Dr. Aditya Kulkarni is a Consultant Laparoscopic and Robotic Gastrointestinal, Hepato-biliary-pancreatic and Cancer Surgeon at the renowned Ruby Hall Clinic,
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a form of digestive disorder, which affects the lower oesophageal sphincters or the muscle ring present between the stomach and the food pipe.
GERD means the return of the contents of the stomach back to the oesophagus or food pipe. The functioning of the lower oesophageal sphincter is disrupted, causing disruption in digestion, as reflux from the stomach is returned to the oesophagus.
Hiatal hernia is a common cause of GERD. An unhealthy lifestyle and diet may also lead to GERD. Intake of an excess amount of chocolates, fried food, coffee or alcohol triggers the chance of a reflux. GERD also occurs in obese people and pregnant women.
Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is the primary symptom of GERD. The affected person may feel a burning chest pain which starts from behind the breastbone and reaches up to the throat. The feeling can be defined as food coming back to the throat with a bitter, acidic taste. The burning sensation may last as long as two hours.
While the moderate or mild GERD can usually be treated with healthy lifestyle changes, diet, and medications, when the condition gets severe, surgery becomes the only option to prevent the issue from deteriorating further. Fundoplication is the commonly performed surgery for GERD not responding to medical treatment. Here the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus and sutured in place so that it forms a barrier to the backflow of acid and stomach juices.