In case medications, lifestyle changes and diet modifications failed to provide relief against acid reflux disease, surgery will be recommended for the condition. Acid reflux usually occurs due to the improper functioning of the muscle valve at the bottom of the esophagus. This valve should open to allow foods to enter and close to prevent the food from going back up to the esophagus. However, there are times when the valve fails to close tightly, thus causing stomach acid to flow back to the stomach and this results to the burning sensation at the throat or chest.
Some individuals experience the condition occasionally. However, if the condition occurs more than two or three times a week then it is already considered as gastroesophageal reflux. This is the condition when the esophageal valve is weakened permanently. Frequent acid reflux attacks can be prevented by consuming OTC medications that can help neutralize the acid within the stomach and reduce the production of it. Following an acid reflux diet can also help alleviate the symptoms of the condition.
Physicians may also advise the patient regarding the foods to avoid acid reflux. As much as possible, patients should avoid the consumption of spicy or fatty foods, onions, tomato and tomato-based products, garlic, caffeine, chocolate and carbonated beverages. However, it is also necessary to know that trigger foods may differ from one individual to another.
In case acid reflux treatment and diet cannot relieve the condition, this is when surgery becomes an option. The doctor may recommend surgery in case the patient experience bleeding or severe damage to the esophageal lining due to frequent attacks of acid reflux. It is necessary for the patient to consult with a gastroenterologist as well as a surgeon regarding the available surgical procedures for the condition. There are several methods available when it comes to repairing the damage between the stomach and the esophagus, but thorough diagnosis should be conducted prior to surgery.
Fundoplication is considered as the standard surgical procedure for the condition. In this procedure, the tissues within the area will be repaired by wrapping the upper portion of the stomach and the esophageal valve or the LES and this procedure aims to strengthen the valve and treat acid reflux. Another known technique is laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. This is where the surgeon creates a small incision in the abdomen, insert a laparoscope or tube with a small camera attached to the end and view the patient’s internal organs. This is usually done to perform the procedure properly and to determine the severity of the damage within the stomach.
The problem with acid reflux is reduced or eliminated after the surgery. However, patients should know that laparoscopic surgery ahs more benefits compared to other surgical methods. In this procedure, patients will experience lesser postoperative pain and the hospital stay is usually shorter, which means the patient can go back to work a few day after the surgery. However, patients who are obese or those with bleeding problems or with previous history of abdominal surgery may not be advised to go through surgery. Nevertheless, these patients can still try opting for other methods to learn how to stop acid reflux.
Doctors may suggest the use of an endoscope to stitch the LES or lower esophageal sphincter in order to create folds within the area that will help strengthen the valve and prevent acid reflux. Another alternative procedure is the use of electrodes to toughen the LES and cure the condition.