Acid Reflux / GERD Surgery
Occasional heartburn or indigestion, known as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux is very common. It can occur as a result of eating the wrong foods at the wrong time and many other reasons as well. However, millions of Americans suffer from the symptoms of GERD, also known as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease or chronic acid reflux. This can be loosely classified as when they experience acid reflux at least twice a week for several weeks.
Acid reflux, which includes heartburn symptoms, can be very painful and in some cases debilitating. Further, this disease can have serious follow-up effects such as erosion of the esophageal lining and ultimately an increased chance of esophageal cancer.
What is GERD?
Stomach acid is a key component of digestion. Without it, our stomachs could not break down the food we consume to allow nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream. However, stomach acid is extremely corrosive in the esophagus.
GERD or acid reflux occurs when the acidic content of the stomach start to push up into the esophagus. This is usually caused by weakness in the muscle known as the LES or Lower Esophageal Sphincter. Normally, the sphincter acts as a one-way valve. The LES will close immediately after allowing food into the stomach, stopping any of the stomach contents from pushing back up the esophageal tract. When the LES malfunctions however, the acidic contents of the stomach can begin to push back into the esophagus, causing serious discomfort and pain.
Virtually all of us have experienced acid reflux to one degree or other. However this does not mean that GERD is the underlying reason. A visit with your medical team can help establish a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Beyond the discomfort of acid reflux, there are potentially serious long-term problems that accompany it. That’s why you should see your doctor if you believe you could have GERD.