Today I want to talk about acid reflux or GERD. Overall acid reflux is a disease suffered by 12-18% of American people, so it’s very common. We can live a full life with reflux and probably having over the counter medication without acknowledging something’s wrong. Most of the time this is a disease that can happen any time of the day with symptoms other than the ones related to acid reflux. So, what we feel when we have gerd is a little bit of burning sensation or heartburn in the chest, or pain and discomfort when we’re eating. And during the night we can feel the acid returning to the throat.
Sometimes, patients with dental problems don’t know they have acid reflux, so talking to your odontologist is important in order to review if that dental problem is caused by reflux. Other symptoms like allergies or itchiness at the back of the throat or coughing every day, is acid reflux. There’s no difference if you’re a man or a woman. It’s normal to have it after 40 years of age. Acid reflux increases with any condition that increases abdominal pressure, like pregnancy or obesity. So, if you’re obese, you can have more acid reflux than other people. Smoking, drinking and eating spicely also are a cause.
So, if you’re obese, a smoker, drinker and you’re over 40 years old and you have that burning sensation, we need to check you out. Basically, acid reflux is quite simple to review. The first test we can do is an endoscopy. Endoscopy is a visual study where we can review all the track, and take sample of the tissues and send them to pathology to check if acid reflux is causing problems. Sometimes we may have a hiatal hernia, if we can find it that would be a cause of acid reflux.
But if endoscopy doesn’t show it we have other options. Either we can do a manometry which is a test that will review the pressure of the lower sphincter to know if it’s opening and relaxing properly. Most of the food that can cause pressure of the sphincter and therefore less reflux is protein and healthy food. On the other hand, foods that relaxes the sphincter are carbs, fat, caffeine and spicy food. So what we advice is to control your reflux with your diet while we do the proper testing.
Right now you can get over the counter medication like Nexium, or protonics or any IPPs. IPPs will control the reflux but if we don’t the cause of it we need to look for the right treatment. One of the questions we get to ask very often is: Can I have a bariatric procedure if I have reflux? The answer is YES YOU CAN.
Normally if the reflux and you have a hiatal hernia we can fix it and do the procedure without any problem. If you already have a weight loss surgery and you have reflux, then it’s a different story. So I invite you to read our next page and watch our videos.