General Surgeon, Darwin


Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)

Reflux occurs due to the contents of the stomach coming back up into the oesophagus or gullet, where it can cause heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest or throat) and sometimes regurgitation (food or fluid comes up into the mouth). Occasional heartburn is common and can be caused by overeating, exercise too soon after eating, excess coffee or alcohol, being overweight and advanced pregnancy. Persistent reflux (more than twice a week) is considered to be gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GORD), and can eventually lead to more serious health problems. GORD can affect people at all ages.

Do I need any tests?
Reflux disease is usually diagnosed on symptoms. Special tests are not usually necessary unless medication does not give sufficient benefit, or if you have alarm features such as weight loss, difficulty or pain with swallowing, and vomiting, Specific tests include endoscopy, manometry or pH monitoring. At endoscopy, a flexible telescope tube is used to inspect the lining of your oesophagus and stomach.

How is reflux treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Mild or infrequent symptoms often respond to antacids which neutralize the acid produced by the stomach. Some people may require drugs that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces.

What are the surgical options for treating reflux?
Surgery is usually reserved for people who have severe symptoms, whose symptoms are not relieved adequately with medication or who do not want to take medications long-term. The most common operation is laparoscopic (key-hole) fundoplication.

Peptic Ulcer Disease

Ulcers and occur at many sites in the Upper Gastro-Intestinal tract. One in ten persons will have an ulcer during their lifetime. Ulcers occur from the corrosive action of stomach acid, and can cause pain, bleeding and vomiting. The two common causes are some anti-inflammatory drugs (often used to treat arthritis) and Helicobacter infection of the stomach.

Treatment of Peptic Ulcer
Most ulcers can be controlled by medications that lower the amount of acid the stomach produces. Treatment should also include stopping those medications that cause ulcers, and eradicating Helicobacter infection. Surgery nowadays is very uncommon and is usually for the treatment of complications such as bleeding.







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