GERD During the Holidays – Ask the Expert with Kevin Grimes, MD

what is gerd?


Thanksgiving marks a day for many to meet with family and friends to enjoy comfort food favorites. However, for those who suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), Thanksgiving can quickly turn into something people dread rather than enjoy.

GERD Awareness Week encourages people to get checked and to learn about their treatment options. GERD is marked by symptoms like heartburn or stomach acid issues.

UC Health connected with Kevin Grimes, MD, UC Health surgeon who specializes in GERD and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, to help shed light on the increasingly common condition. Dr. Grimes is the only surgeon in the United States to have completed advanced training in Japan to perform endoscopic and minimally invasive surgery for stomach and swallowing disorders.

What Is GERD?

GERD affects about 20% of people living in the United States. Symptoms can vary, which is why sometimes it can be difficult for people to pinpoint when it is occurring.

“Many people experience GERD and may not even know it,” Dr. Grimes said. “A common symptom that usually occurs is chest pain or heartburn, typically after eating. This can lead to difficulty swallowing and having a sour taste in your throat, which is food regurgitating in your esophagus that can lead to irritation in the lining of your esophagus.”

In short, GERD occurs when food residing in the stomach returns back up into the esophagus. Triggers can vary from patient to patient, but certain foods can usually cause symptoms, such as fried or fatty foods and alcoholic beverages. Symptoms can vary, but typically include:

• Chest pain.
• Difficulty swallowing.
• Heartburn.
• Acidic or bitter taste in the mouth.

Treatment Options Including New Scarless Procedure

Patients can manage GERD by diet and over-the counter medications. However, if symptoms become frequent enough, then surgery may be required to help resolve complications. With skilled physicians like Dr. Grimes, UC Health offers minimally invasive surgical options that don’t cause scars.

“We can use an endoscope procedure, which leaves no scars, to help resolve stomach or swallowing disorders that are commonly seen with GERD symptoms,” said Dr. Grimes. “This is known as a minimally invasive surgery option, which can help patients get back to their work, activities and lives much faster without having to spend too much time recovering in the hospital.”

‘Ask the Expert’

UC Health offers state-of-the-art treatment options for gastric complications. Dr. Grimes recently met with Cincinnati radio personality Brian Thomas at WKRC-AM to chat about GERD, his medical expertise for stomach and swallowing disorders and more.

Click to listen to Dr. Grimes’ “Ask the Expert” radio segment to learn about medical advances at UC Health and see how you can improve symptoms of the increasingly common GERD diagnosis as we head into the holiday season.

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