Can GERD Be Cured?
Understanding GERD & Its Treatment Options
Sixty percent of adults in the United States will experience acid reflux disease, and many suffer from symptoms on a daily or weekly basis. Around seven million people in the US have some form of this condition and may self-diagnose or try to control acid reflux with over the counter or prescription antacids. However, acid reflux treatment using medications or antacids is not going to cure the condition.
Acid reflux is also known as GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. The pain, indigestion, and burning associated with GERD may be temporarily alleviated by medications, but they are only masking the true cause of the problem. If left alone, GERD can lead to other illnesses that are costly to treat and exponentially serious in nature.
While it is sometimes called “acid indigestion”, GERD is not caused by too much acid in the stomach. Rather, it is caused by a weakened Lower Esophageal Sphincter, or the “LES”. This sphincter is a muscle located where the esophagus and the stomach connect, acting as a one-way valve to keep stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus.
If the LES is working normally, food and drink will enter the stomach from the esophagus and begin to be digested by stomach acids. But if this muscle is not strong enough to function properly, the acid can make its way back into the esophagus, throat and sometimes the mouth. The resulting chest pain and burning can be so intense that they mimic the pain of a heart attack. Many people each year rush to the emergency room only to discover they are experiencing symptoms of what is commonly known as severe heartburn. While GERD is unpleasant in itself and sometimes results in regurgitation (the expulsion of stomach contents back into the esophagus), it can precipitate much more serious conditions. Over time, tissue damage can occur and GERD can ultimately lead to esophageal cancer.
Even if treated with drugs, GERD will not resolve itself on its own, but will only worsen over time. Since the root of GERD is an anatomical condition, medications or antacids will never cure the disease. While acid reflux treatment should take into consideration the severity of the problem, surgery to correct the weakened Lower Esophageal Sphincter is the only recognized way to stop chronic GERD from re-occurring.
The Bariatric Experts offers several minimally invasive reflux procedures for heartburn treatment so that you can achieve freedom from the discomfort and negative side effects of GERD. The Linx System, Stretta Procedure and Nissen Fundoplication (NOTE: add links to previous blogs or related websites for these procedures) are FDA approved procedures that eliminate the symptoms of acid reflux and the related potential for more serious complications. Call The Bariatric Experts today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.