Question 5/4/2002: I was diagnosed about 2 years ago with GERD. I was prescribed raininitine(sp) which I took faithful. It did not help. Was then put on Prilosec and it seemed to help for a little while. Was then changed again to Protonix. Was on that for several months. About 4 months ago I had the camera down the throat test, and found a huge ulcer. Was then put on Nexium. I still have severe pains in my stomach. I take my meds right. How much longer do I have to suffer from this?
Answer: Thank you for your question concerning Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It sounds as though you have had quite a difficult time. I am not clear from your question whether the ulcer that was recently found is in your esophagus or in your stomach. Ulcer disease of the stomach is a chronic problem, which waxes and wanes; that is, ulcers will occur and then heal with appropriate medication, and they may return again. It has been found that ulcers in the stomach are related to a germ called Helicobacter, and when folks are discovered to have an ulcer, every effort should be made to eradicate this germ from the person. Several medications taken simultaneously over about a two-week period are required. However, treatment for stomach ulcer is now generally quite successful. An ulcer in the esophagus is a different story. Such an ulcer usually occurs from significant reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This ulcer should respond to medications such as you have been taking and should completely heal. Unfortunately, that medicine will then be required indefinitely, since the reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus will continue to occur. If long-term use of the medication is not satisfactory, for one reason or another, there is a very good operation (which usually can be done laparoscopically) to create a new valve between the esophagus and the stomach and prevent the acid reflux. A patient information brochure on this procedure (laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication) may be picked up in our office at 800 S. Church, Suite 104, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Very Sincerely Yours, K. Bruce Jones, M.D., F.A.C.S. NEA Clinic - (870) 932-4875 (for appointment)