We have just come through what I like to call the “eating season”. This
refers to the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year. It is during this time
that most of us are presented with occasions where eating, and usually
overeating, are the norm. Many of you are now struggling with your New Year’s
resolutions, which almost certainly include a reduction in your daily calorie intake.
What does this all have to do with pulmonary medicine? One of the most
common reasons patients come to our office is because of concerns over cough.
One of the three most common reasons for cough is gastroesophageal reflux or
GERD. When GERD seems to be the cause of cough, treatment is usually offered.
The current treatment usually involves the use of a proton pump inhibitor or PPI.
This is where the situation gets more complicated and dicey. From here on out I
may be a bit out of my element, but I want to provide some insight so you can
make some choices about your GERD if you have it.
The cause for all GERD is not fully understood and the cause can be
multifactorial. A recent study of patients with PPI-resistant GERD was published,
and looked specifically at surgical options. The results of the study showed that
surgery was not always successful in curing GERD. If you have GERD, whether it is
causing cough or not, seek attention from a GI specialist before going forward
with any surgery.