Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine


For Patients

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Methodist Hospital’s Reflux Center offers a complete medical evaluation of reflux symptoms and effective medical and surgical treatment. There is a focus on patient education provided by a dedicated team of doctors and specially trained nursing staff. Request a referral

» What is Reflux Disease (GERD)?
» When is GERD a serious problem?
» Is it true that Reflux Disease can mimic other diseases?
» When should I go see a doctor?
» Is a referral required?
» What tests are required for diagnosis?
» What are the treatment options?
» When is surgery considered?

What is reflux disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition in which stomach contents backflow, or reflux, into the esophagus. Stomach contents contain acid, bile and enzymes normally used to digest food, which can be very irritating to the lining of the esophagus. Heartburn commonly results.


When is reflux disease a serious problem?

For most people, heartburn is a nuisance but is easily controlled with diet or over-the-counter antacids. However, some people have frequent symptoms.


Is it true that Reflux Disease can mimic other diseases?

Because Reflux Disease can mimic symptoms of other diseases or conditions, it is important to have the following symptoms evaluated and a proper diagnosis made:

  • Chest pain such as that experienced during angina or a heart attack
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, frequent throat clearing, ear pain, post-nasal drip symptom
  • Chronic cough or asthma-like symptoms, such as wheezing, which begin in adulthood, are made worse by lying down, especially at night


When should I go see a doctor?

You should visit your physician if your symptoms:

  • occur 2 – 3 times a week,
  • do not respond to over-the-counter medications,
  • suggest that serious damage may have occurred, including:
    • difficulty swallowing,
    • vomiting blood or low blood count,
    • regurgitation with hoarseness, coughing, choking or wheezing,
    • chest pain,
    • and/or unexplained weight loss.


Do I need a physician referral?

Individuals experiencing symptoms of reflux disease may be referred to the Reflux Center by their family physician for diagnostic testing. Consultations may be requested through the physician referral line or through the use of our on-line form.


What tests are required for diagnosis?

The Reflux Center offers the most current technology available for diagnosis of reflux disease, including video and solid-state computer chip technology. One or more of the following diagnostic studies may be ordered by your physician:


What are my treatment options?

Methodist Reflux Center assists in providing a complete medical evaluation of reflux symptoms and effective medical treatment. Options may include:

  • diet and lifestyle changes,
  • over-the-counter remedies,
  • prescription medications,
  • and/or surgery.


When is surgery considered?

While surgery is not required for most patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or reflux disease, it is an option for many. The surgical procedure performed is called a fundoplication. The procedure is considered in the following cases:

  • Chronic Use of Medication – Patients who require continuous use of medication to relieve symptoms or are having trouble taking them.
  • Cost – Patients for whom the cost of a lifetime of medicine is too great a financial burden.
  • Choice – Patients who would rather have the surgery than take medicines and maintain the lifestyle changes.
  • Age – Patients who are young and prefer to avoid a lifetime of medical treatment.
  • Complications – Patients who have complications from reflux disease, such as esophagitis, scarring, Barrett's Esophagus, bleeding, or aspiration.


Location and phone:

Reflux Center & GI Physiology Lab
6550 Fannin Street (Sixth floor of Smith Tower)
Smith Tower, Suite 649
Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: 713-441-5472
Fax: 713-793-1019
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