Dr. Patrick Hyatt of The Institute For Digestive Health & Liver Disease Discusses Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or “GERD”
While many people have had a meal that's left them with heartburn, it's important to know the difference between food that doesn't agree with you and a common ailment known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is easy to treat, according to doctors, but don't ignore the symptoms.
Before Meghan Bennett started seeing her doctor, she said she believed her pain was from an ulcer and that it was something she had to live with.
"I wouldn't be able to move. I would cripple over in pain. I spent most of the day in bed, and it would last anywhere from two to four days," she said.
Mercy gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt of The Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease discovered that Ms. Bennett didn’t have an ulcer at all, but something else.
"He told me that I had GERD and a condition called Barrett's esophagus, and without treatment through daily doses of medicine it could result in an increased chance of esophageal cancer," Bennett said.
According to Dr. Hyatt, that's the reason why people shouldn't dismiss what they're feeling because GERD can be manageable. It can have serious complications if it's not treated properly.
"Reflux refers to reflux of the stomach contents into the esophagus. Sometimes that's normal. After you eat, you're going to have a little bit of reflux. Most patients don't have any symptoms from that," Dr. Hyatt said. "GERD refers to patients who have symptoms from that, whether it be heartburn or chest pain."
For Bennett, the diagnosis was life changing.
"Considering what an impact it had on my daily routine, I can't even imagine what my life would be like without the correct diagnosis and treatment because it used to debilitate me," she said.
These days, she can't have that. Since getting her GERD under control, she's become a mother and needs to stay healthy to keep up with her 9-month-old son, as well as to do her job as a second-grade math teacher.
Bennett said if it weren't for medication and regular checkups, the life she currently knows wouldn't be so fulfilling.
View Dr. Patrick Hyatt’s interview regarding reflux disease, GERD, Barrett’s esophagus and related issues.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.