Reflux esophagitis is a medical condition which features with the entrance of the stomach acid into the esophagus and consequent damage of its mucous membrane. The regurgitation of stomach acid results in painful inflammation of the esophagus and can even lead to formation of ulcers, strictures and be a cornerstone of the esophageal cancer. Heartburn is the initial symptom of the disease. In reflux esophagitis heartburn increases in lying position and is especially emphasized during the night.
Symptoms of Reflux Esophagitis
Apart from heartburn a patient who is suffering from reflux esophagitis can also complain about belching, problems with digestion and pain in the upper part of the abdomen. In advances stages of the disease the regurgitation of the stomach acid can result in sore throat, coughing, hoarse voice and even problems with swallowing.
The problem in some people is connected to improper closure of the esophageal muscles or improper closure of the proximal part of the stomach. This way the backward passage of the stomach acid is rather easy.
The symptoms can be very frustrating and apart from the pain patients also complain about lack of sleep since the heartburn tends to keep them awake throughout the night.
Treatment Options for Reflux Esophagitis
The diagnosis of reflux esophagitis needs to be set on time. This way the treatment will sooth the pain and reduce the risk of possible complications. The majority of people start the treatment with lifestyle changes and certain medications. Medications most commonly include antacids, H2 blockers and blockers of the proton pump.
The bottom line is that a person must eat smaller portions of food many times a day. All the aggressive substances such as alcohol, smoking and spicy food are forbidden. Last meal is not supposed to be right before going to bed as this way heartburn will definitely occur during sleep. And if nothing of the previously mentioned is working a patient may be a candidate for a surgical procedure.
Surgery for Reflux Esophagitis
There are several surgical procedures that can be performed in patients who are suffering from reflux esophagitis. They include laparoscopic fundoplication and endoscopic fundoplication. Laparoscopic approach is minimally invasive surgery and its goal is to tighten the lower sphincter of the esophagus. In endoscopic fundoplication the lower part of the esophagus is narrowed by surgical stitches. And there is even possibility of endoscopic radiofrequency ablation in which the tissue of the esophagus is treated with heat. This consequently results in scars which are going to narrow the connection between the esophagus and the stomach.