When Is Surgery Needed for GERD?

position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which may lead to heartburn.

You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive tract (gastroenterologist) to check severe GERD symptoms or to get an opinion on whether surgery is needed. If you are thinking about having surgery, you may also be referred to a general surgeon who has experience treating stomach and esophagus problems. Also, avoid peppermint tea, says Collins. While peppermint can be soothing to your stomach, it actually dilates the esophageal sphincter, the muscle that holds the esophagus shut, making it easier for stomach acid to back up into your throat. Over-the-counter (OTC) antacids can be very helpful.

For many people, spicy and fried foods are the worst. But tomatoes, citrus fruits, mint and chocolate can also cause acid reflux. For a good number of women, pregnancy is the first time they experience heartburn or acid reflux. Drink less while eating. Drinking large amounts while eating may increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn.

A hiatal hernia can happen in people of any age; many otherwise healthy people over 50 have a small one. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, and this is called acid indigestion.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when stomach acid and juices back up, or reflux, into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This occurs when the valve between the lower end of the esophagus and the stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) does not close tightly enough. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.

Don’t drink and eat at the same time. Too much fluid mixed with too much food will distend the stomach, aggravating heartburn. Try to drink most of your fluids between meals. Chew on sugarless gum.

GERD and Dyspepsia in Pregnancy: Management Choices and Risks

Antacids, which neutralize stomach acid. Options include Tums, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, and Mylanta. Many brands can be purchased online. Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that causes cells in the food pipe to change.

GERD is caused by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter. In healthy patients, the “angle of His”-the angle at which the esophagus enters the stomach-creates a valve that prevents duodenal bile, enzymes, and stomach acid from traveling back into the esophagus where they can cause burning and inflammation of sensitive esophageal tissue. Most cases of gastroesophageal reflux disease get better with lifestyle modifications, antacids, or prescription drugs.

Enteryx is a solution that becomes spongy and reinforces the LES to keep stomach acid from flowing into the esophagus. It is injected during endoscopy. The implant is approved for people who have GERD and who require and respond to proton pump inhibitors.

It should always be mixed with at least 4 ounces of water and taken one to two hours after meals, not on an overly full stomach. Talk to your health care provider about using it. Do not use it for more than two weeks, and do not give it to children under 12 years old, unless your health care provider tells you to.

Related Health Information

In the worst cases, acid reflux may lead to GERD or gastroesophogeal reflux disease or worse conditions. The muscle at the end of the food pipe is called the lower esophageal sphincter. It can weaken or relax, and potentially cause acid reflux, for several reasons. Most people refer to GERD as heartburn, although you can have it without heartburn.

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