ACID REFLUX (GASTRO-OESOPHAGEAL REFLUX)
Acid reflux – otherwise known as gastro-oesophageal-reflux – is is a condition where the natural defences within the body’s upper digestive system is impaired. These defences are in place to prevent the acidic contents of the stomach entering the oesophagus causing a burning sensation that in laymen’s terms we call heartburn.
One of the primary causes of this condition is a hiatal hernia – a condition where the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. Normally the diaphragm, in conjunction with the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (or LES) prevents this from occurring. A hiatal hernia requires treatment in the form of surgery to repair the damaged diaphragm.
Approximately one in five people in the developed western word suffer from acid reflux (otherwise known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GORD) and require acid reflux treatment due to the poor closure of their Lower Oesophageal Sphincter. A hiatal hernia is the least common cause of the two, both require reflux surgery to correct as a last resort if medication does not correct the problem
Prolonged reflux can lead to damage to the lining of the oesophagus causing various complications such as oesophagitis, ulcers and Barrett’s oesophagus. All of these conditions require surgery to correct them.
Acid reflux surgery to repair a weakened LES or correct a hiatal hernia is the most recommended surgical method to correct acid reflux. These are the types of surgeries Mr Siva Gounder performs in our Perth Weight Loss Surgery Clinic.
Random symptoms of acid reflux are much more common, with most people suffering reflux-type symptoms at some point in their lives. The non-technical name for this condition is ‘heartburn’ since the burning sensation in the oesophagus feels as though it is occurring right next to, or within the heart itself.
For severe symptoms, acid reflux treatment is recommended to correct the issue. If you are experiencing such issues, we strongly urge you to contact our Perth clinic for a consultation on what the best methods of reflux treatment are best suited for your symptoms.
Many symptoms are typically minor and do not last very long and no reflux treatment is required. These symptoms typically include, bad breath, chest pain, vomiting and the gradual wearing away of the teeth due to the increased acidity levels. These more extreme versions of the condition do require acid reflux surgery to correct them.
Lifestyle factors that can lead to reflux occurring include
- Bad dietary habits
Certain medications, anti-depressants and sleeping pills (for example), can also cause recurring reflux symptoms to occur which may or may not require reflux surgery to correct. Some reflux treatment can be administered without the need for surgery.
Reflux can be treated non-surgically through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight range, losing weight if you are obese and avoiding certain foods.
Medication (acid suppressing tablets like pantoprazole or omeprazole)) is first line of reflux treatment prior to surgery being the recommended course of action. If reflux surgery is required, the typical procedure involves repairing the diaphragmatic hiatus and strengthening the oesophageal sphincter by wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the area (this is known as fundoplication).
Mr Siva Gounder has performed many reflux surgeries over his cause as a surgeon and many of these he has performed in his clinic based in Perth.
If you feel you are suffering from gastro-oesophageal-reflux and require an accurate diagnosis (this is the recommended course of action if you experience reflux symptoms more than twice a week)
There are a number of ways reflux can be correctly diagnosed. If medication does not bring lasting relief than the next course of action is for reflux surgery.
One or more tests may be required to determine the nature of your symptoms and diagnose you correctly. These tests can include.
An Oesophagram to check for ulcers within the oesophagus or a narrowing of its walls. A solution is ingested prior to an x-ray being taken of your oesophagus. This is also known as a Barium Swallow.
An Oesophageal Manometry can determine whether your Lower Oesophageal Sphincter is functioning correctly.
A PH test will determine the level of acidity within your oesophagus, alluding to high levels of stomach acid potentially being the culprit for greater-than-normal acidity levels.
An endoscopy can highlight problems in the oesophagus and stomach. A long slender tube with a micro camera is inserted via the mouth and fed into the stomach. A mild anaesthetic is administered via a spray before hand to make this procedure less invasive. During an endoscopy, a biopsy might be taken so the tissue can be reviewed for abnormalities or infection.
These diagnostics can be completed in the comfort of our Perth weight loss clinic. If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of reflux, we urge you to contact us today to book a consultation.