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GERD (acid reflux) does not have to be a lifelong reality

December 04, 2023 


Hospital News

It’s estimated 1 in 5 Americans suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a serious form of acid reflux which can cause heartburn, painful burning sensations in the chest, and sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into the throat or mouth. With so many people suffering from the disease, Kristine Nigrelli, nurse practitioner and patient coordinator for the Prevea Heartburn Treatment Center in Sheboygan, encourages patients to consider lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, or a combination of approaches to relieve worsening GERD symptoms.

“Through testing, our team at Prevea can determine how severe a patient’s acid reflux condition is,” said Kristine. “If medication isn’t providing the relief it once did or if your acid reflux continues to worsen, you should consider talking to one of our specialists.”

Kristine regularly discusses acid reflux concerns with her patients. She encourages those experiencing worsening symptoms to reduce their meal sizes; avoid fried, fatty and spicy foods; avoid chocolate, caffeinated beverages and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes; stop smoking; lose weight; wear loose-fitting clothes; and avoid laying down for three hours following a meal.

“I like to talk with my patients about their diet and how physically active they are, to find out what lifestyle changes could be made to reduce their acid reflux symptoms. This insight can help me offer several lifestyle adjustments that could help to relieve GERD symptoms,” said Kristine.

For GERD sufferers who have tried lifestyle adjustments without benefiting from reduced symptoms, Prevea Health physicians also offer patients medication options and surgical solutions. For some, a prescription medication can alleviate many uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms. Others find long-term relief from their symptoms through surgical treatments.

The team of gastroenterologists at Prevea routinely perform advanced procedures at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital to accurately diagnose and treat GERD. Without treatment, chronic GERD can cause worsening symptoms and lead to inflammation, ulcers, and potentially increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

“While not everyone is a good candidate for surgery, many of my GERD patients experience long-term relief from the surgical options we can provide,” said Kristine. 

Kristine says many patients who pursue a combination of surgical and non-surgical solutions find themselves eating more varied foods, sleeping more comfortably at night and having a better quality of life. Because GERD is a chronic condition, it’s important to talk to your physician or provider about treatment options tailored to you.

Kristine sees patients at the Prevea Sheboygan Medical Office Building, 3113 Saemann Ave. in Sheboygan and the Prevea Plymouth Health Center, 1825 Walton Dr. in Plymouth. You can schedule an appointment with Kristine by calling (920) 457-4400 or at www.prevea.com. To learn more about GERD treatment options at Prevea in Sheboygan and other communities in Northeast Wisconsin, please visit: prevea.com/GERD.
GERD (acid reflux) does not have to be a lifelong reality
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