Medhat Fanous, MD, General Surgeon, Aspirus Iron River Hospital
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common gastrointestinal disease that affects nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. Risk factors for developing GERD include being overweight or obese, pregnancy, use of certain medicines, tobacco use or regular exposure to second-hand smoke. It results from the reflux of stomach fluids into the esophagus, which exposes the esophagus to gastric acid. While some GERD patients experience mild or moderate symptoms of their disease, others have more severe manifestations that can include daily heartburn, asthma, chronic cough, hoarse voice or chest pain. Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications are commonly used to treat GERD, but more than 10 million Americans are refractory to PPI therapy and may opt for surgery.