Imagine a volcano erupting from your stomach into your throat. It’s not enjoyable. Unfortunately, many with acid reflux know this feeling all too well. When the lower esophageal valve doesn’t tighten enough, acid goes from the stomach into the esophagus. This may cause heartburn or a burning sensation in the throat and chest.
Reflux is a common condition caused by acid that escapes from the stomach. It is estimated that 10 to 15% of the adult population suffers from reflux every day. Symptoms include:
- A burning feeling in the chest
- Frequent belching
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Worsening of symptoms when bending over or lying down
- Chronic cough and/or hoarseness
Although many people think acid reflux is the same as gastrointestinal reflux, commonly known as GERD, they are separate. Acid reflux can progress to GERD, a more serious issue. Your physician has multiple options to make a diagnosis, include endoscopy and esophageal testing.
If you are diagnosed with either type of reflux, treatment options can run from diet and lifestyle management to over-the-counter and prescription medication, and even surgery for specific cases.
One of the latest treatment options showing great results in decreasing symptoms is an incision-less surgical treatment called EsophyX TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplication) for regular heartburn. It’s a surgical procedure performed through the mouth, which reconstructs the barrier between the stomach and esophagus to prevent stomach fluids from refluxing up into the esophagus. Most patients return to work the next day or within a few days following the procedure.
Everyone is different, and your treatment options may be different too. Talk to your doctor if reflux is disrupting your quality of life.