Did you know antireflux surgery is on the rise? And gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD, is the culprit. This insidious and annoying medical condition comes from stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. The end result symptom is heartburn.
If you’ve ever experienced heartburn, you know it’s an uncomfortable burning feeling in the middle of your chest. It may be felt all the way up through the throat area. Many people, with serious heartburn issues, experience it numerous times throughout a 24-hour day.
Other symptoms may be nausea, a dry cough or even severe pain in the chest causing some to think they are experiencing a heart attack. When symptoms become too problematic, antireflux surgery is often the only thing that will help.
Unfortunately, the cause of GERD is nothing more than food itself – especially acidic or spicy foods. The normal process of food leaving your mouth and going to your stomach involves the esophagus. This is a long tube, which connects the two areas. A small muscle ring known as the lower esophageal sphincter or, LES, is a little valve, which opens in one direction. This action allows the food to pass into the stomach.
But sometimes the LES loses its functionality and the stomach acid begins to back up into the esophagus. This acidic process actually “burns” the esophagus area thus causing constant inflammation and irritation. With enough of this burning process taking place, over time, it could harm the esophagus in a more serious way.
There are certain causes for a weak LES.
Present at birth
Spicy, fatty foods
Lying down or bending over
The good news is that there are effective ways to treat GERD. The first and foremost should always be lifestyle adaptations. The elimination or reduction of known foods or beverages and losing weight will go a long way to reduce the symptoms. Propping your head up with 2-3 pillows during sleep is also a huge help.
Medications, either prescribed or over-the-counter, can be very effective. Be sure to talk over this option with your doctor.
If all else fails and none of these remedies help, antireflux surgery may be the answer. One popular method is laparoscopic. There are many advantages to this approach such as reduced pain level, a quicker return to work following a shorter hospital stay and smaller incision areas.
After a thorough examination, your gastroenterologist will know whether you’ll be a good candidate or not for this surgery. The success rate for this type of corrective procedure is very high with only a rare few reporting no improvement at all.