Heartburn and reflux
Heartburn and reflux are conditions that commonly affect the gastrointestinal system. Reflux, also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus and into the mouth. Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest, is a symptom of reflux.
Heartburn care in Jacksonville
When heartburn turns into a chronic, painful burning in your chest, it's time to seek medical care.
We all sometimes get heartburn after eating, but if you have that painful, burning sensation in your chest on a regular basis, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux disease. Memorial Hospital Jacksonville uses a comprehensive approach to diagnose and treat acid reflux disease. By combining highly skilled physicians with the latest technology, we are committed to helping patients find relief from GERD.
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Symptoms of GERD and acid reflux
Some symptoms commonly associated with GERD and acid reflux are:
- Burning in the mouth or throat
- Dental erosion, gum disease or inflammation
- Excessive clearing of the throat
- Food intolerances
- Frequent swallowing
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Persistent cough
- Sleep disruption
Heartburn and reflux services we offer
If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic heartburn or conditions such as acid reflux or GERD, we are ready to provide the care you need.
Diagnostic testing for GERD and reflux disorders
These are some of the tests we commonly use to diagnose GERD and acid reflux:
- Endoscopy — a procedure using an endoscope to look inside the body
- Barium swallow exam — an X-ray examination to view the back of mouth and throat
- Bravo pH monitoring — a minimally invasive test to evaluate whether acid from the stomach is refluxing into the esophagus
- Esophageal manometry — a test used to identify problems with pressure and movement in the esophagus
GERD and acid reflux treatments
If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic heartburn or conditions such as acid reflux or GERD, we are ready to provide the care you need. Our specialists offer several treatments for GERD and acid reflux, including:
- Heller myotomy — a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat achalasia, which is a disorder of the esophagus that makes it hard for foods and liquids to pass into the stomach
- Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication — a minimally invasive procedure used to restore the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach) by wrapping the stomach around the esophagus
- Lower esophageal sphincter augmentation — a procedure where a small device called a LINX is implanted to tighten the opening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and stop reflux, allowing you to eat normally
- Radiofrequency ablation — a procedure in which the inner lining of the esophagus containing precancerous cells is removed using high radiofrequency waves
What are GERD, heartburn and acid reflux?
Our heartburn treatment team wants you to be actively involved in your care. That involvement begins with a good understanding of key information about GERD, acid reflux and their risk factors.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) consists of heartburn and acid reflux occurrences that happen at least 3 times a week and cannot be treated through dietary and other lifestyle changes. Patients with GERD have a damaged lower esophageal sphincter, or LES — the valve situated at the bottom of the esophagus, closing off the esophagus from the stomach.
When the esophageal sphincter malfunctions, the valve cannot work properly. This results in highly acidic digestive juices rising up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and acid reflux.
What are the effects of GERD and acid reflux?
If GERD or acid reflux is left untreated, serious complications can occur, including inflammation and ulceration in the esophagus. These complications can lead to difficulty swallowing and chronic GERD. Chronic acid reflux has been linked to Barrett's esophagus, which is a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
What are the risk factors for developing GERD and acid reflux?
The most common risk factors for developing GERD or chronic acid reflux are:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a hiatal hernia
- Being pregnant
- Being a smoker
Symptoms of GERD may also be aggravated by lying down after eating a heavy meal or by consuming alcohol, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, coffee, fatty foods, spicy foods or tomatoes.
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