Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels up from the stomach into the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause heartburn, chest pain, ulcers and in advanced cases, esophageal cancer. Contributing factors to acid reflux include:
- Hiatal hernia
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
Conservative treatment for acid reflux includes modifying your diet, losing weight, medication, and not laying down after a meal. If conservative treatment no longer offers relief, or if you have been taking medicine for a long time, then surgical treatment may be an option. Several operations are available:
- Nissen fundoplication- during a Nissen fundoplication, the surgeon wraps the top part of the stomach around the esophagus. This creates a tighter opening at the bottom of the esophagus, making it more difficult for acid to flow up from the stomach into the throat.
- LINX- LINX also helps create a tighter esophageal sphincter. However, the sphincter is created by the addition of a small band of magnetized titanium beads around the lower esophagus. The band is tightened so the fit is right for that patient. The band expands when swallowing and returns to its original size after swallowing. The LINX procedure is reversible.
- Weight loss surgery - in some cases, being obese may contribute to acid reflux. If you have attempted but have not successfully lost weight in the past and have a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or higher with the required comorbidities, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery requires a lifestyle change and may not be right for every patient. Speak to your doctor if you feel weight loss surgery is right for you.