Frequently Asked Questions

Will my GERD get better?


GERD is common in parathyroid patients

GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) is common in parathyroid patients because our bodies use calcium as a trigger for acid production in the stomach. In fact, 65% of our patients are on a GERD medicine, more than three times the rate of people who don’t have a parathyroid problem. The surgeons at the Norman Parathyroid Center published a large, prospective study in parathyroid patients with GERD and found that the GERD improved significantly or went away completely in about 82%.

When might it get better?

In this research study of 3000 patients, we found that these improvements in the symptoms of GERD happened between 2 weeks and 3 months, but typically around 1 month after the operation. For this reason, we recommend that if you are taking medicine for GERD (like Nexium or Prilosec) that you continue taking these medications for about 1 month after the operation and then start to taper it down to zero. Of course, you should discuss this with your doctors back home, especially the doctor who put you on these drugs.

But the bottom line is this, many people have GERD because of a parathyroid problem and many people will get partial or complete relief from their GERD within a few months of getting the parathyroid problem fixed. In our study of 3000 patients, about 62% were able to stop taking their GERD medicines completely within a few months of having their parathyroid tumor removed. Another 25% were able to significantly decrease the amount of GERD medicines they took, and about 13% of people didn’t think the parathyroid operation helped their GERD at all.

Footnote:  Surgical cure of primary hyperparathyroidism ameliorates gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) symptoms. Norman J, Politz D, Lopez J, Boone D, Stojadinovic A. World J Surg. 2015 Mar;39(3):706-12.

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