Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Acid reflux is typically caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that allows stomach acid and bile to leak into the esop11agus. The LES is a muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. When the LES functions correctly it opens to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach. then closes to create a barrier between the esophagus and stomach acid.
People experience symptoms of acid reflux in a variety of ways. The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn.
Other symptoms may include:
- Chest Pain
- Sore Throat
The first line of defense against acid reflux is. often, a change in lifestyle behaviors that aggravate the condition. Weight loss. adjustmetns to diet, regular sleep, and exercise have all been linked to improvements in the frequency and intensity of episodes. If lifestyle changes do not improve acid reflux. alternative treatment options such as medication or surgery should be considered, especially if damage to the esophagus is severe.
Treating acid reflux with medication can be effective for those suffering from various levels of acid reflux; however, many medications require regular use to prevent a relapse in symptoms. Typical treatment methods include the use of antacids to neutralize stomach acid production, and proton pump inhibitors (PPis) that block acid production.
There are minimally invasive surgical procedures available to treat GERD. These procedures are designed to correct the cause of GERD, the weak LES. and restore the body's barrier to reflux.