Digestive + Colon
Acid Reflux + 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.
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