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Chronic heartburn: Find out if you need surgery to relieve it

by Mark Nolan
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Quironsalud Torrevieja

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common condition that can affect many people’s quality of life.

Although there are several treatments to control the symptoms of heartburn, in some cases surgery may be necessary to get lasting relief.

Dr. Juan Antonio Casellas, specialist in Digestive System of Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Quirónsalud Alicante, explains what heartburn is, when to consider surgery and the surgical options available at Quirónsalud.


What is heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when stomach acids back up into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn).

“Symptoms can include: burning, regurgitation, chest pain, chronic cough, and difficulty swallowing,” explains Dr. Casellas.

While lifestyle changes and medications can control heartburn in most cases, there are situations where surgery may be an effective option.

At Quirónsalud they have an expert team in the treatment of this type of pathology of the digestive system.


Causes of heartburn

The main cause of heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux, that is, the passage of acid from the gastric cavity into the oesophagus. This can occur when the gastroesophageal junction fails, that is, the relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter or in patients with hiatal hernia.


Effective Tips to Reduce Heartburn


To prevent heartburn it is very important that we change our eating habits trying to avoid, as much as possible, those foods that favour acidity and gastro-oesophageal reflux.

  1. High-fat meals: fried and sausages.
  2. Very copious meals.
  3. Coffee and caffeinated beverages.
  4. High-proof alcoholic beverages.
  5. Chocolates, citrus fruits and hot spices.

Dr. Casellas explains that “it is important to let time pass to go to bed after food intake or to perform physical exercise, thus avoiding enhancing the symptoms of heartburn.”


Surgery to remove heartburn

Heartburn surgery is considered when symptoms are not adequately controlled, with lifestyle changes and medications, or when complications such as esophagitis, oesophageal stenosis, or hiatal hernia occur.

In addition, surgery may be considered in young patients who want to wean themselves off long-term medications.

At Quirónsalud, experts in the digestive system perform this type of intervention to reduce the symptoms of heartburn.

Importantly, surgery for heartburn should be evaluated and performed by a surgeon who specializes in digestive disorders. The risks and benefits of each procedure should be considered and discussed with the doctor to make an informed decision.


Dangers of Reflux for Patients

The symptoms of heartburn do not pose any vital risk to the patient per se.

The only thing that will force you to depend on drugs such as antacids and inhibitors of stomach acid secretion (omeprazole).

It is important to consult with your specialist doctor to guide you in the measures to take.


Surgery can be an effective option for those suffering from chronic heartburn and don’t find relief with lifestyle changes and medications, Dr. Casellas explains.

It is essential to consult a specialized health professional to evaluate the need and feasibility of surgery in each particular case, as in the case of Quirónsalud specialists. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and explore all available options to find the most appropriate treatment for you.


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