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Digestive Surgery Clinic

Heartburn & Acid Reflux (GERD)

Heart Burn & Acid Reflux (GERD)

Heartburn is a chest pain that occurs as stomach acid rises into the throat (acid reflux). Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is the term used if it persists (GERD).


Typical GERD warning signs and symptoms include,

  • Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that typically occurs after eating and may be worse at night or while you’re lying down
  • It can also include backwash (regurgitation) of food or sour liquid
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • A lump-like sensation in your throat.

In addition to acid reflux at night, you might also experience:

  • A persistent cough
  • Vocal cord inflammation (laryngitis)
  • New or deteriorating asthma


Frequent acid reflux or the reflux of non-acidic stomach material are the two main causes of GERD.

As you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter, a circular muscle band at the base of your esophagus, relaxes, allowing food and liquid to enter your stomach. The sphincter then once more closes.

Stomach acid can leak back into your esophagus if the sphincter does not relax as it should or if it becomes less effective. This acid backwash continuously irritates the lining of your esophagus, which frequently leads to inflammation.

The following conditions can make you more susceptible to GERD:

  • Connective tissue conditions, such as scleroderma
  • Obesity
  • Bulging of the top of the stomach over the diaphragm (hiatal hernia)
  • Pregnancy

The following factors can make acid reflux worse:

  • Smoking
  • Eating a lot or late at night
  • Consuming particular foods such as fried or fatty foods.
  • Consuming particular liquids, including alcohol or coffee
  • Using specific drugs, such as aspirin.


Chronic esophageal inflammation over time can lead to:

  • Esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophageal tissue, is a condition where stomach acid damages the tissue, resulting in swelling, bleeding, and occasionally an open sore (ulcer). Esophagitis can hurt and make swallowing challenging.
  • Esophageal stricture (narrowing of the esophagus): Stomach acid damage to the lower esophagus results in the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissue reduces the size of the food channel, which makes swallowing challenging.
  • Barrett esophagus precancerous changes: Acid damage can result in alterations to the tissue lining the lower esophagus. A higher risk of esophageal cancer is linked to these alterations.


  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Give up smoking
  • Raise the head of the bed.
  • To begin, turn to your left.
  • Avoid lying down after eating.
  • Steer clear of meals and beverages that cause reflux
  • Steer clear of restrictive clothing


Diagnosis: Endoscopy confirms GERD. You should not neglect this for fear of the procedure. This can be made comfortable by providing anesthesia.

Sometimes, a special test called pH study is done. This measures the acid in the lower esophagus over 24 hours to see how long the reflux is taking place.

In addition, when anti-reflux surgery is needed, another test called manometry is done. This measures the pressures in the lower esophagus. It helps in excluding other diseases that require medicines.

Treatment: There are two ways for the treatment of Heart Burn & Acid Reflux i.e., Medical Management and Surgical Management.

Medical Management: The majority of patients benefit from medicines and lifestyle and dietary changes. Medicines include liquid antacids and pills that suppress stomach acid. They are largely safe on short to medium-term usage.

However, long-term use has recently been questioned. You should avoid spicy food, alcohol intake, and smoking. Sleeping in a bed with a slight head up helps in reducing symptoms. Meditation and slowing down is beneficial to reduce the stress of life.

Surgical Management: Surgery is useful in about 5% of cases. If you have not benefited from medical treatment or you have a hiatus hernia or the reflux is causing too much discomfort, then you should opt for anti-reflux surgery.

The name of the procedure is Fundoplication. In this technique, the surgeon wraps the fundus of the stomach over itself so that it cannot go back into the chest. A surgeon performs this laparoscopically.

Typically, you can go home after 1-2 days of surgery. Since this is done with holes, the pain is minimal. Your surgeon may ask you to consume a liquid diet till all internal healing has taken place.


The best treatment we can find in Kolkata for Heartburn & Acid Reflux is at Digestives Surgery Clinic (https://www.digestivesurgeryclinic.com/), which is a center of dedicated doctors, who are passionate about the field of gastro surgery.

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