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, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.
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