News 9 MD: Getting Rid of GERD

News 9 MD: Getting Rid of GERD

(WTVM)

For 12 years, Kathy Dickinson lived with the painful symptoms of GERD.

"It would happen in the morning," Kathy said. "It would happen after I ate. It would happen at night, it was, and it is just progressively got worse and worse and worse."

GERD happens when the lower esophageal sphincter weakens and allows food to flow up. For Kathy, it meant coughing, pain and no sleep.

"When your whole esophagus is burning and you can't sleep because of it, it's really bad," Kathy said. 

Dr. Mark Noar told her about a procedure to fix GERD.

"It helps people get off medications," Dr. Noar said. "It's safe and at the same time, it eliminates their symptoms."

With the Stretta procedure, patients are sedated. Doctors insert a catheter down the throat and deliver radio frequency energy to stimulate tissue and strengthen muscles. 

"The sphincter muscle begins, get thicker, stronger, so it won't open as easily," Dr. Noar said. 

In a recent study, researchers found 76 percent of patients no longer had reflux 10 years after the procedure, and 41 percent were off medications.

Bob Davis also had the Stretta procedure. 

"I reduced my medicine by three pills a day," Bob said. 

Kathy had it too and no longer has GERD symptoms.

"Now it really is something that's not part of my life anymore," Kathy said. 

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