We’ve all experienced acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux (GER). That burning sensation that hits the top of your chest occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus and damages the surrounding tissue. It’s normal to experience heartburn every so often, but acid reflux that occurs on a weekly basis is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Unlike the occasional acid reflux, GERD is a serious condition that can lead to severe damage to the esophagus and increase a person’s risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Below, we discuss what you and your doctor can do to treat GERD. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes are enough to make a noticeable difference in someone’s condition. In select cases, surgery is the most viable option. If your GERD does not respond to normal treatment options, consult Whalen Clark, M.D., the best GI surgeon in Tampa.
Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
If you have severe GERD symptoms (heartburn, chest pain, trouble swallowing, etc.) you should consult a medical professional. There are numerous treatment options available for GERD, and your doctor can work with you to find a treatment option that’s right for you. You can begin addressing your symptoms by:
- Avoiding food a few hours before bed
- Eating healthy
- Eating slowly
- Elevating your head while sleeping
- Exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
- Reaching a healthy weight
You can also avoid any foods that negatively affect digestion or tight-fitting clothes that may trigger an episode of acid reflux. If you find no relief with the above measures, you can try antacids and other over-the-counter medications. Prescription medications can also be administered, but there can be side effects, especially with long-term use. For those wishing to avoid long-term prescription medications, surgery may be the most viable option.
Surgery for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Fundoplication is the most common surgery performed to treat GERD. This minimally invasive procedure ensures long-term relief for most GERD sufferers and involves strengthening the esophageal sphincter to prevent acid reflux.
Dr. Clark performs this surgery with the aid of the da Vinci® system, an advanced robotic surgical system that ensures a shorter recovery time and lowers the risk of complications, among numerous other benefits. Surgery may seem like a last resort, but it can reduce your risk of developing esophageal cancer and prevent scar tissue and ulcers that can be painful and make swallowing difficult. If lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications haven’t worked, schedule an appointment with Dr. Clark, the best GI surgeon in Tampa, to discuss your treatment options and whether or not surgery is right for you.
Disclaimer:The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Whalen Clark, M.D. website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Whalen Clark, M.D. or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Whalen Clark, M.D. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Whalen Clark, M.D. is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.