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GERD - Web

Treating GERD/reflux

Over twenty million Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions. 

A reflux–also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or “GERD”–occurs when our bodies cannot prevent acid from washing up into the esophagus like it normally should. Reflux is often associated with typical “heartburn” symptoms such as:

  • Burning sensation in the chest 
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Pain just under the rib cage
  • Brackish water taste in the mouth
  • Recurrent sore throat
  • Rapid airway diseases such as asthma 

Common risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
  • Eating large meals right before bed
  • Consuming certain food/drinks such as alcohol, caffeine, high-fat foods, or spicy food

Acid reflux symptoms can hinder your ability to enjoy the foods you love. You can try to mask the pain with over-the-counter medications, but they don’t stop the disease. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to more serious conditions including:

  • Damage to the throat or esophagus
  • Inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus
  • Respiratory complications
  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Esophageal cancer

Minimally invasive surgical solutions

A hole in the diaphragm, called a hiatus, allows the esophagus to poke down into the abdominal cavity. Over time, the stomach can start to protrude upward into the chest cavity. Reflux can exist without a hernia, but most of the time people who suffer from GERD have a slight hernia. During robotic surgery, the surgeon will repair an existing hiatal hernia to its appropriate size and location within the diaphragm.

General surgeon, Seth Miller, MD, discusses causes and symptoms of GERD and surgical approaches to treating the disease.