Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is an uncommon condition in Mexico, in spite of being world problem. It is defined as a condition in which the stomach contents are regurgitated from the stomach to the esophagus causing irritation in the esophagus and gastric acid, as well as other symptoms that may cause further complications. It is estimated that 40% of adults suffer from reflux at least once a month, 20% once a week and 7% daily.
The main cause of reflux is a dysfunction in the esophageal sphincter allowing the stomach contents to be regurgitated. Other causes are associated with obesity, hiatal hernias, smoking and diet – the consumption of coffee, chocolate, chili peppers and alcohol.
GERD may occur with symptoms like heartburn (a burning sensation rising from the stomach), regurgitation (stomach contents coming up to the esophagus), dysphagia (difficulty or inability to swallow), intestinal bleeding, anemia and weight loss. However, Dr. Francisco Rosales, General and Gastrointestinal Surgeon at Hospiten Los Cabos, explains that the condition may also be asymptomatic (present no symptoms) and may sometimes present lesions in the esophageal mucous. “A multidisciplinary diagnosis is needed to determine the severity of the disease” says the doctor. In cases in which the symptoms do not disappear and the esophageal lesions are considerable, anti-reflux surgery is a good option; in addition to the fact that today’s technological advances in the field of medicine allow the procedure to carried out by laparoscopy, by minimally invasive techniques.