Treating the Digestive System
Gastroenterologists at Palmdale Regional Medical Center diagnose and treat diseases of the stomach, intestines and related organs, including the esophagus, stomach, liver and pancreas. These physicians are highly trained and educated on biliary tract disease (gall stones), pancreatic diseases and inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease).
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as Acid Reflux Disease, affects millions of Americans. GERD occurs when stomach acids or intestinal bile leak back from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube that runs from the mouth to the stomach), a process called gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux can irritate the esophagus, cause heartburn and other symptoms and can damage the esophagus.
When people eat, food passes from the throat to the stomach through the esophagus. After food has passed into the stomach, a ring of muscle fibers called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, prevents food from moving backward into the esophagus. If this sphincter muscle doesn't close completely, food, liquid and stomach acid can leak back into the esophagus. This is called reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux may cause symptoms, or it can even damage the esophagus.
Heartburn is the most common symptom, but other symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Excessive throat clearing
- Persistent cough
- Burning in the mouth or throat
Medication, diet and lifestyle changes are the most common treatment options for GERD. While these treatments can alleviate symptoms, they typically do not solve the problem or halt progression of disease. Even with medications, you may still need to restrict your diet.
Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF)
Surgery may be an option to treat severe GERD. Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) is a surgical procedure that offers relief from acid reflux without surgical incisions by using robotic-assisted equipment and is available at Palmdale Regional Hospital.
Endoscopy is a medical technique in which physicians use a device called an endoscope inside the body and inside hollow organs. Endoscopes consist of a rigid or flexible tube with a lens at one end that transmits images to a computer or video monitor.
Palmdale Regional has a full endoscopy unit where physicians use advanced endoscopic technology to help diagnose and treat disorders of the intestinal tract.
Barrett’s esophagus occurs when cells in the lower esophagus are affected by chronic exposure to acid. Because of its strong association with esophageal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus is considered a pre-cancerous disease. Palmdale Regional Medical Center is pleased to offer the Barrx™ radiofrequency ablation system, a treatment that removes precancerous tissue (dysplastic Barrett’s esophagus) in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.