Heartburn (Acid Reflux)
Heartburn or acid indigestion is a painful, burning feeling that may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. Many people live with heartburn and reflux for years before seeking medical help. They’ve often taken numerous medications including proton pump inhibitors (a class of medication with brand names like Prilosec and Nexium) for years. Still others have hiatal hernias, which aggravate the condition even more. Fortunately, the latest minimally invasive surgical options are available at Silver Cross Hospital to treat heartburn, reflux disease and Barrett’s esophagus.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus (tube from the mouth to the stomach) and irritates the lining. GERD can occur when your lower esophageal sphincter (valve between your esophagus and stomach) weakens and causes stomach contents to rise (reflux). The most common symptoms of GERD are frequent acid reflux and heartburn. Other symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Food that feels stuck in chest
- Multiple cavities and erosion of teeth
GERD is sometimes caused by a hiatal hernia which occurs occurs when the muscle tissue around the opening becomes weak and the upper part of your stomach bulges up through the diaphragm into your chest cavity. Other causes of GERD may include:
- Certain medicines
- Smoking or second-hand smoke
Most people can manage their GERD symptoms with lifestyle changes and/or medicines, while others may need surgery.