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Acid Reflux: Guide To Permanent Relief

The Breakdown on Acid Reflux

Heartburn, also known as Acid Reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), affects more than 60 million Americans. While acid reflux is commonly used to describe a wide range of digestive problems, in medical terms, it is a chronic disease in which stomach acid travels up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation. In less severe cases, you can treat the symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications. However, severe cases of GERD send as many as five million people to the hospital every year. In the following article, we will discuss the common causes and symptoms and discuss in detail what to expect from the surgical treatment option. If you're dealing with painful symptoms of GERD that don't respond well to drugs or lifestyle changes, the outstanding medical professionals at Dr. Feiz & Associates are here to answer all your questions.

One or More of the Following Conditions May also Contribute to GERD:

  • El esfínter transitorio se relaja con demasiada frecuencia, permitiendo que el ácido escape

  • Aumento de la presión abdominal

  • Trastorno por vaciado gástrico

  • Peristalsis esofágica (aquí es donde los músculos del esófago experimentan movimientos similares a ondas)

While some people are born with a weaker LES or get GERD due to related medical conditions, it is essential to note that certain types of medication, lifestyle choices, and exercises may be causing reflux. It's best to consult with medical professionals to figure out the actual cause of your symptoms.

How does GERD Develop?

GERD usually results from a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows the contents of the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. The LES is essentially a one-way valve that allows food to pass through to the stomach and closes typically right after you swallow to prevent any stomach liquids from back-up and leaking into the esophagus.
There are several reasons why your lower esophageal sphincter may be weak or overly relaxed:

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of acid reflux are acid indigestion and heartburn. The acid in the esophagus can make it spasm leading to a burning sensation in the chest, between the ribs, or below the neck. The pain may radiate through the chest, up into the neck and throat. You may notice that you frequently burp or feel bloated. The most common symptoms are:

  • Burning sensation in the chest after eating

  • Chest pain

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Feeling a lump in your throat

  • Frequent regurgitation of food

  • Bitter taste in your mouth

It is considered an emergency situation if you're vomiting, having difficulty swallowing, or breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Diagnóstico de ERGE graves

Typically acid reflux will be diagnosed by a doctor after reviewing symptoms. However, if the acid indigestion and heartburn increase in frequency, GERD testing will often be recommended. As a leading surgeon specializing in the digestive area, Dr. Michael Feiz has helped countless GERD sufferers. An esophagoscopy is generally the first method of diagnosis. Tissue samples are likely to be taken during this procedure if inflammation is apparent in the esophagus (this can also be called esophagitis). If esophagitis or reflux is not evident, a 24-hour pH test may be ordered by your doctor to provide proof.

Treatment Options

Lifestyle Changes - In many cases of mild acid reflux, changing your diet and taking over-the-counter antacids can reduce symptom severity. Other choices like losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking alcohol, altering eating habits, and maintaining a healthy sleeping schedule can help.

Drug Therapy - Over the counter, antacids are commonly recommended for symptom flare-ups. Your doctor may prescribe prescription drugs that reduce the amount of acid production. Drugs effectively reduce the irritation of the esophagus and relieve symptoms but may not be a long-term, lasting solution. Acid management works in the body and takes away the burn with medications, but it does not solve the problem.

Surgery - If you're tired of taking medication to migrate symptoms that could potentially cause other health issues, surgery may be the best solution. A surgery known as Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication is the current standard for treating GERD. The procedure essentally reinforces the entirety of the lower esophageal sphincter. During the operation, the esophageal hiatus is made narrow by sutures to either treat or prevent a concurrent hiatal hernia. Afterward, the patient's upper stomach, or fundus, is made to encase the lower portion of their esophagus and secured by stitches. Many patients can stop taking related medications after the surgery as well, and the rate of patient satisfaction is objectively higher than those who stick to medication regimens.

What to Expect

Pre-Op

The majority of acid reflux surgeries are laparoscopic or minimally invasive but will require spending some time in the hospital. If laparoscopic, you will reduce your hospitalization time by about 2 to 3 days. Typically a physician will instruct you not to eat or drink anything the morning of the surgery. Your stomach and bowel will need to be completely empty. Enemas may be needed to ensure that you do not have anything in your system. Additionally, make sure you have someone to drive you to and from the surgery center.

Post-Op

In 95% of cases, acid reflux surgery successfully relieves symptoms so that no additional medication is needed. Furthermore, studies following up five years after surgery indicate that the improvement of symptoms continues long-term. Overall about 81% of people say they would have the surgery again if presented with the option. It is also important to note age does not affect the surgery's success rate for people 65+. After the surgery, your ability to belch may be affected, and immediately after the surgery a liquid diet is recommended. Try to eat small frequent meals, avoid carbonated drinks, and separate liquids and solid food.

Contact Dr. Feiz

Dr. Feiz specializes in digestive surgery and weight-related complications. He is a board-certified bariatric surgeon experienced in performing Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. To find out more about GERD and find a long-term solution for your specific symptoms, call us today via the phone number on this page.

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450 N. Roxbury Dr. Suite 602 Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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Monday - Friday 9AM-5PM

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(310) 855-8058

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