Every year around the Thanksgiving holiday, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) seeks to shed light on Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. During this time in particular, IFFGD encourages people with GERD symptoms to learn more about the condition and see a physician for assistance.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common condition in which stomach contents flow backwards into the esophagus due to the weakness of the valve, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), that separates the two organs. GERD is often first diagnosed because of the symptoms it causes including include heartburn, sore throat, bad breath, belching, laryngitis, gum inflammation, erosion of teeth enamel, etc.
It’s important that those who have symptoms be seen by a doctor because GERD can cause serious problems if left untreated. Untreated GERD can cause inflammation, ulcers, esophageal narrowing, Barrett’s Esophagus (a precancerous condition) and a greater risk of esophageal cancer.
GERD Treatment Options
Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes to reduce the severity of GERD and bring its symptoms under control. These common-sense changes can be helpful. Some physicians may recommend medications to reduce stomach acid, but they can have side effects. Neither of these options address GERD’s cause, the weakened LES, which allows stomach contents to enter the esophagus.
The only permanent solution for GERD is to correct weakness of the LES. This can be done with minimally invasive surgery. There are two options for surgery, the Nissen Fundoplication and the LINX® System procedure. The Nissen Fundoplication wraps part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it and stop reflux from happening. The LINX System procedure uses a small flexible band of magnets encases in titanium to hold the LES closed. The magnets are forced upon by swallowing, but the band remains closed at other times, preventing reflux.
Dallas-area bariatric surgeon Dr. Preeti Malladi treats patients for GERD with both the LINX procedure and the Nissen Fundoplication. For more information about Gastroesophageal reflux and its treatments, contact Dr. Malladi for a consultation by calling (214) 242-9737.