Reflux

Reflux is where stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the oesophagus.  It is estimated that up to 20% of the population experience reflux every week.
If left untreated reflux can go on to cause ulceration, bleeding, stricture and cancer.
Reflux is chronic, and can cause damage to the oesophagus – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GORD.
GORD occurs because stomach acid is tolerated by the stomach, but is too harsh for the oesophagus.  Over time it corrodes its lining.

What Causes GORD?

Usually GORD is caused by an abnormal relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter.  Imagine we have a rubbish bin lid at the top of the stomach.  After eating, this lid is supposed to close, trapping the stomach acid safely in the stomach.  However if the ‘lid’ is loose then it can stay open, allowing the acid to come up into the oesophagus.

GORD can also be caused by

  • Hiatal hernia
  • Obesity
  • Scleroderma
  • Some medications

How is GORD Diagnosed?

BRAVO capsule. This is where a tiny capsule is clipped to the lower oesophagus during a gastroscopy.  This sends information to a small pager size device worn on your belt.  After 48 hours the capsule falls off and passes away naturally.

Bravo measures the amount of acid that passes up into the oesophagus.
MacMurray are the only centre in New Zealand offering this safe, state of the art technology.
pH and ImpedanceThis is where a tiny flexible tube is passed though the nose and sits in the oesophagus attached to a wire.  This tube stays in the nose for 24 hours and measures reflux. Although this is a slightly uncomfortable procedure it is effective in accurately measuring reflux and is also offered at the MacMurray Centre.
It is important that the correct diagnosis is made because there are other more serious diseases which have similar symptoms and need to be ruled out.

How can I treat Mild Reflux?

  • Antacids
  • Reduce the intake of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Cut down on coffee
  • Drink less fizzy drinks
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid large meals in the evening
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Reduce your weight if you are overweight
  • Relaxation, meditation, stress reduction

How would the Doctor treat more Severe Reflux or GORD?

Medication – There are now very effective treatments that recuse the acid contents of the stomach.  40-90% of people will get good symptom control with these medications.

Changes in Diet – MacMurray’s Dietitian can help create you a personalised diet to minimise reflux.

Surgery – If you do not respond to medication, or you get side effects from it, or you are hesitant to take it long term then there is a simple surgery available.

Book an appointment concerning your Reflux