It is not unusual to experience a burning sensation after eating a heavy meal or some spicy food. This discomfort is more commonly witnessed by people who are obese or tend to lie down immediately after eating food.
The medical condition associated with these symptoms is referred to as acid reflux or heartburn. Owing to its name, most people assume it to be a medical condition of the heart and mistake its symptoms for a heart attack but instead, it is a disorder of the digestive system.
Although acid reflux does not signal towards a medical emergency, the occurrence of heartburn more than few times a week can lead to GERD i.e. gastroesophageal reflux disease which is a serious health condition and requires medical assistance.
GERD is a medical condition where the stomach acids that help digest food tend to move up the food pipe and flow back to the esophagus. These acids are responsible for causing the burning sensation in the chest, near the heart and in the throat.
The LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter) muscle between the esophagus and stomach controls the flow of food. When we eat food, this muscle relaxes to let the food pass from the esophagus and enter into the stomach. Once all food enters the stomach, this muscle closes to restrict the backward flow of food and stomach acids.
In patients where the LES muscle becomes weak or remains relaxed, it is relatively easier for food along with stomach acids to travel up the food pipe and cause discomfort in the throat. An excessive amount of backflow can cause permanent damage to the esophageal lining.
GERD symptoms vary from person to person but almost all patients witness the burning sensation in the chest accompanied by a sour taste or feeling of regurgitated food in the mouth. This is common when the person is reclining or lying down right after having a heavy meal.
In the case of silent reflux, patients may not experience any discomfort. Others may complain of unusual chest pain. Chronic acid reflux and delay in treatment of GERD can lead to extreme conditions characterized by difficulty in swallowing, dry cough, sore throat, or a feeling of a lump in the throat.
If you or anyone in your family complains of acid reflux incidences at an alarmingly high frequency, you must not ignore the symptoms and see a gastroenterologist to prevent the condition for progressing to inflammation of the esophagus, esophageal ulcers, and scar tissue. Delay in treatment also increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
Patients with chronic GERD are also likely to develop “Barrett’s Esophagus” which is a medical disorder that leads to changes in the cells of the lining of the esophagus. These complications are more common in people who are over 50 and obese or are chronic smokers with a history of acid reflux.
In this modern era, owing to the massive medical advancements, there are numerous treatment options available for GERD. The gastroenterologist will begin with a physical examination and make a detailed note of your symptoms along with your medical history.
Based on the severity of your condition, the healthcare practitioner may recommend lifestyle changes and some oral drugs or suggest surgical treatment through open surgeries or laparoscopic procedures.
In the anti-reflux laparoscopic treatment for GERD, the doctors reinforce the valve between the esophagus and the stomach by wrapping a portion of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus. This process requires 5 small cuts on the abdominal wall and helps prevent the backward flow of the stomach acids.
Dr. Srikanth Gadiyaram specializes in anti-reflux surgery which is a painless and minimally invasive laparoscopic treatment for GERD. He is a trained surgical gastroenterologist and a renowned laparoscopic surgeon. At Sahasra Hospitals, the centre of excellence for gastroenterology, his sole aim is to offer affordable laparoscopic treatment options to the common man.
He has a proven track record of success with a huge array of happy and satisfied patients who speak highly of his medical ethics and professionalism. He ensures patient comfort and satisfaction at all times. His support team is available round the clock for anything that you may need assistance with.
If you experience acid reflux or feel discomfort in the food pipe frequently after having your meals, do not delay seeing the expert healthcare practitioner Dr. Srikanth Gadiyaram at Sahasra Hospitals, the best gastroenterology centre in Bangalore, India.