Many people don’t develop heartburn or acid reflux until later in life. Once they start to experience these health problems, they don’t realize how common they are. Studies show that almost one out of every five adults in the United States suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease!
In other words, if you have one of these problems, you are not alone. You should also know that a lot of doctors and scientists have worked for a long time to come up with solutions for this common problem.
Most people who deal with acid reflux or heartburn are familiar with the temporary solutions. That makes sense because these are the solutions that it makes sense to use when these problems first start to develop.
However, if these problems become more serious, it is important to consider more extreme solutions. In some cases, taking the right measures can improve people’s quality of life for years or even decades.
So are there surgeries that can help manage esophageal reflux and heartburn? Read on to learn all about the most important things to understand about your surgical options!
Signs of Acid Reflux and GERD
When you think about it, it is startling to realize that there is such a strong acid sitting in your body at all times. Your stomach is designed with many layers of protection to make sure that this acid does not harm the rest of your body. However, stomach acid can sometimes get out and reach the esophagus.
There, it causes damage, slowly eating away at your more sensitive tissues. This is what we call acid reflux.
The symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn. That is the feeling of unpleasant burning in your chest and throat that comes from acid reflux.
When these kinds of problems get serious enough, they are known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. As we have seen, these problems tend to start out slow. However, they sometimes get worse and worse as people get older.
In other cases, once these problems start, they create a feedback loop and make themselves worse. If your esophagus is already sensitive from previous exposure to stomach acid, it will suffer even more if acid reflux continues.
For many people, antacids or proton pump inhibitors can take care of even moderately serious reflux symptoms. H2 blockers can sometimes also control acid reflux.
But when these options are not enough, you may need to consider surgical options.
Surgery for Esophagitis or Esophageal Cancer
The usual surgery for GERD is called fundoplication. It helps strengthen the top of your stomach which is responsible for keeping stomach acid from leaking out.
If you are going to pursue surgical options, it is often better to do so as soon as possible. One obvious reason to do so is that you can forgo the pain and suffering of unmanaged GERD.
However, you should also keep in mind that there is more than discomfort or pain at stake. Chronic exposure to stomach acid can increase the chance that you develop esophageal cancer. Although this is a rare condition, there is still no reason to wait to make sure that it does not happen to you.
A doctor may recommend that you receive surgery for GERD if your esophagus starts to display regular inflammation. You may even begin to develop ulcers due to exposure to stomach acid.
However, it is a good idea to try all other options before resorting to surgery. If you have already tried medicines, you might want to go so far as to adjust your diet as well. However, many people love their wine, spicy foods, and coffee.
At the end of the day, there may be many reasons that the right choice for you is to receive GERD surgery.
Benefits of Surgical Options
After a successful surgery, you will enjoy a number of benefits. First, you will be much less likely to suffer from heartburn and other symptoms caused by acid reflux. You will also decrease the chance that you will later develop cancer in your esophagus.
On top of that, you may be able to relax on some of these strategies you used before to try to manage acid reflux. You may be able to continue to enjoy the foods and drinks that you love. You may be able to return to your earlier lifestyle if you have not become accustomed to the lifestyle interventions that help treat GERD.
You may or may not also be able to stop taking medication. Although acid reflux medications are safe, there is no reason to take any medicine if you don’t have a good reason. Even the safest medicines sometimes cause mild or serious side effects.
You will also have a much lower chance of having an inflamed esophagus.
Downsides of Surgical Options
Considering all of these benefits, why don’t doctors recommend such surgeries more often? Every surgery comes with certain risks. There is no special risk for GERD surgery, but you should still not receive one lightly.
On top of that, some people have to pay a lot for GERD surgery. Make sure to understand how much of your surgery your insurance will cover. You don’t want to get stuck with an unexpected medical bill.
On top of that, you might need somewhere between four and six weeks to recover after such a surgery. Although you will enjoy a higher quality of life in the long run, there is no denying that recovery can be arduous.
Enjoy the Benefits of Surgeries to Help With Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Many people deal with heartburn, acid reflux, and related problems for a long time without realizing that there are permanent solutions. For some people, such solutions are too extreme. For other people, they are practically a miracle that improves their quality of life for many years.
To learn more about how to manage acid reflux and similar problems, reach out and get in touch with us at any time!