Many people experience heartburn, which can be a symptom of a more serious, chronic disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Sometimes over-the-counter medications help, but the relief can be only temporary.
Located in downtown San Antonio, Methodist Hospital Metropolitan specializes in treating GERD. Our physicians offer the latest technology and treatments to care for patients with heartburn and reflux.
What is GERD?
Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus. GERD symptoms can be painful, and if left untreated, the disease can harm the digestive system.
If you have symptoms of GERD, take the questionnaire below to determine the next steps for a personalized treatment plan to help you get back to the best possible quality of life.
Fill out the short questionnaire below.
Advanced treatment options
Our program comprises GI specialists, nurses, and surgeons who diagnose and treat heartburn and reflux as a team. Our registered dieticians and nurses perform diagnostic testing, and our surgeons perform minimally invasive laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery. These procedures help our patients live life more comfortably, and our experience allows us to care for even the most complex of GERD cases.
Diagnostic testing for GERD
If your physician thinks you may have GERD based on your symptoms and medical history, they may refer you to Methodist Hospital Metropolitan. We offer various tests to best diagnose your condition, including:
24-hour esophageal pH monitoring
The 24-hour pH monitoring system is the best way to diagnose reflux. In this test, doctors pass a small tube through the nose and down the esophagus. The tube is in place for 24 hours and monitors the level and frequency of stomach acid that moves into the esophagus.
Placing the catheter takes about five to 10 minutes. You can leave the hospital and come back the next day to have the tube removed. During the test, you will be able to swallow, talk and breathe normally. We'll provide you with a diary for you to record your activities like eating and sleeping. You should also note any heartburn, chest pain or regurgitation that you may experience.
Barium swallow exam
This exam consists of a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestine. The X-rays will be taken before and after you drink a liquid containing barium. The barium will coat the inside of your GI tract, allowing us to see it on the X-ray. This exam will also reveal other potential issues such as hiatal hernias.
For this procedure, a thin, lighted tube with a small camera is moved down the throat to the esophagus and stomach. An endoscopy allows doctors to analyze the lining of your esophagus and see any irritation or changes to your esophagus. We can also perform an ultrasound to better assess your condition.
Esophageal pH monitoring
This minimally invasive test evaluates your frequent heartburn and related symptoms. A doctor temporarily places a capsule into your esophagus, and it will monitor your pH and acid production for the next 48 hours. The capsule sends pH data to a small receiver that is worn on your waist or wrist.
We will provide you with a diary to note the times that you experience reflux symptoms, such as heartburn, coughing, or regurgitation. This procedure is catheter-free, so you can go about your day as normal.
Other GERD diagnostic tests
A doctor may also order an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), abdominal ultrasound, gastric emptying, or hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan to further diagnose your condition.
Minimally invasive treatment options
If nonsurgical GERD treatments like lifestyle changes or medication management have not helped, an outpatient procedure might be the best form of treatment for you.
The following are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that we offer to treat GERD:
Radiofrequency ablation for Barrett's esophagus
This outpatient procedure can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer if a patient has a condition called Barrett's esophagus as a result of GERD. During this procedure, patients swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tube that sends images of the inside of your esophagus, allowing your doctor to see which areas need treatment.
Doctors will then insert a catheter into the esophagus to deliver energy to the abnormal tissue to prevent abnormal cells from developing into cancer.
This therapy sends radiofrequency energy to the muscle between your stomach and esophagus, which will then improve the muscle tissue, resulting in less frequent reflux. Stretta therapy treats any underlying issues that may cause GERD without the need for surgery.
Fundic-sparing anti-reflux treatment
During this minimally invasive procedure, doctors implant magnetic beads around the esophagus just above the stomach. They help keep the valve to the stomach closed to prevent reflux. When patients swallow, the beads open the valve to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.
This reversible procedure will still allow you to have normal functions like vomiting or belching.
This laparoscopic procedure repairs the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Doctors use small incisions and a camera to view the area that needs to be repaired, which means a quicker recovery time and fewer complications.
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Visiting Methodist Hospital Metropolitan
Methodist Hospital Metropolitan is located off of McCullough Avenue in downtown San Antonio. We offer a parking garage for patients and visitors. Once you walk through the main entrance, one of our team members can direct you to your appointment.
Heartburn and reflux at Methodist Healthcare
Heartburn and reflux are conditions that commonly affect the gastrointestinal system. Reflux, also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus and into the mouth. Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest, is a symptom of reflux.Learn about Heartburn and reflux