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Acid Reflux + Heartburn

Acid Reflux + Heartburn

Acid Reflux + Heartburn

Overview

Chronic Heartburn

If you're like millions of Americans who suffer from persistent (chronic) heartburn, you know it’s not like the occasional indigestion that can be easily relieved with antacids. It may be occurring so often and become so painful that it really affects your quality of life. You’re unable to eat your favorite foods, it keeps you awake at night, and you’re constantly worrying about eating the wrong thing.

Understanding Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

It’s possible that your chronic heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. Acid reflux is often caused by a small physical problem in your food pipe (esophagus), such as a hiatal hernia or a defective lower esophageal sphincter. Because of the problem, acid from your stomach splashes up into your esophagus, causing the burning sensation.

Unfortunately, this burning can be just the beginning. Acid reflux can also lead to other, more serious, conditions, including asthma59 and Barrett’s esophagus64, which in some cases can lead to esophageal cancer.

Treating Acid Reflux

There are prescription medications and lifestyle modifications that can help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux, but for some patients with acid reflux, surgery may the best treatment. In fact, more than 60,000 people, including children, opt for acid reflux surgery, or anti-reflux, every year21

While traditional “open” procedures (which require large incisions) exist for acid reflux surgery, there are minimally invasive procedure (small incisions) options available that have proven to be equally effective.64, 66 They also have additional benefits, such as:

  • Less pain after surgery 67
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay – reduced length of stay by an average of 2.5 to 6 days.20
  • A faster recovery and return to work.20
Talk to your Doctor

Talking to your Doctor about Acid Reflux

It’s important for you to learn as much about your condition and treatment options as possible, and your doctor is your best resource. These questions can help you start the conversation:

  • What treatment options do you recommend for me?
  • If surgery is right for me, what are my next steps?
  • Is a minimally invasive procedure an option? I would like to learn more about my surgical options.
  • Can you recommend a few surgeons who perform minimally invasive acid reflux surgery?
Resources

Acid Reflux & Chronic Heartburn Resources

Learn more about acid reflux disease and possible treatment options with these resources.

  • National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health
  • NIDDK is a U.S. government organization that conducts and supports both basic and clinical research on many of the most serious diseases that affect public health. NIDDK supports research through grants, large-scale clinical trials, career development, and training awards.
  • http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/