Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GORD or simply ‘Reflux’ is a common condition in Australia. It is a condition where stomach acid and other gastric juices, sometimes along with undigested food, flow backwards and the wrong way from the stomach up the oesophagus (food-pipe or gullet). It is caused by a failure of one or more of several normal mechanisms that prevent reflux at the lower end of the oesophagus where it joins the stomach.
Patients suffering from reflux often report symptoms such as heartburn, waterbrash (a feeling of excess saliva in the mouth), indigestion or even regurgitation of gastric juices or partially digested food. This often occurs in bed at night or after a large meal. Sometimes GORD can cause other problems including respiratory issues such as a chronic cough and irritation of the oesophagus leading to Barrett’s Oesophagus.
Most cases of GORD can be managed with medications alone, however in some situations surgery is required and, in these situations, it is generally very effective. The operation performed is a Laparoscopic (key-hole) Fundoplication. Hiatus Hernia can also lead to reflux and can also be managed with a surgical procedure to fix the hernia and the reflux simultaneously.