What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is one of the most common forms of what most people call indigestion, which generally refers to discomfort in your stomach area after eating. Acid reflux is also known as acid indigestion, although the proper name for it is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Belching or burping
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Mouth flooding with saliva
- Hoarse voice
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Inflamed gums
- Feeling nauseated
- Chest pains (always seek medical advice for chest pain)
Acid reflux is also the cause of heartburn, where your chest feels unpleasantly sore or painful, very much as though your heart is burning. In reality, acid reflux has nothing to do with your heart.
The burning pain comes from your stomach acid traveling back up your esophagus, the tube connecting your throat to your stomach.
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux typically develops because of a problem with the way the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is working.
The LES is a band of muscle that’s normally closed to prevent anything from coming up out of your stomach, but it automatically opens when you swallow to let food and water into your stomach.
If the LES is weak or damaged it can’t form a tight seal, so stomach acid can wash back up into your esophagus, and sometimes into the back of your throat.
Your stomach has a special lining to protect it from the corrosive effects of this acid, but your esophagus doesn’t have the same protection, so when it comes into contact with acid it becomes inflamed and sore. Acid reflux can also be a symptom of a hiatal hernia.
Acid reflux is most commonly due to lifestyle factors and what you eat and drink, including:
- Being overweight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Drinks containing caffeine
- Certain medications
- Rich, fatty foods
- Spicy foods
The best way to reduce acid reflux symptoms is to change these lifestyle habits and avoid known triggers, but some patients might also require surgery.
How does surgery help with acid reflux?
If your acid reflux is due to obesity but you’re struggling to lose weight, bariatric weight-loss surgery could help you achieve a healthy weight, thereby reducing the acid reflux.
A hiatal hernia, which is a condition where the top of the stomach pushes through a gap in the diaphragm, can cause acid reflux. Surgical hernia repair can correct this problem.
The team at Turnquest Surgical Solutions also offers LINX surgery to restore the function of the LES. Designed specifically for patients who have GERD, the LINX® Reflux Management System is an expandable ring made of titanium and magnetic beads.
It works in exactly the same way as the LES, preventing acid from flowing back up your esophagus but allowing food and drink into your stomach.
If your acid reflux isn’t improving with conservative treatments, call Turnquest Surgical Solutions today, or make an appointment using the online booking facility.