Serenity Gastroenterology

Reflux Treatment in Brisbane

(gastro-oesophageal reflux disease)

What is reflux?


Long-term acid reflux can cause chronic inflammation in your oesophagus, the muscular tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. That can lead to several different problems:

  • Oesophagitis: inflammation, bleeding or ulcers that cause pain and make swallowing difficult
  • Oesophageal stricture: stomach acid leads to the formation of scar tissue, which narrows the route for food to pass through and makes swallowing difficult
  • Barrett’s oesophagus: constant inflammation over many years leads changes the cells in the lower oesophagus and increases the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

If you’re experiencing ongoing acid reflux, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Heartburn – a burning sensation in your chest after eating, which is often worse when you lie down
  • An unpleasant taste due to the regurgitation (backwash) of partially digested food
  • Pain in your upper abdomen or chest that’s not related to any cardiac cause
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling like there’s a lump in your throat.

You’re at higher risk of developing GERD if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a hiatal hernia (a bulge at the top of your stomach)
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a connective tissue disorder
  • Experience delayed stomach emptying

People with GERD often notice that certain things worsen their symptoms. Such triggers can include:

  • Smoking
  • Medications like aspirin
  • Eating fatty foods
  • Consuming alcohol or caffeine

Treating reflux involves your doctor listening carefully to your symptoms, asking informed questions and developing a personalised plan to manage your condition. Some patients need very little intervention, others need more help.

Evidence-based strategies to manage GERD include:

  • Helping you understand the condition
  • Helping you make lifestyle changes where necessary, such as losing weight, changing your diet and learning relaxation techniques relevant to the gut-brain axis
  • Prescribing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a medication that reduces the amount of stomach acid you produce
    • We will often trial this medication for 4-8 weeks if you’re experiencing heartburn, regurgitation and/or chest pain without a cardiac cause.
    • If you respond well, we then try to find the lowest suitable dose for you. If you don’t respond to PPIs, we can increase the dose or switch to another acid-suppression medicine.
    • We review your progress after 12 months and may recommend an endoscopy to help decide if long-term PPI therapy is needed.
  • An endoscopy so we can examine your oesophagus from the inside, inspecting it for signs of:
    • Oesophagitis
    • Hiatus hernia
    • Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Additional medications to ease problems with sleeping, regurgitation, belching or other symptoms
  • Psychological support if you have become oversensitised to pain in your oesophagus – this can help you learn diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation strategies to ease your symptoms.

How can Serenity Gastroenterology help?

At Serenity Gastroenterology we provide comprehensive and personalised assessment and management of reflux.

We understand that eating is meant to be an enjoyable experience, not one associated with pain, discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms.

After listening carefully to your symptoms, we will recommend an evidence-based care pathway to ease your current symptoms, promote long-term health and provide peace of mind.

Speak to your GP today to start your care journey.