Acid reflux (also know as heart burn) is a very common condition with more than 15 million Americans experiencing it every day. Many people who experience it do not understand what causes it or what kind of treatment they should seek. And if symptoms are ignored the condition may become dangerous.
Acid reflux occurs when the valve at the entrance to the stomach does not close when food has passed through it. This allows the acid in the stomach to travel up the esophagus resulting in what most people call “heartburn”. Depending on the frequency of symptoms, you may have acid reflux disease which is also known as GERD.
The most common cause of acid reflux disease is having a hiatal hernia. Because the stomach moves above the diaphragm, which helps keep the acid in your stomach, a person who has a hiatal hernia can experience symptoms of acid reflux disease.
There are also other factors which increase the chances of developing acid reflux disease which include: lying down right after a meal or eating close to bedtime, being overweight or obese, foods such as citrus, tomato, garlic, onion, spicy or fatty food, smoking, or taking muscle relaxants or blood pressure medication.
Heartburn and regurgitation are the most common symptoms of acid reflux disease. Regurgitation is when you can taste or feel the sour tasting acid in the back of your mouth or throat. Other symptoms of acid reflux disease include bloating, bloody stool or vomiting, nausea, burping, inexplicable weight loss or a chronic sore throat.
It is necessary to see a physician if you are experiencing acid reflux symptoms two or more times in a week, or if the medication you are taking is not helping to alleviate the symptoms. Your physician will diagnose you based on your symptoms and ask you to undergo certain tests such as a barium swallow, pH monitoring, endoscopy or a biopsy.
Once your physician has been able to diagnose the severity of your acid reflux, they will recommend a treatment plan. Certain lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals and modifying your diet, quitting smoking, not eating right before lying down or losing weight can help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux disease. In a lot of cases lifestyle changes coupled with over-the-counter medications can help treat the symptoms.
If medication and lifestyle changes don’t succeed in resolving the acid reflux disease symptoms, your physician will most likely recommend surgery. You will either get a LINX device placed at the end of your esophagus to prevent stomach contents from backing up, or get another procedure called a fundoplication which involves creating an artificial valve to prevent reflux.
Dr. Franklin joined the medical staff at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in January 2011. He was previously in private practice in Gadsden, Alabama for over five years. He is board certified in general surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
His practice includes the full range of General Surgery – hernia, colon resection, gallbladder surgery, and other diseases of the intestines and abdominal organs. He also does surgery on the thyroid, parathyroids, and skin. He has had a distinguished career in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. While in Alabama, he was the first surgeon in the state to complete a gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot. After moving back to Georgia, he is the first surgeon in the Piedmont health system to complete gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot, and also the first ever utilizing a single incision in the umbilicus. He is one of a very few surgeons in the US utilizing this technique. He has been involved in laparoscopic surgery for 20 years and over 12 years robotically.
He has published and given numerous presentations to include topics of advanced laparoscopic procedures, cellular behavior of cancers, trauma, multiple sclerosis, and intravascular ultrasound. He has most recently served as chairman of the department Surgery at Piedmont Fayette. He now serves on the medical executive committee and utilization review committee. He also is involved in research projects in the US and internationally.
Dr. Franklin believes that to plan the best possible operation, the surgeon must understand and listen to the patient. He can then plan and educate the patient in regards to their forward progress. He understands that operations are not without risk, and the patient must understand those risks along with its benefits, and the alternatives to treatment.Make an apppointment