Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) | FAQ with Dr. Gina Adrales

(upbeat music) >> GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is most often associated with heartburn, so that's when patients get this burning sensation in the upper part of their stomach or their chest Some patients will actually feel fluid coming up from their stomach into their chest or even in their throat, and often, these symptoms are worse at night time or when they're lying down or after a very full meal

(upbeat music) So a hiatal hernia can be related to acid reflux So there is a natural opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus or the muscular tube that carries the food from your mouth down to the stomach for digestion, where this passes through the diaphragm, and so in some patients, this opening of the diaphragm can enlarge, and then it will allow the lower part of the esophagus, which should be located in the abdomen to slight up So for many patients, this isn't of any consequence For some patients, they can develop acid reflux symptoms (upbeat music) So for most patients, there is acid-reducing medication that's available over the counter or by prescription, which can help reduce the acid and manage the symptoms of heartburn and reflux, but some patients will notice over time that they might have to take the medication more frequently

Some patients will continue to have symptoms despite the medication, and those are patients who may benefit from surgery Patients who also had a significant hiatal hernia, where they were getting a lot of reflux and not just heartburn, those patients may benefit from surgery, as well, and then there are some patients who are concerned about the medications, either by the side effects or the cost, or who continue to have symptoms with the medication who decide to have surgery (upbeat music) The surgery can be very effective, but as with any surgery, there are some potential risks Overall, the risk of surgery is low, so there is a small risk of bleeding, a low risk of infection, as well as a rare risk of injury to the structures nearby where we're working, such as the liver or the spleen Some patients will notice some bloating or gas after the surgery, and typically, this will get better over time

Over months to years, there are some patients who might develop recurrent symptoms related to another hiatal hernia Not everybody who develops a hiatal hernia will actually have symptoms from that, but some patients who do might be eligible for another surgery (upbeat music) For the most part, these surgeries can be done laparoscopically, meaning through small incisions, and is just associated with an overnight stay, so often, patients will notice a difference right away, so they'll be able to drink liquids after the surgery They might also be able to sleep flat, which some patients haven't been able to do for years Other patients might have orange juice at breakfast, again, another food or liquid that they've avoided because of their GERD symptoms

Most patients will be back to the normal activity within a couple weeks Those who have had particularly a substantial hiatal hernia may need to take extra time or at least avoid any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise in that early recovery period as they heal There's also a change in the diet just after the surgery As there can be some swelling right after the surgery, we have patients on a soft diet initially, but then, they'll be able to return to their regular food (upbeat music)


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