Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the United States. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly, and stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus.
Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ring of muscle located at the end of the esophagus leading into the stomach, acts as a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus to prevent food and harmful gastric acid from entering the esophagus.
When gastric acid touches the lining of the esophagus, there is a burning sensation in the chest or throat. This burning sensation is referred to as heartburn. When you can taste the acid in the back of your throat, it is referred to as acid indigestion.
If you have heartburn occasionally, you do not necessarily have GERD. Occasional heartburn is common, but it is not considered GERD. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be GERD.
At Yale Bariatric/Gastrointestinal Surgery, our innovative surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures, many of which are at the leading edge of gastrointestinal surgery, to treat GERD. Our multidisciplinary team works collectively to create personalized treatment plans that provide the best options for each patient, reflecting his or her specific condition and individual needs.