Reflux and Heartburn

Heartburn hurts, but there could be a solution

Reflux (also called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD) is caused by a weak muscle in your esophagus called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). The LES is your body's Reflux Barrier. Normally, your Reflux Barrier acts like a one-way valve, allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach, but preventing stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus. In people with reflux, the Reflux Barrier allows harmful acid and bile to flow back into the esophagus.

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and some studies suggest that more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms each day. At Adirondack Medical Center, thoracic surgeon Dr. Michael Hill is conducting leading-edge, minimally-invasive surgeries to offer patients relief from reflux.

Click here to view a short video explaining GERD.

Symptoms are personal, but generally include:

  • Heartburn
  • Cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Regurgitation
  • Hoarseness
  • Dental erosion and bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Asthma

Reflux medications are designed to reduce acid production in the stomach. Because reflux is caused by a weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter, these medications do not address the cause of reflux, or prevent reflux.

Reflux can lead to potentially serious complications, including esophagitis, strictures, Barrett's esophagus (pre-cancer) and esophageal cancer.

To schedule a consultation, call Adirondack Health at 518-897-2778. If you've been diagnosed with reflux disease and continue to suffer symptoms that impact your quality of life, talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

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