Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Lifestyle Modifications, Pharmacologic Therapy

Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) Related Articles

If your symptoms did not improve with lifestyle changes or drug therapy, you may be a candidate for surgery. Some patients prefer a surgical approach as an alternative to a lifetime of taking medications. The goal of surgery for reflux disease is to strengthen the anti-reflux barrier. Persistent and painful belching that caused a disruptive lifestyle and interrupted sleep led Frank to Mimi Canto, M.D., at Johns Hopkins to perform the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure to treat his chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to the ACG, GERD is acid reflux that occurs more than a couple of times per week.

Heartburn

By practicing healthy drinking habits and taking note of how your symptoms respond to specific foods and drinks, you can reduce your reflux symptoms and improve your quality of life. Heavy consumption of alcohol may be a risk factor for developing GERD, and it could cause mucosal damage in the stomach and esophagus. Alcohol can negatively affect acid reflux, regardless of whether you’re drinking a glass of wine or downing a margarita. Hard liquor is more likely to aggravate reflux conditions quickly, though a glass of wine with a large or acidic meal can cause discomfort, too.

Your doctor usually can diagnose reflux disease by the symptoms you report. Acid reflux usually feels like a painful or burning sensation in your stomach, upper abdomen behind the breastbone, esophagus, and even up into your throat. You may have the feeling of a hot, acidic, or sour tasting fluid at the back of the throat or a sore throat. Normally, a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, prevents reflux (or backing up) of acid. The prognosis for acid reflux (GERD) is good in mild to moderate cases.

Furthermore, they might interfere with medications you may take – check with a doctor before use. Smoking damages the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is responsible for preventing stomach acids from backing up.

If food stays in your stomach too long before it goes to the small intestine, the stomach contents are more likely to get pushed up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. GERD is common in pregnant women. Lifestyle changes and antacids are usually tried first to treat pregnant women who have GERD. Most nonprescription antacids are safe to use during pregnancy to treat symptoms. Antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate can cause fluid to build up, so they should not be taken by pregnant women.

Definition and Facts about Acid Reflux (GERD)

  • If there is not a satisfactory response to this maximal treatment, 24 hour pH testing should be done.
  • Hard liquor is more likely to aggravate reflux conditions quickly, though a glass of wine with a large or acidic meal can cause discomfort, too.
  • “Heartburn is the manifestation – the symptom – of acid reflux, or stomach contents coming back up in your esophagus,” says Matilda Hagan, MD, a gastroenterologist at The Center for Inflammatory Bowel and Colorectal Diseases at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

GERD is first treated with over-the counter (OTC) medications, such as antacids, and lifestyle or dietary changes. Prescription medications may be needed in more severe cases to prevent damage to the esophagus. The citric acid that’s naturally present in citrus fruit can irritate the esophagus. While the stomach is made to withstand more acidic foods, the esophagus is not. Unsweetened coconut water can be another great option for people with acid reflux.

Children may have one symptom or many; no single symptom is universal in all children with GERD. The type of laparoscopic fundoplication was decided by the respective surgeons.

This recommendation is based on the belief that surgery is more effective than endoscopic surveillance or ablation of the abnormal tissue followed by treatment with acid-suppressing drugs in preventing both the reflux and the cancerous changes in the esophagus. There are no studies, however, demonstrating the superiority of surgery over drugs or ablation for the treatment of GERD and its complications.

treating acid reflux in adults

This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest discomfort called heartburn. If acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you have been using nonprescription medicines to treat your symptoms for longer than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the stomach acid could be causing damage to your esophagus.

The lining of the stomach is specially adapted to protect it from the powerful acid, but the esophagus is not protected. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, a strong acid that helps break down food and protect against pathogens such as bacteria. Exact figures vary, but diseases resulting from acid reflux are the most common gut complaint seen by hospital departments in the United States. When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called “grazing”-eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

Dyspepsia is caused by overeating, particularly spicy and fatty foods. Lifestyle changes can ease symptoms, but treatments are available for more severe cases. Read on for causes and diagnosis. Acid reflux usually produces heartburn, whether it is due to a single episode of overeating or persistent GERD. These medications are generally safe and effective, but like any prescription drug, they are not appropriate for all people with reflux disease and can cause side effects.

treating acid reflux in adults

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