GERD, Hiatal Hernia and Other Esophageal Conditions We Treat

At UnityPoint – Grinnell, we aim to provide esophageal care to improve your overall health and let you enjoy your daily life. Our treatments help ease symptoms to make eating and sleeping more comfortable. Treatment can also prevent damage to your esophagus.

Esophageal Expertise at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell

We understand the impact that esophageal conditions have on your life. Our care team works toward the successful treatment of your symptoms. At Grinnell, you'll find:

  • Expert diagnosis: Our specialists treat the most complex symptoms. They discuss the range of problems related to esophageal conditions and get you an accurate diagnosis.
  • Individualized conservative treatment: We try conservative (nonsurgical) treatment first. We assess your symptoms and create a therapy plan that fits your life.
  • Minimally invasive surgical options: Our surgeons seek the least invasive option possible when recommending treatment. They aim to minimize discomfort and prepare you for a quick recovery.

GERD, Barrett's Esophagus and Other Esophageal Conditions

Your esophagus brings food and liquid from your mouth to your stomach. When the esophagus doesn't work as it should, uncomfortable symptoms can affect your quality of life.

We treat many esophageal conditions, including:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): In people with this condition, the ring of muscles at the end of the esophagus does not close correctly. Stomach contents can leak back into the esophagus. GERD symptoms include heartburn or what feels like acidic vomit.
  • Barrett's esophagus: People who have GERD for a long time might develop damage to the esophagus lining. This damage occurs when stomach acid repeatedly leaks into the esophagus. If you have severe reflux, our doctors will try to prevent Barrett's esophagus.
  • Hiatal hernia: This condition is also called a stomach hernia. It happens when the upper part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen and chest. A hiatal hernia can let acid leak from the stomach into the esophagus.
  • Trouble swallowing (achalasia): Achalasia is a condition in which the muscles connecting the esophagus do not open properly. As a result, food backs up from the stomach into the esophagus. People with this condition have trouble swallowing and discomfort after eating.

Acid Reflux, Heartburn and Difficulty Swallowing: Diagnosing Esophageal Conditions

Esophageal conditions can have very similar symptoms. Our doctors will begin your diagnosis with a detailed discussion of your symptoms and medical history.

We use the latest specialty equipment to help find the cause of your symptoms, including:

  • Esophagoscopy: Your doctor inserts an endoscope into the esophagus through your mouth or nostrils. The doctor can look at magnified pictures to find problems with the esophageal structure. Sometimes doctors look at the stomach and small intestines at the same time.
  • Biopsy: Doctors remove a small amount of tissue from the esophagus. They view the tissue sample under a microscope. Biopsies can reveal infections, cancer cells and other problems.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series: This procedure is also called a barium swallow. You'll drink a barium solution (a chalky liquid) and wait in the office for about an hour. Then you have X-rays of the esophagus. The barium highlights blockages, ulcers and other problems on the X-rays.

Esophageal Surgery

Our doctors work with you to find the best treatment for your symptoms. Your doctor will usually start with nonsurgical treatment. If your condition requires surgery, you can feel confident that you'll receive care from specialty surgeons using the latest technology.

Contact Our Esophageal Surgery Team

Get to know our surgeons:

Contact our surgical team for more information at (641) 236-4323.