GERD is also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease and affects your digestive system. It occurs when acid flows back into your esophagus. GERD is widespread and affects people of all ages, including children. However, it is manageable when treated early. The symptoms are similar to other conditions and may go unnoticed. Here is what your Frisco GERD experts at The Bariatric Experts would like you to know about this condition.
Symptoms of GERD
The main symptom of GERD is chronic heartburn which may occur alongside the backflow of food from the stomach. You may experience chest pain and a feeling of being suffocated. When this happens, you belch more, have gas, and your stomach becomes bloated.
There may be an unpleasant taste in your mouth accompanied by intolerance to food. Nausea may set in, coughs, hoarseness, and sore throat. All these symptoms are problematic, and you may experience difficulty breathing.
GERD should not be confused with normal reflux, a common condition after eating a lot of food. With GERD, acid reflux occurs at least once or twice a week, depending on the severity.
What causes acid reflux?
Several reasons explain the occurrence of GERD; however, the most common cause is an impaired lower esophageal sphincter or LES. This body part has a valve that opens when you swallow food. It then closes to prevent a backflow of stomach contents.
GERD occurs when the LES fails to close properly, and food flows back into the esophagus pipe. Eating a lot of food can also cause the stomach to expand and make the LES loosen temporarily.
Other factors such as obesity, stress, and a diaphragmatic hernia can cause the LES to relax. In addition, consumption of spicy food, carbonated food, and chocolate can affect the LES.
Treatment for GERD
Your gastroenterologist conducts several diagnostic tests to tell whether you are suffering from GERD. Late diagnosis and treatment can lead to chronic GERD that increases the risk of other complications such as esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus.
Your doctor uses a questionnaire to record your symptoms since acid reflux, normal reflux, and chronic heartburn have similar symptoms. It is essential to discuss the test results with your doctor as it is the first step in beginning the treatment program.
You can manage GERD by adjusting your lifestyle by refraining from eating large quantities of food and instead eat little portions at a time.
Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery
If therapy and medicines fail to treat the condition, your specialist may recommend Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery. It is a minimally invasive technique that corrects the valve function at the base of your esophagus.
It is a major operation that involves making incisions into the stomach. Therefore, your doctor puts you under general anesthesia.
You may experience pain soon after the operation, however your doctor prescribes pain medication to ease the discomfort.
Recovery from the operation takes up to six weeks, after which you resume your everyday routine. Hospitalization takes up to three days for healing to take place.
GERD is manageable if caught early to minimize the risk of other conditions. Contact the experts at The Bariatric Experts to book an appointment.