Op brings relief for Chris's 40 years of pain

One in ten people suffer acid reflux and the consequences can be devastating, but there is a treatment. Catherine Scott reports.

Chris Ellison, 67, a retired beauty therapist from Pontefract, suffered with the symptoms of reflux for more than 40 years before finding a long-term solution. She was diagnosed with GORD, (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) a chronic, often progressive condition that allows acid to flow back from the stomach into the throat after eating.

Today she is symptom-free after undergoing a treatment at the Spire Leeds Hospital. The LINX system reduces or eliminates symptoms through a simple reversible procedure using laparoscopic or keyhole surgery.

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The problem first started 43 years ago when Chris was pregnant with her son. “I never got a full night’s sleep. Just lying down was enough to trigger it, but certain foods would make it worse – pastry, fruit, chocolate and anything sweet. It becomes a chronic condition and can cause depression because you are not able to live a full life, ” says Chris.

She had two endoscopies and was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia, gastritis and a stomach ulcer. Chris was concerned she might develop oesophagus cancer as a result of the relentless acid reflux and having suffered cancer in 2002. Then in 2014 her condition reached a crisis point. “I was suffering severe side effects from all the medications and I didn’t want to have to take them for the rest of my life. I felt if I could treat the cause of the reflux rather than manage the symptoms I would be in a better position.”

Chris discovered the LINX procedure offered by Spire Leeds Hospital. She mentioned it to her GP, who had not heard of it as it wasn’t available on the NHS. She was so concerned about her health she decided to pay for the treatment privately.

She underwent the LINX procedure last July under the care of consultant Simon Dexter. Straight after surgery Chris felt relief from her symptoms. Within two months she was eating normally. She can now eat what and when she wants. Her mental health has improved as she said being in chronic pain all of the time made her feel down and depressed.

“I’ve never looked back since the surgery. I’ve had no acid reflux problems whatsoever, I can eat and drink what I want and don’t need to take any medications. I’m delighted with my new lease of life. I’ve just started my retirement and I’m determined to enjoy it.”