The primary goal of the Reflux Program at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South is to educate patients and their health care providers about the latest advances in reflux management. The program offers expertise in the diagnosis and surgical management of typical gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and its atypical variants, such as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).
Acid reflux, a symptom associated with GERD, affects approximately 60 million Americans every month and 25 million people every day. It’s caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that allows stomach acid and bile to leak into the esophagus. The LES is a muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. It opens so that food and liquid can pass into the stomach, and then it closes to create a barrier between the esophagus and stomach acid. A weak LES won’t close correctly and allows stomach acid to wash back into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and cough.
Currently, patients spend more than $10 billion a year on over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat acid reflux. Many of these have been linked to long-term health risks, and although they temporarily ease the symptoms of chronic acid reflux and GERD, none of them treat the root cause.