Heartburn Program

Wythe County Community Hospital now offers treatment for serious conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus, hiatal hernia, and voice disorders caused by acid reflux and other swallowing disorders.

In addition to anti-reflux surgery, Wythe County Community Hospital offers the innovative capsule-based BravoTM reflux testing system which evaluates the frequency and duration of acid reflux to better understand patients’ symptoms. This diagnostic solution features an up to 96-hour monitoring period, supporting greater test sensitivity increasing detection of symptoms.

Heartburn and indigestion are very common symptoms caused by a disorder known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

GERD affects nearly 30 million Americans and, when left untreated, can cause serious problems such as ulcers, bleeding, and esophageal narrowing.

Over time, with repeated exposure to stomach acid, the cells of the esophagus change and could even lead to cancer.

Studies show that GERD can aggravate, or even cause, asthma, pulmonary disorders, and chronic cough, chronic sore throats, and hoarseness.  Over-the-counter remedies can mask the symptoms and provide temporary relief; however, damage to the esophagus can continue and worsen.

GERD occurs when the bottom sphincter muscle of the esophagus (the tube that carries food to your stomach) doesn't close properly, allowing some of the contents of the stomach to reflux and leak back into the esophagus.  When stomach acid is washed back into the esophagus it can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat, cough, chest pain, and bad breath.

Heartburn (acid reflux) affects most of us at some point. But for many adults (and some children), the symptoms and their frequency can be more severe. If untreated, serious health problems can result. 

Heartburn Self-Assessment

Knowing the symptoms of chronic heartburn and associated diseases will help you understand your risk. Symptoms in adults include:

• Painful burning in the upper chest or stomach, just below the breastbone

• Bitter or acid taste in the mouth

• Chest pain

• Regurgitation

• Difficulty sleeping after eating

• A dry cough, sore throat, or chronic hoarseness

• Asthma, wheezing, or chronic cough

• Difficulty swallowing, or feeling of something sticking in the throat

• Gingivitis, tooth decay, or bad breath

For children, symptoms may include:

• Refusing to eat or fussiness at meals

• Vomiting after eating

• Belching

• Hiccups

• Frequent coughing and/or choking, especially at night

• Frequent colds/upper respiratory infections

• Wheezing or rattling in the chest

• Waking up frequently with a sore throat

• Sour taste in the mouth

• Sleepwalking

If you suffer from chronic heartburn, acid reflux, or similar symptoms, you may have a disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Take our GERD SYMPTOM TRACKER and discuss the answers with a physician so together you can take the first step towards treatment.

Treatment Options

No matter how serious your reflux or related condition may be, effective treatments are available. These can start with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or changing your diet. Avoiding certain foods and beverages–citrus, tomato products, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and spicy meals, to name a few—can make a big difference for mild to moderate sufferers. If symptoms persist despite lifestyle changes, over-the-counter and prescription medications are often the next resort. Severe symptoms may require a surgical procedure. 

If you have acid reflux or related symptoms, contact our Physician Referral Line at 1.800.424.DOCS (3627) to make an appointment with a physician to further evaluate your patient.

Together, we can improve the management of GERD and help you take the next step towards treatment.