Gastric Reflux and Acid Reflux, also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), is a common condition that affects many individuals.
It occurs when stomach acid escapes from the stomach into the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. While the lining of the stomach is resistant to acid, the lining of the oesophagus is not, which can cause discomfort and other symptoms.
The reasons gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) occurs
There are two main reasons for acid escaping from the stomach into the oesophagus. The first is a weakness in the muscle that is supposed to prevent acid from entering the oesophagus. This weakness is known as a hiatus hernia, which typically results from being overweight. Surgery is required to repair this hernia and tighten the muscle to prevent acid from escaping.
The second reason is weight loss surgery, such as gastric band or gastric sleeve surgery. These procedures can increase the pressure in the stomach, pushing the acid up into the oesophagus. While some cases can be treated with pantoprazole or other medications, severe cases may require Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. RYGB reduces the pressure in the stomach and diverts the acid away from the oesophagus.
What happens if gastric reflux is left untreated?
If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus. This occurs when the acid causes damage to the lining of the oesophagus, which can result in changes to the tissue. While the risk is small, there is a possibility that Barrett’s oesophagus can lead to cancer. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux.
Endoscopy is a common procedure used to assess the risk of Barrett’s oesophagus. During an endoscopy, a small camera is inserted into the oesophagus through the mouth, allowing a healthcare professional to examine the tissue and determine if any changes have occurred. The procedure typically takes about 10 minutes and is considered a safe and effective way to assess the risks associated with acid reflux.
What should I do if I have acid reflux?
If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional. Symptoms can include heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. While there are many over-the-counter medications available to help manage symptoms, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
There are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help manage your acid reflux symptoms. First, you should avoid eating large meals, particularly before bedtime. You should also avoid eating foods that are high in fat or spicy. Smoking and alcohol consumption can also exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux, so it is best to avoid or limit these activities.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, there are several medications available to help manage symptoms of acid reflux. These medications work by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 receptor blockers are two common types of medication that can help manage symptoms of acid reflux. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any medication, as they may have potential side effects and can interact with other medications.
How to treat gastric reflux
Acid reflux is a common condition that affects many individuals. It occurs when stomach acid escapes from the stomach into the oesophagus, which can cause discomfort and other symptoms. While there are many over-the-counter medications available to help manage symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of developing Barrett’s oesophagus or other complications associated with acid reflux.
Treating acid reflux in Perth
If you are looking for treatments for acid reflux, Dr Kevin Dolan in Perth may be able to assist. He is one of Perth’s leading bariatric surgeons and provides a range of solutions for the treatment of conditions such as acid reflux. To book a consultation with Dr Dolan, be sure to contact his practice on (08) 9246 2314 or by clicking here.