Acid Reflux

Do you suffer from acid reflux? It’s a fairly common problem, and being overweight or obese increases your risk of the condition.

The term acid reflux describes the movement of stomach contents back up into the esophagus, which is the muscular tube that extends from the neck to the abdomen and connects the back of the throat to the stomach.

Many of us experience the occasional acid reflux as heartburn, a burning sensation in our chest that we feel after eating or when we’re laying down at night. We often think of heartburn as an annoyance, but not a danger. It’s a concern, however, if you have heartburn multiple times a week. When the frequency of acid reflux is greater than normal, or complications develop as a result of acid reflux, the condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. It’s thought to affect as many as 10 to 20 million people in the U.S.

Some people with GERD can adequately manage their symptoms with diet changes and medications, but complications may develop when GERD is severe. GERD is dangerous because chronic irritation of the esophagus by stomach contents may cause scarring and narrowing of the esophagus, making swallowing difficult. It may also lead to the growth of abnormal lining cells, a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. GERD has also been shown to be a risk factor for the development of esophagus cancer — a rare but increasing cancer.

The good news is that if you are overweight or obese, losing weight should improve GERD symptoms. Research has shown that even modest weight loss can substantially reduce symptoms in patients who are overweight and, in some cases, can lead to complete resolution of the disease.

Many weight loss surgery patients experience resolution of their acid reflux post-surgery.  Dr. David Provost often treats patients with reflux, and we are happy to discuss GERD with you, and talk about treatment options. If you’re struggling with both obesity and acid reflux, bariatric surgery may be a good option for you.

Call us at 254-724-2397 to learn more.

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