There are conditions that occur in the digestive system which can cause uneasiness and irritation in the oesophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is one such problem that occurs in the stomach acid and has the tendency to flow back into mouth and stomach. It causes irritation and pinching sensation in the oesophagus and is called Gastroesophageal acid reflux. Numbers of people suffer from this condition at least once in their life. Mild acid reflux happens almost twice a week. This means the discomfort from this health condition remains throughout that time which affects your physical and mental health. This condition can sometimes be controlled with the help of lifestyle changes but sometimes it does need treatment. Today we will discuss about diagnosis and treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux
We consulted Dr. Rishi Mehra, Gastro Technician from B.N.K Hospital, Bangalore to know about diagnosis and treatment method. He said that for confirming about Gastroesophageal reflux disease a physical test is conducted. This allows knowing about the symptoms and signs which help to decide the type of treatment necessary for the patient.
To confirm the diagnosis of GERD, these diagnosis methods are used-
1. Upper Endoscopy- In this procedure, doctor inserts a flexible tube from the throat. It has small light and camera attached to the tube which helps to examine inside the esophagus of the person and part of stomach. This endoscopy reveals about the inflammation inside the esophagus and other complications attached to it. A sample is collected and tested after this.
2. Ambulatory Acid Probe test- This test is conducted using a monitor placed on your esophagus to identify the acidity in the stomach and if there are any irregularities that needs to be concerned. The monitor is very thin, flexible tube that goes inside nose into your esophagus. This test is important to detect the treatment method in most cases.
3. Esophageal Manometer- This test is used to measure the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esohpagus when you swallow something. Esophageal manometry is also useful in knowing about the coordination and force exerted on the muscles of the esophagus.
4. X-Rays– An X-Ray is taken for upper digestive system to diagnose situation of liquid that coats and fills the lining of digestive tract. The coating helps to diagnose the situation of your esophagus, stomach and upper intestine in a better manner.
Treatment Methods for Curing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
After diagnosis of the disease, doctor recommends some lifestyle changes and medications to counter acid reflux problem in the stomach and esophagus. If it does not improve the condition of the patient much, then the doctor moves on to other treatments.
1. Counter Medications
There are three types of medications that are given to the patient suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease. These include antacids, H-2 receptor blockers and medication to black acid production. All these medication are given to reduce the acid present in the esophagus to give relief and treat esophagus.
Antacids like Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums are used to provide quick relief. However it does not heal the esophagus that is damaged by stomach.
H-2 Receptor blockers like cimetidine and Pepcid AC react slower as compared to antacids but give prolonged relief and decreases acid production from the stomach.
Proton Pump inhibitors are stronger than acid blockers and beneficial to heal damaged oesophageal tissue. These inhibitors include lansoprazole and omeprazole.
In this process, an operation is done in the lower oesophageal. The surgeon operates the esophagus and wraps it with the stomach. This makes the stomach go slightly above its position and prevents further reflux. This surgical procedure tightens the muscles and is usually performed with minimal laparoscopic procedure.
3. LINX Device
This is a type of magnetic bead that is wrapped around the part where esophagus and stomach meets. This device or magnet attracts the beads around it tightening and compressing the canal that joins the two parts. This does not allow reflux to go into esophagus but is enough for the food to pass down. A LINX device is implanted with minimal surgery on the body.
4. Transoral Incision-Less fundoplication
This is comparatively new procedure that is useful in treating Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It involves tightening the lower esophagus using polypropylene fasteners. TIF is performed through the mouth therefore no proper surgery needs to be done in this case. It is done through an endoscope and has quick recovery time. Although if you have a large hiatal hernia, then this procedure is not enough and required laproscopic method as well.
Signs that you need a Medical Treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Sensation of lump in your throat
- Chronic cough
- Worsening Asthma
- Burning sensation in chest area after eating something
- Over the counter medicines for heartburn are not effective
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