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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? If you have experienced acidity or heartburn many times, you are not alone. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reports that 20 percent of American population gets affected by Gasteresphageal reflux diseases (GERD).
More than 15 million adults in the US, especially pregnant women, suffer from heartburn daily. GERD is essentially mild acid reflux that may occur twice a week. However, some people may also experience severe acid reflux, at least once a week.
Your digestive system is home to several digestive enzymes and acid. Normally, when you eat something, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), i.e., the lining of the stomach, opens. It allows the food to enter the stomach and then closes. This helps to obstruct the food or any acidic enzymes from flowing back to the esophagus. However, sometimes the LES does not close properly.
As a result, the acid and digestive stomach enzymes flow back into the esophagus. The frequent backward flow of stomach acid, i.e., the acid reflux, may irritate LES, thereby weakening the lining. Hence, if your acid reflux returns multiple times every week, you probably have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
The occurrence of the following signs or symptoms may indicate that you are likely to have GERD.
Some people may have nighttime acids reflux and are likely to experience sleep disruption, chronic cough, laryngitis, and worsening asthma. Also, the chest pain may radiate toward the neck at night.
People, who are obese, have connective tissue disorders, Hiatal hernia, gallbladder diseases, are prone to having GERD. Similarly, pregnant women are prone to the condition.
For the diagnosis of GERD, your doctor may conduct the following tests (as per requirement):
Changing your lifestyle may help relieve the symptoms of GERD. For instance, reducing or abandoning smoking may help. Also, including a balanced diet and avoiding fatty food and certain beverages may work. In mild acid reflux cases, over-the-counter medications can be a good option. Also, your doctor may recommend prescription medications. However, if medicines prove to be of little help, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure.
It is a surgical procedure that exerts pressure in your lower esophagus. The surgeon folds the top of your stomach (partially or completely) around the esophagus. Thus, the stomach is tightened to prevent acid reflux. The surgeon may perform the procedure through conventional open surgery or a laparoscope. However, most surgeons prefer minimally invasive surgery.
It is yet another minimally invasive surgical procedure. The surgeon threads into the esophagus with a small tube and uses radiation to tight the barrier between the esophagus and stomach.
The surgeon folds a ring of tiny titanium beads around the junction of the esophagus and the stomach. The magnetic force between the beads helps keep the junction closed, thereby preventing the acid reflux. However, the band allows the food to pass through. The surgeons use minimally invasive surgery to implant the Linx device.
So, if you’re facing heartburn or acid reflux frequently and the symptoms are severe, you should seek medical help immediately. Our highly professional team of surgeons at Lenox Hill Surgeons has expertise in minimally invasive surgery. For consultation, appointment or surgery, contact us today.
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