Recently, Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan launched a new program to diagnose and treat individuals suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn, reflux, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

San Antonio has a high percentage of obesity, which according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, is the leading cause of frequent heartburn.

The symptoms of heartburn and reflux can eventually cause GERD, which then can lead to complications like pneumonia, recurring sinus infections, ulcers, precancerous conditions in the esophagus, and more. These complications arise from the stomach acid that individuals with GERD are constantly inhaling.

"Chronic heartburn should not be taken lightly, especially when symptoms require long-term use of heartburn medications or when heartburn medications stop working," said Dr. Nilesh A. Patel, Medical Director of the hospital's Heartburn and Reflux Program. "Heartburn has serious consequences that go way beyond affecting your lifestyle. The true risk in this scenario is esophageal cancer."

Recent studies show that the diagnosis of esophageal cancer has substantially increased over time and is associated with the oversubscription of heartburn medications. "Patients who are dependent on heartburn medications or who have breakthrough symptoms despite maximal medical therapy must be thoroughly evaluated by a comprehensive heartburn program," said Dr. Patel.

Patients can be evaluated for heartburn and reflux in Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan's Gastrointestinal Laboratory (GI Lab), which is an ideal location for this program thanks to its robotic surgical equipment and technology. The hospital's surgeons and gastroenterologists take a team approach in evaluating patients to decipher what is causing their symptoms to recommend the best treatment.

"We are dedicated to finding new services to offer our patients," said Greg Seiler, CEO of Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan. "Our new Heartburn and Reflux Program will help those suffering from their uncomfortable symptoms, and we have the equipment, technology, and expert staff to do so. We are very eager to serve the community in a new way through this comprehensive program that will provide relief to our patients."

The hospital is excited to announce the launch of this new program during GERD Awareness Week, which is November 21-27. It is a time to encourage people to address their heartburn, reflux, and GERD symptoms by seeking treatment options.

learn more about the hospital's Heartburn and Reflux Program