Food travels from your mouth through your stomach through a tube called the esophagus. At the lower end of the esophagus is a ring-shaped muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES functions as a one-way valve that allows food to pass to the stomach.Normally, the LES closes immediately after swallowing to prevent backed-up stomach juices, which have high acidic content. In cases where the LES malfunctions, heartburn and esophageal damage may occur. Some people are born with a naturally weak sphincter. Other causes are related to diet, medication, tight clothing, smoking, alcohol consumption, vigorous exercise, and changes in body position. A hiatal hernia (another common term for GERD) may be present without causing heartburn symptoms.
GERD Treatment Options
GERD treatment requires multiple steps:
Dietary changes and over-the-counter antacids may reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn symptoms. Losing weight, eliminating smoking and alcohol consumption, modifying eating habits, and changing sleeping patterns may also be effective options.
If lifestyle changes are unsuccessful, drug therapy may help. An antacid regimen will neutralize stomach acids and relieve symptoms. If over-the-counter medications are no effective, your doctor may prescribe a stronger drug. Your Houston surgeon will help you develop a highly personalized treatment plan.
Acid Reflux Surgery
Surgery may be the best option for patients who do not respond well to lifestyle changes or medications. Acid reflux surgery tends to have positive outcomes for GERD patients. New techniques called Intraluminal Endoscopic Procedures are alternatives to laparoscopic and open surgery. Schedule an appointment to see whether you are a candidate for any of these options.