Gastro Sciences
Diseases of the gut or the gastrointestinal tract can cause significant discomfort and disrupt your day. Many a time, untreated gastrointestinal diseases can result in major life-threatening conditions. The Centre for Gastro Sciences at Meitra Hospital helps diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive tract, liver and pancreato-biliary tract to overcome them with a holistic approach. The state-of-the-art facilities and the speciality wise divisions within the Centre of Excellence are aimed at helping every patient in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

The Centre comprises of three main departments: Medical Gastroenterology, Surgical Gastroenterology and Interventional Gastro Radiology. These departments are led by a team of highly skilled and trained gastroenterologists, surgeons, endoscopists and experts in interventional radiology. Backed by advanced cutting-edge technology these experts treat digestive diseases ranging from minor illnesses to the most complicated ones. The entire spectrum of interventions from minor procedures to the most advanced interventions and surgeries are performed with utmost precision.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disorder of the digestive tract caused due to back up of food, fluids or acidic liquid contents of the stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus or food pipe is a tube that carries food from mouth to the stomach. Many people experience this back up or acid reflux occasionally but when it occurs frequently or more than twice a week, then the person may be diagnosed with GERD.

Causes

GERD is caused due to acid reflux. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter weakens or contracts and relaxes abnormally. Lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that allows flow of food and other liquids into the stomach. The possible causes for weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter are:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Certain medications
Symptoms

Most of the people experience a burp or an acidic taste in the mouth occasionally. These are common symptoms of acid reflux. If this occurs frequently and interferes with your daily life, then it can be considered as a disorder or you may be diagnosed with GERD.

  • Heartburn or burning sensation in chest
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden excess of saliva
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Hoarseness
  • Inflammation of gums
  • Sensation of lump in throat
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath (needs immediate treatment)
Diagnosis
  • Physical examination
  • Review of signs and symptoms
  • X-ray of upper digestive system
  • Endoscopy
  • Ph test or ambulatory acid probe test
  • Esophageal impedance test
  • Esophageal manometry
Prevention

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is almost completely preventable. The same lifestyle changes used to reduce the symptoms once GERD has occurred can be used to prevent the onset of the condition.

Treatment

After being diagnosed with GERD most of the people will be recommended to try lifestyle modifications and Medicines. If it does not relieve the symptoms, then the doctor might recommend a surgery.

  • Medications include drugs that block, neutralize or reduce acid production.
  • Lifestyle changes include
    • Avoid or stop smoking
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Have night meals at least 2-3 hours before going to bed
    • Avoid fatty and fried foods
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Keep head in a raised position while lying down
    • Don’t lie down soon after a meal
    • Limit meal size
    • Avoid heavy meals especially at night
    • Reduce intake of caffeine
  • Surgery is done when medications and lifestyle changes do not provide relief from the symptoms. Some of the procedures are:
    • Laparoscopic antireflux surgery or fundoplication is a surgical procedure which tightens and corrects the lower esophageal sphincter so that it functions properly.
    • Linx surgery is a procedure which uses a device called linx that strengthens the lower esophageal sphincter.
    • TIF – Transoral incisionless fundoplication is a procedure in which a device is inserted that repairs or recreates the natural barrier between esophagus and stomach to prevent acid reflux.

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