A small number of people with GERD may need surgery because of severe reflux and poor response to medical treatment. However, surgery should not be considered until all other measures have been tried. Fundoplication is a surgical procedure that increases pressure in the lower esophagus. The doctor can perform it through a laparoscope (small holes through the belly) or through open surgery. In many cases, lifestyle changes combined with over-the-counter medications are all you need to control the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Heartburn is a burning sensation felt behind the breast bone that occurs when stomach contents irritate the normal lining of the esophagus. Acid regurgitation is the sensation of stomach fluid coming up through the chest which may reach the mouth. Less common symptoms that may also be associated with gastroesophageal reflux include unexplained chest pain, wheezing, sore throat and cough, among others.
What causes heartburn? What are the symptoms of GERD? Take the quiz to find out.
Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) involves a stepwise approach. The goals are to control symptoms, to heal esophagitis, and to prevent recurrent esophagitis or other complications. The treatment is based on (1) lifestyle modification and (2) control of gastric acid secretion through medical therapy with antacids or PPIs or surgical treatment with corrective antireflux surgery.
Thereâ€™s a ringlike muscle where your esophagus meets your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). A properly working LES protects the esophagus from the acid in your stomach by keeping the pathway between them clenched shut. If youâ€™ve ever felt a fiery sensation behind your breastbone or tasted something like battery acid in the back of your throat, then you might have had acid reflux, also commonly known as heartburn. During a procedure known as a Nissen fundoplication, your surgeon wraps the upper part of your stomach around the lower esophagus. This enhances the anti-reflux barrier and can provide permanent relief from reflux.
Some women who have never had acid reflux before develop acid reflux or heartburn symptoms for the duration of their pregnancy. This is normal, and many women have decreased or no symptoms after the pregnancy is over. Cowâ€™s milk is hard for some people to digest and can contain a significant amount of fat. Like all high-fat foods, full-fat cowâ€™s milk may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause or worsen reflux symptoms. Additionally, an analysis of controlled studies concluded that elevating the head of the bed is an effective strategy to reduce acid reflux symptoms and heartburn at night ( 10 ).
You may need to try a different medicine. An upper gastrointestinal series. These X-ray pictures of the esophagus and stomach may help find other problems that may be causing GERD symptoms. Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach.
It can cause inflammation and strictures in your esophagus. In rare cases, it may even lead to cancer. But stopping the acid reflux can help prevent complications in the future. Youâ€™re certainly not alone.
Some people still have to take medicine to control their symptoms, even after surgery. And some people need to have surgery again. The benefits of surgery need to be compared to the possible complications and new symptoms you may have after surgery. Surgery for GERD can cause problems with swallowing and burping.