrett's Esophagus: A condition where the esophageal lining changes, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.

  • Esophageal Cancer: Although rare, chronic GERD can lead to adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing GERD typically involves a review of symptoms and may include tests such as an upper endoscopy, esophageal pH monitoring, and manometry. Once diagnosed, the treatment strategy for GERD can be tailored to the individual's needs and may include:

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Dietary changes (avoiding trigger foods such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol), eating smaller meals, not lying down immediately after eating, and elevating the head of the bed. Weight loss is particularly important for those who are overweight or obese, as losing weight can significantly reduce GERD symptoms.

  • Medications: Over-the-counter antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can reduce stomach acid and relieve symptoms.

  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical options such as fundoplication may be considered to strengthen the LES.

Primary Care Consultation

Seeking Help and Managing GERD

If you suspect you have GERD, it is crucial to seek a medical evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and improve your quality of life. At Dr. Malek's Office, we offer comprehensive evaluations to determine the best strategy for managing GERD, including diet and lifestyle modifications, medication, and surgical options if necessary. Additionally, our weight loss program can be a valuable resource for those whose GERD symptoms are exacerbated by excess weight.

By addressing GERD and its underlying causes, you can reduce the risk of serious complications and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable life. We encourage you to request an appointment with our team to discuss your symptoms and explore how we can help you manage GERD effectively. This could also be an excellent opportunity to join our weight loss program, benefiting your overall health and well-being.

Take the first step towards better health today – contact us to schedule your consultation.


For more information about our services, contact us directly:

📱+1 833 649 0975

📞 +1 812-402-3700

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Visit our office at:

📍 East Side: 4972 Lincoln Ave. Suite 101, Evansville IN 47715

📍 North Side: 2522 Waterbridge Way, Evansville, IN, USA 47710


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