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Acid Reflux

Michael Todd Wood, MD, FACS

Board Certified General Surgeon located in Houston, TX & Sugar Land, TX

Most individuals experience a bout of acid reflux and the accompanying heartburn and indigestion occasionally. But what do you do when that burning pain occurs more often, and the symptoms don’t respond to medication or changes in lifestyle? Check-in with Michael Todd Wood, MD, at one of three convenient locations – two in Sugar Land, Texas, and another in Houston. He’s a well-respected, board-certified surgeon who specializes in conservative treatments, including minimally invasive procedures for acid reflux. Call the practice today or book your appointment online.

Acid Reflux Q & A

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when acidic stomach juices used in the digestive process flow backward or “reflux” into the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. As these corrosive substances encounter the tissue lining your esophagus, they cause the burning discomfort that’s associated with acid reflux.

A strong muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) at the lower end of your esophagus normally prevents this backwash. But stomach acid can reflux into the esophagus when the LES weakens or relaxes too frequently.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

Symptoms can vary but may include:

  • Burning discomfort in the chest
  • A sour or bitter taste at the back of your throat
  • Bloating, burping, nausea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sensation of something stuck in your throat

The symptoms can last for a couple of hours, may vary in intensity, and are often associated with meals.

You may also experience symptoms at night when lying down to sleep. Nighttime acid reflux can cause a chronic cough and disrupt your sleep, and it may worsen asthma.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which affects about one in five adults, is considered as a diagnosis when you have acid reflux more than twice a week. Children may also experience GERD.

How do you treat acid reflux?

Conservative treatment for acid reflux and GERD includes avoiding certain triggers, such as:

  • Limiting alcohol, coffee, and other beverages that aggravate your symptoms
  • Avoiding large meals, especially late in the evening
  • Restricting fatty or fried foods in your diet

Some medications, such as aspirin, can also aggravate GERD.

When conservative measures fail to adequately relieve your symptoms, and depending on the underlying cause of the issue, Dr. Wood may recommend a surgical treatment: fundoplication or transoral incisionless fundoplication.

Fundoplication

During this surgery, the top of your stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to tighten the muscle and prevent reflux. Dr. Wood generally performs fundoplication with the minimally invasive (laparoscopic) approach, which reduces incision size and helps speed healing.

Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF)

TIF requires no incisions since the fundoplication is performed with endoscopic instruments that are passed to the lower esophageal sphincter via the mouth and throat. It’s a procedure that’s typically quite effective and usually tolerated very well.

Schedule an appointment with Michael Todd Wood, MD, today for relief from GERD. Call the practice or use the online booking tool.