Heartburn Health (cont.)

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Heartburn Surgery

If prescription drugs do not relieve heartburn, or if the patient has serious complications of heartburn, surgery called fundoplication may be required. Its purpose is to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. The stomach is repositioned in such a way as to prevent acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. This surgery is successful in 70%-95% of people, depending on the severity of the disease. Laparoscopic fundoplication tends to yield better results than invasive surgery.

Heartburn Prevention

Many cases of heartburn can be prevented by simple lifestyle modifications in diet, activity, and habits. Watching what kinds of foods you eat and how much you eat can influence symptoms. Pay attention to body position after eating. Don't lie down soon after a meal. Limit alcohol intake, quit smoking, and lose weight to improve not only heartburn symptoms but also your overall health.

Heartburn Prognosis

Most cases of heartburn are treated effectively with lifestyle modifications, antacids, or prescription drugs. Relapse is common when treatment is stopped.

Other possible problems caused by acid reflux include inflammation of the throat, voice box, and airways.

Serious complications, such as bleeding or difficulty swallowing, are rare. A complication of chronic heartburn and inflammation of the esophagus is called Barrett's esophagus. If left untreated for years, chronic heartburn can in rare cases lead to cancer of the esophagus.

Heartburn Pictures

Picture of heartburn and GERD
Picture of heartburn and GERD


American College of Gastroenterology. Acid Reflux.

American College of Gastroenterology. GERD.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2014

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