Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common condition that can affect many people’s quality of life.
Although there are various treatments to control the symptoms of heartburn, in some cases surgery may be necessary to obtain lasting relief.
Dr. Juan Antonio Casellas, Digestive System specialist at Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Quirónsalud Alicante, explains what heartburn is, when to consider surgery and the surgical options available at Quirónsalud.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn).
“Symptoms can include: heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, chronic coughing and difficulty swallowing,” explains Dr Casellas.
While lifestyle changes and medications can control heartburn in most cases, there are situations where surgery can be an effective option.
At Quirónsalud they have a team of experts in the treatment of this type of digestive pathology.
Causes of heartburn
The main cause of heartburn is gastro-oesophageal reflux, i.e. the passage of acid from the gastric cavity into the oesophagus. This can occur when the gastro-oesophageal junction, i.e. the relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter, fails or in patients with hiatus hernia.
Effective tips to reduce heartburn
To prevent heartburn, it is very important that we change our eating habits by trying to avoid, as far as possible, those foods that promote heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux.
1. Foods rich in fat: fried foods and sausages.
2. Very large meals.
3. Coffee and caffeinated drinks.
4. High-proof alcoholic beverages.
5. Chocolates, citrus fruits and hot spices.
Dr. Casellas explains that “it is important to allow time to go to bed after eating or to do physical exercise, thus avoiding the symptoms of heartburn”.
Surgery to eliminate heartburn
Surgery for heartburn is considered when symptoms are not adequately controlled with lifestyle changes and medications, or when complications such as oesophagitis, oesophageal stricture or hiatal hernia develop.
In addition, surgery may be considered in young patients who wish to wean themselves off long-term medication.
At Quirónsalud, digestive system experts perform this type of intervention to reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
It is important to note that surgery for heartburn should be evaluated and performed by a surgeon specialising in digestive disorders. The risks and benefits of each procedure should be considered and discussed with the physician to make an informed decision.
Dangers of reflux for patients
The symptoms of heartburn pose no life-threatening risks to the patient per se.
It will only force you to rely on drugs such as antacids and stomach acid inhibitors (omeprazole).
It is important to consult your specialist doctor for guidance on the measures to be taken.
Surgery can be an effective option for those who suffer from chronic heartburn and do not find relief with lifestyle changes and medication, explains Dr. Casellas.
It is essential to consult a specialised healthcare professional to assess the need and feasibility of surgery in each particular case, such as the specialists at Quirónsalud. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention and explore all the options available to find the most appropriate treatment for you.