Reflux treatment in Charleston, SC

Many individuals suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux ranges from mild to severe symptoms. Some patients are able to manage their reflux with medication or through lifestyle and diet modifications. For others, medication and diet are not enough.

In fact, when acid reflux disease symptoms become chronic or severe — often classified as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – a gastroenterologist may recommend more advanced treatment options. At Trident Health System, we offer diagnostic testing and treatment for acid reflux. Our digestive specialists want to help patients get relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

For more information about our reflux treatments, call (843) 875-8994.

Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD differences

Digestive health (gastroenterology) is a medical specialty focusing on the gastrointestinal system and its disorders. Common conditions such as heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are often used interchangeably. Yet, they describe different conditions. Our gastroenterologists treat all these disorders using lifestyle changes, medication and surgical procedures.

  • Heartburn: Mild to severe pain or discomfort in your chest, especially in the lower esophagus. Pain severity can be mistaken for a heart attack. Heartburn symptoms include burning in the throat and pain in the chest behind the breastbone.
  • Acid reflux: Happens as a result of a failed lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the muscle located between the esophagus and stomach. When working correctly, the LES stops acid from moving up from the stomach into the esophagus. A weak LES allows acid to flow upward, causing heartburn. Some symptoms include:
    • Burning in the throat or in the chest
    • Difficulty swallowing or dysphagia
    • Chronic sore throat or cough
    • Hoarseness
    • Chest discomfort, specifically after eating or lying down
    • Regurgitation of stomach contents into throat or mouth
  • GERD: This condition is a chronic and severe form of acid reflux. Symptoms are similar to acid reflux and may also include heartburn more than a few times a week, asthma, chest pain and long-term damage to the esophagus.

Reflux treatment options we offer

Our stomach specialists guide patients in several treatment options for reflux conditions, including minimally invasive surgical procedures. Our services include:

Lifestyle management

With lifestyle management, our gastric experts advise and help patients with lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Limiting foods and beverages that increase acid production (tomatoes, spicy foods, high fat or high salt foods)
  • Avoiding smoking and alcoholic beverages
  • Losing weight
  • Regular exercise

Medication treatments

Medication is usually the next step in treating reflux conditions and is usually combined with lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Antacids: Antacids neutralize stomach acids.
  • H2 receptor blockers: Decreases stomach acid production. Take longer to act and their effect lasts longer compared to antacids.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: This drug group blocks the stomach enzyme that produces acid.

Acid reflux surgery

When medication treatments become ineffective, our specialists help patients explore surgery and find the option that fits their needs. We offer:

  • Fundoplication surgery: Fundoplication, or anti-reflux surgery, involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus and sewing it into place. The sewn area creates a narrow passage that serves as an LES or anti-reflux valve.
  • Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF): The TIF procedure has the same result as a traditional fundoplication procedure but without incisions. Our gastric surgeons enter the stomach through the mouth using image-guided tools. Then, they lift the stomach up around the esophagus to create a new LES.
  • Insertion of magnetic devices for reflux: Our specialists use laparoscopy (image-guided surgical instrument) to insert a magnetic device around the lower esophagus. The device expands when swallowing food but does not allow stomach acids into the esophagus, reducing reflux.
  • Bariatric surgery: The weight-loss procedure is an appropriate reflux treatment. Bariatric surgery reduces reflux symptoms by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach.