DSH Offers State-of-the art Treatment LINX for GERD Sufferers

It’s normal to occasionally experience indigestion or require an antacid following a large meal. But, if you’re experiencing the following symptoms twice or more each week, you may be suffering from a condition called GERD.

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when stom-ach contents move into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn, pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea or an acidic taste in the mouth. Prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus and can result in difficulty and pain when swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Common Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid regurgitation
  • Belching
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Sudden excess of saliva
  • Dysphagia, the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Laryngitis
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
  • Chronic irritation in the throat
  • Hoarseness in the morning
  • A sour taste
  • Bad breath
  • Coughing at night

In many cases, the symptoms of GERD can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications like an antacids and lifestyle changes. However, if relief is not received from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by our board-certified general surgeon Dr. Josh Pogorelec, who specializes in GERD treatments at Divine Savior.

Following endoscopy, a procedure used to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate damage, a highly effective, minimally invasive surgical procedure called Nissen fundoplication may be recommend for those suffering from severe GERD or damage to the esophagus.

Another new and highly effective procedure is also now available at Divine Savior. Dr. Pogorelec is trained in state-of-the-art surgical procedures called the LINX Reflux Management System. For those patients for whom this op-tion is an appropriate, LINX provides advanced, mini-mally invasive treatment quickly and effectively.

LINX is a revolutionary treatment that controls reflux issues long term, eliminating the need for continuous use of antacid medications. A simple device that is roughly the size of a quarter is implanted at the base of the esophagus to do what your failing reflux barrier is supposed to do — prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus. This tiny, life-changing device starts working almost immediately and leads to relief from day one.

Benefits of LINX

  • LINX® preserves normal physiological function so you can belch or vomit as needed. The titanium beads open and close to let food down, and if it needs to come up, it can.
  • Eighty five percent of patients are free from reflux med-ications after treatment, providing uninterrupted relief, and eliminating medication side effects and trips to the pharmacy
  • Nearly 90 percent of patients reported elimination of heartburn
  • Ninety nine percent of patients eliminated regurgitation after treatment
  • LINX patients report decreased bloating, gassiness, and discomfort, and improved quality of life.

If you have chronic, painful reflux or have already been diagnosed with GERD, and think you may be a candidate for treatment, take your first step toward winning the battle against reflux and call 608-745-5186 for a consultation with Dr. Pogorelec today or visit www.dshealthcare.com/gerd.


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Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

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