The digestive tract is a series of organs joined in a twisting and long tube from the mouth to the anus. The solid organs of the GI tract are the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. The hollow organs are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and anus.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the common and chronic digestive diseases. It causes stomach acid and sometimes stomach acid to travel back up to the throat. This is known as acid reflux. Over time, acid reflux can damage the esophageal lining. Heartburn is also one of the common symptoms in patients suffering from GERD. The most common symptoms experienced by the people are heartburn and acid reflux from time to time, especially after having a heavy or spicy or heavy meal. GERD is usually diagnosed when the symptoms occur at least 2 times a week or are severe enough that it interferes with your activities of daily living (ADL).
Due to problems with the muscles which join the stomach and esophagus, acid reflux backs up into the throat. These muscles are usually tight and relax when the food is swallowed. This creates an opening which allows liquids and food to enter the stomach, and then these muscles tighten and again closes until the next time you swallow. Acid reflux occurs when these muscles weaken or relax abnormally.
Your doctor will take your history, and after doing a physical exam, he will suggest some tests to confirm the diagnosis:
Common treatment options available are antacids and various other medications, lifestyle modifications, and surgery. Another option includes the stretta procedure.
Stretta procedure is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that only takes approximately an hour to perform. Most patients after the procedure return to their daily activities within a day. Most patients with GERD have damaged muscle that connects the throat to the stomach. The Stretta procedure helps to strengthen these muscles and results in better muscle control and lesser episodes of acid reflux.
Doctors may advise the Stretta procedure to patients whose medication or surgery hasn’t helped or aren’t good candidates for medicine or surgery. As this procedure involves placing a tube down the throat, it’s only considered for patients without any throat obstructions.
Your doctor will guide you on how you should prepare for the surgery. Preparation for most patients includes:
During this procedure, your doctor will sedate you with anesthesia. Your doctor will insert a tube down your throat to the muscles that connect the throat to the stomach. This tube sends mild radiofrequency waves to the tissue where the esophagus and stomach meet. At the same time, water is released by the tube to help prevent any heat injury inside of the body. Once the radio waves are applied, the tube is removed.
Complications due to the Stretta procedure are rare. However, some of the possible risks include:
Below are some lifestyle modifications that may help in reducing the frequency of acid reflux.