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Hard Time Swallowing And Heartburn

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Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd

Swallowing Disorders: Acid Reflux – Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute

GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.

  • Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
  • LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.

Difficulty Swallowing With Linx Surgery For Heartburn

Barb from Houston sent us this question: I had Linx surgery about 9 weeks ago. Yesterday I ate good up to 2:00pm. Then I was not able to swallow. Now today is Sunday and I have the same problem. Able to eat Ritzs crackers but drinking or eating a meal wont go down. Will this clear up?

Dear Barb,

Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing after LINX surgery is a common problem. It is one of the many reasons I dont offer LINX surgery. I offer Nissen fundoplication surgery as the most reliable treatment for GERD. At Houston Heartburn and Reflux Center, our post Nissen fundoplication dysphagia rate is less than 1%

Dysphagia 2 months after LINX placement may not resolve by itself. I strongly recommend you call your surgeon and schedule a consultation. Upper endoscopy with balloon dilation may be required to break down scar tissue formation around LINX device. Excessive scar tissue formation narrows the esophagus and causes dysphagia. Other causes of dysphagia include food impaction, esophageal dysmotility, recurrent hiatal hernia and LINX device displacement into the chest.

At Houston Heartburn and reflux Center, we advise our patients to contact our center for any question or concern at any point in time after Nissen fundoplication surgery. Prompt expert advice help GERD patients avoid complications after reflux surgery.

How Is It Treated

Your treatment will depend on what is causing your dysphagia. Treatment for dysphagia includes:

  • Exercises for your swallowing muscles. If you have a problem with your brain, nerves, or muscles, you may need to do exercises to train your muscles to work together to help you swallow. You may also need to learn how to position your body or how to put food in your mouth to be able to swallow better.
  • Changing the foods you eat. Your doctor may tell you to eat certain foods and liquids to make swallowing easier.
  • Dilation. In this treatment, a device is placed down your esophagus to carefully expand any narrow areas of your esophagus. You may need to have the treatment more than once.
  • Endoscopy. In some cases, a long, thin scope can be used to remove an object that is stuck in your esophagus.
  • Surgery. If you have something blocking your esophagus , you may need surgery to remove it. Surgery is also sometimes used in people who have a problem that affects the lower esophageal muscle .
  • Medicines. If you have dysphagia related to GERD, heartburn, or esophagitis, prescription medicines may help prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus. Infections in your esophagus are often treated with antibiotic medicines.

In rare cases, a person who has severe dysphagia may need a feeding tube because he or she is not able to get enough food and liquids.

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How Is Esophageal Cancer Treated

The approach to treatment depends on the stage and grade of the cancer. Treatment options that may be used for esophageal cancer include:

People with esophageal cancer may participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials are research programs conducted with patients to evaluate new medical treatments, drugs or devices. New uses for chemotherapy and radiation therapy are being tested in clinical trials.

How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack

Different Acid Reflux Remedies That Will Work Fast

Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.

Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.

If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.

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What Are The Common Signs Of Gerd

The most common sign is heartburn. Heartburn is a pain in the middle of your chest. The pain from heartburn can be very strong. Sometimes the pain can be so strong that you think you’re having a heart attack.

GERD can cause other signs, too. You can even have GERD without having heartburn.

Sometimes GERD can cause problems in your throat. It can make you feel like you have a lump in your throat or like you always have to clear your throat. It can also cause hoarseness. You might be more hoarse when you first get up in the morning.

GERD can give you a burning feeling in your mouth. It can cause you to have a sore throat or to have trouble swallowing. You may feel like food is sticking in your throat. GERD may also make you feel like you’re choking or that your throat is tight. A dry cough is another sign. GERD can also cause bad breath. It can even cause pain in your ears.

If you have any of these signs, you may have GERD. Be sure to tell your doctor about any of these signs.

When Should I See My Doctor

Tell your doctor right away if you have confusion, chest tightness, bleeding, sore throat, fever, irregular heartbeat, weakness, or unusual fatigue.

Get immediate medical attention if you have any chest pain, pressure, or burning that doesnât go away . These can also be signs of a heart attack.

Also get medical help right away if you are vomiting blood or what looks like dark coffee grounds. See a doctor immediately if your stools are black, bloody, or a maroon color.

If your heartburn is severe and over-the-counter medicines donât help, or if you have taken them for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor. Also see your doctor if you are losing weight without trying or having trouble swallowing. Your doctor can check to see what is causing the problem and what the best solution will be for you.

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Gerd Symptoms Not Recognized By Most Acid Reflux Sufferers

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can have a variety of symptoms we do not typically associate with acid reflux. GERD is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When functioning properly, the LES opens only to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach. However, a loose LES can allow gastric acid to backflow into the esophagus, and heartburn is only one of many symptoms.

Here are some hidden symptoms of GERD that you might not recognize as being caused by reflux:

  • Hoarse or husky voice A deeper-sounding voice after a meal might mean that you are experiencing reflux of acid into the esophagus or throat.
  • Sore throat GERD can also cause your throat to become sore after eating.
  • Bitter taste A bitter or sour taste in your mouth after eating might be gastric acid from the stomach caused by GERD. In severe cases, acid reflux can cause choking.
  • Asthma Wheezing and coughing can be caused by stomach acid reaching the lungs.
  • Chest pain Heartburn or chest pain can be due to repeated acid reflux.
  • Nausea Feeling queasy after a meal could also point to reflux.
  • Excessive saliva Extra saliva may be produced to wash acid from the esophagus.
  • Bad breath The acidity of reflux can cause bad breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing A feeling of a lump in the throat that wont go away could indicate inflammation of esophageal tissue and strictures.
  • Tests To Diagnose Dysphagia

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    There are several endoscopic tests used to diagnose dysphagia, including an upper endoscopy , esophageal manometry, esophagram , and imaging scans.

    • Upper GI endoscopy a gastroenterologist can view your esophagus by using a flexible tube with a camera on the end.
    • Esophageal Manometry Similar to an upper GI endoscopy, esophageal manometry also involves inserting a flexible endoscopic tube with a camera on the end, but it has the added benefit of measuring the pressures and muscle contractions in your esophagus.
    • Esophagram X-ray test involving barium . This test allows your gastroenterologist to view what happens when you swallow food/liquid.
    • Imaging scans These may include a CT scan or an MRI.

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    Diagnosis Of Acid Reflux Gerd And Swallowing Disorders

    Since symptoms can vary in severity and frequency, Summa Health medical and surgical specialists perform a comprehensive evaluation using various diagnostic tools, like:

    • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy , a procedure to examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and small intestine
    • Modified barium swallow test, a procedure designed to determine whether food or liquid is entering your lungs
    • Esophageal pH monitoring, a test that measures how often stomach acid enters the esophagus
    • High-resolution esophageal manometry, a test to measure the strength and muscle coordination of your esophagus when you swallow

    Sometimes You’re Not Having Trouble

    When you have anxiety, your anxiety may also make you focus on a specific sensation – such as needing to swallow. Any time you focus on a sensation, you may find yourself trying to force it. If you try to force swallowing too often, you may occasionally find that youre not quite able to do it because your body doesnt really need to.

    So you may not be having trouble swallowing, but you may be trying to swallow more often than your body needs to.

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    How Is Gerd Treated

    Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.

    These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:

    • quitting smoking
    • losing weight if you are overweight
    • eating small meals
    • avoiding carbonated beverages
    • avoiding foods that trigger reflux

    It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.

    If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:

    • H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
    • proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
    • prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.

    What Is Esophageal Cancer

    Difficulty Swallowing: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment ...

    The esophagus is a long, muscular tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. The esophagus is made up of several layers of muscle that contract to help move food down the tube and into the stomach. A special muscle called the esophageal sphincter acts as a valve, opening to allow food and liquids to pass from the esophagus into the stomach.

    Esophageal cancer results when abnormal cells grow out of control in esophageal tissue. Eventually the cells form a mass called a tumor. There are two main types of esophageal cancer:

    • Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
    • Adenocarcinoma develops in the tissue that produces mucus that aids in swallowing. It generally occurs in the lower part of the esophagus.

    Rates of squamous cell carcinoma in the US have been falling, while adenocarcinoma rates have been rising.

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    Swallowing Pills Or Food

    You don’t want anything to stick to and irritate your esophagus. Small, oval, and heavier pills pass through more easily than large, round, and lighter ones. The medications most likely to cause problems are antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline, potassium supplements, and NSAIDs.

    To prevent this, have at least a half-cup of water when you take a pill, and sit up straight for at least 10 minutes afterward. If itâs a medicine known to irritate, drink a cup of water and donât lie down for at least 30 minutes.

    What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease is what happens when liquids and food in your stomach go the wrong way, or back up into your throat. When this happens, the foods and liquids can irritate your throat.

    Your esophagus isn’t made to handle the acid in your stomach. This acid may also irritate your throat.

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    Can’t I Just Take Over

    The amount of medicine in the over-the-counter drugs for heartburn is lower than the amount in the prescription form of these medicines. And before you try an over-the-counter medicine, it’s important to see your doctor. Your doctor will help you get a medicine that works well for you.

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    Gerd And Difficulty Swallowing

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    GERD is a frequent cause of dysphagia. Also, people with other conditions that can cause dysphagia are more likely to have difficulty swallowing if they also have GERD.

    When GERD is not treated or is under-treated, it could result in serious complications such as erosive esophagitis and esophageal strictures.

    One of the symptoms of esophageal cancer, which is more common in people with GERD, is difficulty swallowing.

    If you experience any difficulty swallowing, it is important that you see your healthcare provider.

    Other symptoms of GERD can include:

    • Chest pain: This pain usually starts behind the breastbone , and may travel up to the throat. It usually occurs shortly after eating and can last from a few minutes to several hours.
    • Hoarseness, especially in the morning: Irritation caused by refluxed stomach acid into the throat can lead to a hoarse voice.
    • Persistent cough: If refluxed stomach acid is breathed in, it can cause coughing. This is a common cause of persistent cough in people who don’t smoke.
    • Bad breath: When acid from the stomach comes up into the throat and mouth, acrid-smelling, bad breath can result.

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    Can Gerd Cause Asthma

    We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.

    The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:

    • Asthma begins in adulthood.
    • Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
    • Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.

    If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.

    Gerd Anxiety And Other Diseases

    It’s important to note that trouble swallowing may be a sign of other disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease . While these disorders don’t cause anxiety on their own, those with anxiety often find that these disorders contribute to their existing anxiety, sometimes making it worse.

    That’s why it’s important that you really understand what symptoms you have that could be attributed to anxiety and how you can respond to them. At times, it may be necessary to consult with a doctor in order to rule out possible medical conditions that are underlying your symptoms.

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    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Gerd

    Often, people who have GERD notice that they regularly have the pain of heartburn in the chest or stomach. This can last up to a couple of hours. Many notice their heartburn is worse after eating.

    Regurgitation when food and liquid containing stomach acid comes back up into the throat or mouth is also a sign of GERD. But, like heartburn, occasional regurgitation is common for everyone.

    Other symptoms of GERD include:

    • a sore, raw throat or hoarse voice
    • a frequent sour taste of acid, especially when lying down
    • a feeling of burping acid into the mouth
    • trouble swallowing
    • bad breath

    Difference Between Acid Reflux Gerd And Heartburn

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    While the terms acid reflux, GERD and heartburn are often used interchangeably, they actually have different meanings:

    • Acid reflux is a common medical condition that ranges in severity, from mild to serious.
    • GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux, occurring more than twice a week or causing inflammation in the esophagus.
    • Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

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