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About Acid Reflux Disease

Exposure to stomach acid irritates the esophagus, often causing a burning sensation that we know as heartburn. Acid reflux occurs when digestive fluids backwash into the throat. There are numerous treatment options for GERD, ranging from lifestyle changes to minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Burnette offers comprehensive treatment for GERD at Middle Georgia Surgical in Albany.

When heartburn and acid reflux develop more than twice a week it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

What is Acid Reflux Disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is marked by chronic and severe heartburn and acid reflux due to a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus.

The LES opens to permit food to travel into the stomach as we eat. When the LES becomes weakened it does not shut properly. This permits digestive fluids from the stomach to backwash upwards into the esophagus, causing heartburn and acid reflux.

Factors that increase your risk of GERD include:   

  • Obesity

  • Pregnancy

  • Genetic factors

  • Smoking

  • Hiatal hernia

Acid Reflux 

Diagnosing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Dr. Burnette uses a number of tests to detect the frequency, severity and cause of heartburn and acid reflux before prescribing treatment. Dr. Burnette completes all endoscopy procedures necessary for the treatment and diagnosis of acid reflux disease and has over 24 years of experience diagnosing GERD.

Esophageal Manometry

This test gauges the pressure in the lower portion of the esophagus to determine if the esophagus is able to contract and relax properly. To complete this test, your GERD surgeon will introduce a thin tube into your esophagus. As you swallow, the tube measures the pressure in the muscle contractions. You will be asked to not eat for eight hours before the exam. The test takes about one hour to complete.

Esophageal pH Monitoring

This test gauges the frequency and severity of stomach acid in the esophagus. During this test, a capsule is placed in your esophagus for 24 hours. The tube will measure acidity in the esophagus and report data to a monitor worn on your body. You will be asked to keep a log of your diet and activity during the exam so the data from the monitor can be assessed with your activity.  You will have to refrain from eating for several hours before the capsule is put in place, but will be able to eat normally once the test is underway. Dr. Burnette uses a Bravo capsule to complete pH monitoring, eliminating the need for a protruding nasal tube for the length of the examination. PH monitoring can also be completed during an upper endoscopy.

Treatment of Acid Reflux Disease

Conservative treatment options for acid reflux disease include lifestyle changes to dietary, exercise and sleeping habits as well as over-the-counter medication. Dr. Burnette offers medical treatment for GERD with prescription strength H-2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors.

Medical treatment cannot correct GERD, but can reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Surgical treatments like laparoscopic gastropexy and laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication can successfully correct acid reflux disease.