DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I saw a story on the news about magnets being used to treat patients with GERD. Is this treatment safe? How does it work? I have taken prescription drugs for GERD for years and would love to not need medication anymore.
ANSWER: The treatment you heard about is a new therapy now available for people with persistent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
It involves placing around the lower end of the esophagus a device that looks like a bracelet and is made up of magnetic beads. The device allows food to pass into the stomach, but prevents acid and other digestive juices in the stomach from getting up into the esophagus.