Can Electrical Stimulation Help Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux disease is on the rise in the United States. Anyone who suffers from the recurring symptoms of acid reflux thoroughly understands how uncomfortable this condition can be. There are a variety of ways to treat the symptoms of acid reflux. However, a possible new treatment, electrical stimulation of the muscular valve in the esophagus, may be a safe and effective way to manage this disease.
Photo credit: EndoStim
Those who suffer from acid reflux also known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease have a weak and dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter. It is the job of the sphincter to serve as a gateway from the esophagus into the stomach. If working properly, it should remain closed while food is being digested. When not working properly, this little muscular valve opens, allowing partially digested food and acid to creep back up into the esophagus. Soon to follow is the pain and misery of that familiar burning sensation that is so well known to those who have been diagnosed with acid reflux.
While the studies supporting electrical stimulation of the sphincter are still somewhat limited, the outcomes show promise. At this point there is growing body of evidence that electrical stimulation produces a significant and sustained improvement in GERD symptoms. Researchers are seeing a reduction in the use of Proton Pump Inhibitors as well. Furthermore, this therapy can be used without side effects.
If you suffer from acid reflux disease, it is important that your doctor develops a treatment plan to help you manage and control the symptoms. Uncontrolled acid reflux can become serious leading to cancer in some patients. However, staying abreast of all new research and development is a proactive way of taking charge of your own health. With proper medication, treatment, lifestyle changes, and education most people can manage the symptoms and live a more comfortable life.
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