The Heartburn and Reflux Center of Richmond

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is caused by a weak muscle in your esophagus called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter that is your body’s reflux barrier. Normally the barrier acts as a one-way valve allowing food to pass into the stomach, but preventing stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus. In people with reflux, the barrier allows acid and bile to flow back into the esophagus.

Do You Have GERD?

GERD symptom check. Do you:

  • Frequently have one or more of the following? An uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone that seems to be moving upward from the stomach? A burning sensation in the back of your throat? A bitter acid taste in your mouth?
  • Often experience these problems after meals?
  • Experience heartburn or acid indigestion two or more times per week?
  • Find that antacids only provide temporary relief from your symptoms?
  • Take prescription medication to treat heartburn, but still have symptoms?

If you answered YES to two or more of the following questions you may have GERD.

Suffering from GERD symptoms?

Looking for a treatment plan that's right for you? Take our 10-question survey and our Nurse Navigator will contact you about the treatment options available to you.

GERD Questionnaire

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) occurs when stomach contents flow backwards into the esophagus.

Risk factors and lifestyle conditions for GERD include being overweight, jobs that require stooping, bending, or heavy lifting, being over the age of 40, pregnancy, diabetes, smoking, and diet and lifestyle choices, including a diet of alcohol, citrus, caffeinated beverages, tomato-based foods, chocolate, spicy foods and peppermint.

If you suffer from heartburn, nausea, and other symptoms of GERD, contact (833) 266-GERD (4373) today to talk about your treatment options and schedule an appointment.

GERD Awareness

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic, non-productive dry cough


Heartburn is a key GERD symptom, especially if:

  • Heartburn twice or more a week
  • It affects your sleep
  • It persists, becomes more severe
  • You've had heartburn regularly for several years

  • Acid Reflux Study at Henrico Doctors' Hospital

  • Heartburn and Reflux Seminar - April 2019

  • Sharon's Story: Heartburn & Acid Reflux

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Surgical Treatment Options

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Signs, Symptoms & Risk Factors

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • Heartburn and Reflux Center at Henrico Doctors' Hospital

  • Darin's Story: Heartburn & Acid Reflux

  • Heartburn & Reflux Center Patient Navigation, Testing & Education

  • Heartburn and Acid Reflux - Dr. Clifford Smith - CBS6 Working for Your Health

  • GERD - Dr. Clifford Smith - Neighborhood Health Watch

  • Cheryl's Story - GERD - Henrico Doctors' Hospital

  • Wendy's Story - Acid Reflux - Henrico Doctors' Hospital

  • Nissen Fundoplication - Henrico Doctors' Hospital

  • Is Your Heartburn Actually GERD? - Henrico Doctors' Hospital

Additional Symptoms

GERD Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

What Sets Us Apart?

For more than 20 years, the surgeons at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital have been performing minimally-invasive, laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, helping thousands of patients live more comfortably. They have the experience needed to care for even the most complex cases of GERD successfully.

Henrico Doctors' Hospital was the first program to:

  • Perform da Vinci® robotic gastrointestinal surgery in the United States
  • Perform laparoscopic surgery for GERD in the mid-Atlantic region
  • Offer the LINX® procedure for reflux management

Dr. Clifford Smith performs area’s first LINX® case, a minimally-invasive procedure that brings permanent relief to patients with acid reflux.

Read the full story

Our multidisciplinary team includes surgeons, GI specialists, nurses, a GI Nurse Navigator to guide patients through the program, manometry nurses for diagnostic testing, and registered dieticians.

For the majority of people heartburn is an annoyance, but for some it can turn into a more serious problem. Serious cases of GERD can lead to esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, esophageal stricture, and, in rare cases, esophageal cancer if left untreated.

 Testing for GERD (Motility Clinic)

The doctor may suspect GERD based on symptoms and medical history, like the frequency of heartburn symptoms. Some diagnostic tests for GERD include, but are not limited to:

Esophageal pH monitoring is the best way to confirm reflux. A 24-hour pH monitoring system uses a small tube that is passed through the nose or mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. The tube remains in place for 24 hours and monitors the amount and frequency of stomach acid that backs into the esophagus. Your doctor will review the acid report and a food and activity diary to see what is exacerbating the reflux.

A barium swallow exam is a series of x-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. The x-rays are taken during and after drinking contrast material called barium . The barium solution is a thick, white, chalky, milkshake-like liquid. It coats the inside lining of your GI tract, making it more visible on the x-ray.

Endoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to closely examine the lining of the esophagus. A thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera is passed down the throat to the esophagus and stomach. The doctor will be able to see irritation or changes to the esophagus. An ultrasound is sometimes combined with this procedure in order to make a better assessment of your condition.

Esophageal manometry is a diagnostic procedure that can be done in your doctor's office. A specialized tube is passed through the mouth into the esophagus. The tube can measure the amount of pressure created by muscles throughout the esophagus.

 Treating GERD: Non-Invasive Options

The primary modes of treatment for GERD include lifestyle modifications like medication management (OTC or prescription medications including antacids that neutralize stomach acid), maintaining a healthy weight, not eating three hours prior to lying down, or elevating your head while lying down or sleeping. Other treatments include PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors) which reduce the production of acid in the stomach and H2 blockers which block the action of histamine and inhibit the secretion of stomach acid.

 Treating GERD: Outpatient Procedural Options

BARRX is a treatment option for Barrett’s Esophagus, a condition that can often result from chronic heartburn or GERD. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis and does not require any incisions or surgery. BARRX can minimize one’s risk of developing esophageal cancer if suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus as a result of GERD. During the procedure the patient swallows a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the esophagus allowing the physician to view the esophagus and measure the area that requires treatment. A BARRX ablation catheter is inserted into the esophagus to deliver energy to the abnormal tissue. The BARRX procedure can minimize or prevent abnormal cells from developing into a cancerous condition of the esophagus.

Stretta therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces GERD symptoms. Stretta is an outpatient procedure performed in about an hour, allowing patients to return to normal activities the fol­lowing day. Stretta doesn’t require any incisions, stitches or implants. The Stretta procedure delivers radiofrequency energy to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus, which improves the muscle tissue and results in improved barrier function and fewer reflux events. Stretta treats the underlying problem that may cause GERD without surgery.

The LINX® Reflux Management System is a minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedure that implants a series of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores around the esophagus just above the stomach. The magnetic attraction between the beads expands the existing esophageal sphincter’s barrier function to prevent reflux. The LINX procedure is reversible and allows patients to preserve normal physiological functions such as belching or vomiting.

Heller myotomy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure used to treat achalasia in which the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) are cut, allowing food and liquids to pass to the stomach.

Nissen fundoplication is a laparoscopic procedure in the abdomen that allows the doctor to directly see and operate on the stomach. This surgery can be done laparoscopically, using small incisions to pass surgical tools into the abdomen to complete the surgery. The surgeon will view the area on a screen with images from a small camera inserted into the abdomen. Recovery is generally shorter with the laparoscopic procedure than open surgeries but may not be appropriate for every situation.

Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a minimally invasive treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). TIF is an innovative procedure that rebuilds the antireflux valve and restores the body’s natural protection against reflux, without incisions in your abdomen. The TIF outpatient procedure is a long lasting, safe and effective solution to treating GERD with minimal recovery time.

Learn More: GERD Action Plans

Our partner offers a few action plans that can help you get relief.

4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor »
Tests to Diagnose GERD »
Food Triggers to Avoid »
Sleeping Positions that Stop Reflux »
GERD Questionnaire
If you suffer from heartburn, nausea, and other symptoms of GERD, contact (833) 266-GERD (4373) today to talk about your treatment options and schedule an appointment.