GERD Awareness Part 1: Understanding GERD

Do you have chronic heartburn or acid reflux? You may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short. It can be easy to confuse each of these conditions, but in this article, we hope to create more GERD awareness.

GERD awareness starts with understanding the condition. GERD is a chronic digestive disorder caused by changes in the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Particularly, when the valve cannot contain stomach acid. As a result, this chronic disease occurs when stomach acid or bile returns into the food pipe and irritates the lining.

During normal digestion, the lower food pipe valve opens to allow food to pass into the stomach. After the food passes, it closes again to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing up into the esophagus. Healthy people may still experience occasional heartburn, but this is normal. In contrast, GERD causes chronic heartburn which will happen multiple times per week. There are also several risk factors that lead to GERD, including smoking, poor dieting, and diabetes.

Symptoms of GERD

Symptoms of GERD can be confused with heartburn and are similar to the symptoms of acid reflux. Because of this, we have included additional symptoms of this condition for the sake of GERD awareness. These additional symptoms may include the following:

  • Sore throat
  • Chest Pain
  • Frequent Heartburn
  • Change in voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Asthma
  • Excessive salivation
  • Regurgitation
  • Gas and bloating
  • Cough and hoarseness
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest/shortness of breath
  • Intolerance of certain foods and liquids
  • Bad breath, dental erosion or a sour taste in the mouth

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are effective for short term relief of heartburn symptoms, but for some, these medications no longer effectively treat symptoms. Learning what types of foods to eat and which foods to avoid can help you manage your symptoms. However, if your symptoms aren’t being controlled or are getting worse, you should consider advanced treatment.

GERD Awareness Part 2: What Treatments are Available?

The Surgical Clinic offers 3 types of GERD treatments at 5 different locations throughout the Greater Nashville and Middle Tennessee area. Two of the following are minimally invasive procedures, so your recovery time will be reduced. People with GERD can rest assured that these procedures treat GERD in the long term.

Depending on the medical center or hospital you go to, a similar robot assisted surgery may be available to you.

For any questions about these treatments, ask your doctor or visit us at The Surgical Clinic.

LINX®

The LINX® Reflux Management System is a laparoscopic, fundic-sparing antireflux procedure. Patients diagnosed with GERD can benefit from this alternative to continuous acid suppression therapy when managing GERD symptoms.

Laparoscopic surgeries like this one are different from traditional open surgeries. Your surgeon will use a thin fiber-optic instrument, called a laparoscope, to operate internally. The instrument is inserted through small incisions, which allows the patient faster recovery times.

Since the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus is damaged with GERD, the body needs help closing it. It was for this reason that the LINX® treatment was developed.

LINX® is a flexible ring of small magnets that is placed around the esophagus just above the stomach during minimally invasive surgery. The strength of the magnets helps keep the valve between your stomach and esophagus closed to prevent reflux. When you swallow, the magnets separate temporarily to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.

For testimonials about this treatment, visit LINX®’s website. If you have further questions, talk with your doctor.

TSC Providers Offering LINX®

Nissen

Nissen fundoplication is a laparoscopic surgery performed for patients with GERD. During this process, the lower part of the esophagus is restructured. The Nissen procedure involves wrapping the very top of the stomach around the lower part of the esophagus to strengthen the sphincter. As a result, this procedure helps prevent acid reflux. Additionally, this treatment can apply to Hiatal hernias. Several of our providers at The Surgical Clinic offer Nissen surgery because it is a traditional and proven treatment.

TSC Providers Offering Nissen

TIF

The transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is a minimally invasive surgery for GERD. TIF, as a minimally invasive procedure, does not involve an incision. Instead, the surgeon performs the procedure through the mouth, therefore reducing recovery time and treating the problem with direct access to your digestive system.

The TIF procedure reconstructs the valve between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent reflux. This is accomplished by the EsophyX device and a simple intervention that repairs the gastroesophageal valve, the root cause of GERD. Because this procedure is minimally invasive, the recovery time and side effects will also be reduced.

TSC Providers Offering TIF

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic GERD, help is just a phone call away. Ask our Middle Tennessee GERD specialists how they can get you back to living a heartburn-free life. Visit our locations page and get the help you need today.

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