Reflux disease, also referred to as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is a common condition affecting millions of people regardless of age. As we shared in a previous post, A Burning Issue: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, reflux is caused by acid escaping from the top of the stomach and travelling as far up as the throat, creating a very uncomfortable burning sensation many refer to as heartburn.
Making Sense of Reflux Symptoms
Besides heartburn, many people suffering from reflux experience other painful symptoms that can sometimes be confused with other conditions. The symptoms can include belching, chronic cough and hoarseness, pain in the upper abdomen or worsening of symptoms when bending over or lying down. Left untreated, reflux can worsen and in some instances, develop into cancer. With all of these factors in mind, it is vitally important to seek physician evaluation to properly diagnose and treat reflux as early as possible.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Reflux Disease
Relieving the pain associated with reflux is of course a physician’s first priority. In doing so, your physician will work with you to find the right treatment appropriate for your symptoms. Lifestyle changes, use of over-the-counter medications or simply raising the head of the bed may be sufficient in providing relief. In some cases, your physician may recommend use of medication to reduce stomach acid or speed up digestion to alleviate symptoms.
When Reflux Persists
If still bothersome, your physician may recommend surgical treatment to ultimately correct reflux. With reflux, the one-way valve between the esophagus and stomach is weakened, allowing stomach acids to travel back up into the throat. To effectively treat the condition, the surgeons at Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists utilize minimally invasive surgery to perform laparoscopic fundoplication to correct the one-way valve as needed.
Dr. Robert Howard, Dr. Thomas Beetel and Dr. Joseph Levan of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists each provides non-surgical and surgical treatment of reflux disease. Surgical treatment is performed at Surgical Institute of Reading, conveniently located in the same complex as the Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists practice offices. To make an appointment to see Dr. Howard, Dr. Beetel or Dr. Levan at Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists, please call 610.375.0500.