GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a disorder that affects many Americans. Many think of it as just heartburn, while others know it as pain at night after a big meal. When bile and acid enter your throat, you can’t ignore it. It can become quite serious and eventually necessitate surgery. So, when is it time to consider acid reflux surgery?
Causes Of GERD
GERD is not heartburn or something to simply ignore and pop antacids. It is a digestive disorder which affects the lower esophageal muscle or sphincter, which connects the stomach and the esophagus. When this muscle is not functioning properly and does not close, it allows stomach acids and food to move back up into the esophagus.
Many will recognize this as the bitter taste you get in your mouth or the liquid which suddenly comes up. It is not a pleasant experience when this happens to you the first time.
When GERD becomes chronic, it can inflame your esophagus and leave it exposed to the acids. Too much acid for long periods of time can cause bleeding, ulcers, and damage to the lining of the esophagus. Sometimes it can affect your ability to swallow.
Treating GERD Before Surgery
Antacids, changing your diet, and making lifestyle changes can all help ease GERD. There are also medications your gastroenterologist can prescribe.
Other ways to relieve GERD symptoms before resorting to surgery include the following:
- Don’t lie down or go to bed for several hours after eating
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight if overweight
- Decrease the size of your meals
- Prop up pillows in bed at least 6 inches
- Avoid acidic foods
Last Resort – Surgery
Surgery is a last resort after all treatments and medications have not relieved your symptoms. If you have made lifestyle changes, altered your diet appropriately, and still are suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease, you gastroenterologist may recommend surgery for you.
You may also opt for surgery if you don’t want to begin taking long term medications.
There are several types of surgical procedures to correct GERD. Your physician will recommend the optimal one for you. The most common ones include standard surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic antireflux surgery.
95% of surgeries are highly successful and additional meds are not needed afterward. You don’t have to live with GERD and all the possible side effects and complications.
Contact Philadelphia Gastroenterology Consultants for options if you are suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Our gastroenterologists are highly trained and have extensive experience diagnosing and treating reflux disease. Call our office in Philadelphia, PA at (215) 742-9900 today!