Gastroesophageal Reflux (heart burn) is a very common condition usually attributable to lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, caffeine, BMI, medications etc. It can lead to other conditions such as Barrett’s Oesophagus (changes in the lining of the oesophagus which in a small number of cases can lead to cancerous changes over time).
Reflux can also be associated with benign conditions such as:
- Oesophagitis – inflammation of the oesophagus lining
- Strictures – narrowing of the oesophagus, leading to difficulty swallowing
- pylori – a bacterial that can be present in the lining of the stomach which can be associated with stomach pain (dyspepsia)
- Eosinophilic oesophagitis – an inflammatory condition of the lining of the oesophagus usually seen in young patients
First line treatment would be a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) – such as esomeprazole, omeprazole, lansoprazole. If you do not respond to PPIs, you may need an OGD (endoscopy looking at the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum/small bowel) to assess whether there is an underlying issue that may be contributing to your symptoms. An urgent OGD would be recommended if you develop new onset dyspepsia and are over the age of 50.
If you have had an OGD and biopsies taken, this will be followed up and checked to confirm whether there is an underlying issue causing your symptoms. An assessment will be made as to whether you have adequately responded to antacid therapy. If needed, I can organise further assessments to look for less common conditions of the upper gut. I can perform initial assessments as to whether you may benefit from anti-reflux surgery and refer you if appropriate to an upper GI (gastrointestinal) surgeon.