Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Illinois

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the term we use to describe the common occurrence of acid reflux. Acid reflux is defined by a singular episode or experience of acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus, referred to as heartburn.

A patient in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Normal, IL, is usually diagnosed with GERD when acid reflux happens in mild cases one or fewer times a week or when moderate-to-severe acid reflux is experienced at least two times per week. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can develop at any age, but it often develops about the age of 40. If neglected, people may eventually progress to a health concern referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. If you're suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease, we urge you to request a consultation with a gastrointestinal (GI) provider at GI Alliance of Illinois.

Whenever we ingest food, it passes through the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to then enter the stomach. Anytime the LES is compromised, it can weaken and fail to prevent stomach acid from regurgitating back into the esophagus. Usually, there is not a single catalyst that encourages this to happen. An individual in Illinois is at greater risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease if they've experienced any of these criteria:

  • Being overweight
  • Hiatal hernia (when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm)
  • Lie down often after eating
  • Eat raw onion or garlic
  • Consume large meals late at night
  • Coffee consumption
  • Use of tobacco
  • Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
  • Eat spicy foods
  • Use of alcohol
  • Pregnancy

To learn more about the causes of GERD, schedule a consultation with our GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois.

The primary indications of GERD are quite like acid reflux but may be felt more frequently. Those symptoms can include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Chronic cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Bloating
  • Lump-in-the-throat sensation
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
  • Asthma

We encourage patients in Illinois to book a meeting with a gastroenterologist at GI Alliance of Illinois as soon as possible if they have any of these symptoms regularly or are in pain, or if they take over-the-counter heartburn medication more often than two times per week.

Managing gastroesophageal reflux disease might include lifestyle alterations, medical intervention, or both. Treatments to prevent or reduce GERD can in Chicago, IL patients include:

  • Tell your GI specialist about the current medications you are taking
  • Do not eat foods and drinks prone to cause acid reflux (see the list above)
  • Stay awake and stand up after eating
  • Lose excess weight
  • Do not eat at least two hours before bedtime
  • Fundoplication (surgical procedure performed to wrap the stomach around the LES)
  • Minimize coffee/caffeine intake
  • Prescription-strength antacids (H-2 receptor blockers)
  • Avoid smoking
  • Medication to strengthen the LES
  • Eat slowly and in moderation
  • Sleep on an incline
  • LINX® device (magnetic beads wrapped around the area where the esophagus and stomach connect)
  • Non-prescription antacids
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What is the difference between acid reflux and GERD?

Pinpointing the differences between gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux may seem challenging. However, GERD is essentially acid reflux that persists more frequently for a longer period of time. In the event you experience heartburn or other symptoms either daily or multiple times within a week, or you have symptoms that do not subside with over-the-counter options, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

What foods should I stay away from if I am diagnosed with GERD?

Food that heightens the development of acid in the stomach should likely be avoided if you are diagnosed with GERD. Some of these items can include:

  • Coffee, pop, and other caffeinated beverages
  • Foods high in fat
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Salty or peppery foods
  • Red meat
  • Citrus fruits

Our GI Alliance of Illinois team can provide further information on foods to reduce or cut from your diet if you experience gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Is GERD a life-threatening condition?

GERD is typically not life-threatening. It could make daily tasks more unpleasant at times, but you will likely be able to find some alleviation of symptoms with treatment. In the absence of care, gastroesophageal reflux disease might lead to additional GI issues. These include esophagitis (inflammation of the esophageal lining) and Barrett’s esophagus, which may damage the esophagus (the structure that bridges the mouth to the stomach). Getting the treatment required for this condition can help preserve your GI health.

How long can it take for GERD to improve after starting treatment?

Several factors may impact how quickly the effects of GERD improve once treatment begins. This includes the kind of medication you are taking, the damage that has occurred from GERD prior to diagnosis, and how diligently you avoid consuming foods that trigger your symptoms. With treatment, however, you will probably notice that symptoms lessen as time goes on. Even though you might not be able to eliminate GERD entirely, you can likely manage its effects successfully.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an extremely common problem touching the daily lives of many people. With professional medical treatment, however, it can be treated and its unpleasant symptoms minimized. If you or someone you know is dealing with GERD, the board-certified team of gastroenterologists at GI Alliance of Illinois is ready to help. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at our facility to find treatment for GERD in Illinois.

Finding a doctor whom you can fully trust and rely about your health is one delicate task. For my husband Steve and I, I did ask recommendations from friends and others I know. I did go farther than that by going to a website that can tell me more about the person like what school where he graduated, where he did his residency, if there is any lawsuit against him. Having these informations is only a part of the equation but are solid enough to hold unto for a start. With all the names I was recommended and my own researched, I chose Dr. Walter Reid Glaws, DO. I started seeing him on the 3rd quarter of 2008. My husband followed my lead a year later. Dr. Glaws is been our gastroenterologist for over 14 years. We highly and absolutely recommend Dr Glaws to anyone who is in need of his expertise. He has the integrity, intelligence, energy and unwavering dedication to do his job the best he can. He has the excellent physician manners to his patients, full of compassion and understanding and takes his time to explain to his patients things they needed to know. Our honest observations of him for over 14 long years is that his patient's well being is his foremost goal as a physician. Deep in his heart, we noticed he takes his ( Hipocrates Oath seriously when taking care his patients. He had performed multiple endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures to us through the years. He had done several biopsies and and several polyps removals too. I underwent GERD treatment and was a success as well. In 2009, he found in my endoscopy procedure that I have nodules in my stomach wall. I went to see a surgeon (and got 4 more different opinions from other surgeons who aren't related to one another) that led me to have a partial gastrectomy. After my successful stomach surgery, we continued to go visit him for any gastroenterology issues we have. He moved in 2018 from the clinic where we used to go see him that is just 7 minutes away from our residence. He moved quite from us to other branches of his practice group. I went to see another one but I don't see those same qualities he have so we decided to follow him. My husband and I, just have our 2 endoscopy and 2 colonoscopy procedures with him this Dec. of 2022. Again, as always his service was unparallel. We can boldly say, we owe him so much of our good health in his expertise and that we're so appreciative for all he had done for us and for many more years to come. His office employees are awesome and so helpful and kind. The Northshore Endoscopy Center in Waukegan where we have our back to back procedures is a great place to go. The employees- from front desk, nurses, anesthesiologist, and everyone in the there were amazing and compassionate. May God bless Dr Glaws, his family and the people who work with him always. Thank you greatly to you all. Respectfully Yours, Evangeline Evanston, IL.

E.B. Google

This doc….changed my life… My Gerd symptoms, my skin conditions…. This doc through diet recommendations cleared up my skin And through a minimally invasive surgery (after months of alternative testing) helped me overcome my acid reflux, look into this guy, he might be able to help you!

K.L. Google

Dr D'Astice is a wonderfull Dr. been with him for a few years now. Before him I was sick all the time with gerd. He takes time to listen to his patients I highly recommend him hes a great Dr.

D.J. Google

I used Dr. Victor for a second opinion on my GERD issues. He took plenty of time with my details and test results and gently gave me his perspective and what his plan of action would be. Very helpful. I have never gotten a second opinion before but I was so glad I did. I will use him for any gastro issues I have moving forward.

C.B. Google

Dr.Lee has been my Gastrointerologyest for over twenty years,, and also treats many of my Family members and friends. Do to His careful monitoring of my Gerd issues , He caught a change in my Esophagus and through His quick actions I was immediately treated for early stage Esophageal Cancer , with great results . I'm Five years post operative and Cancer free, this outcome was only do to His quick action and supervision of my treatment.

P.H. Google


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