GERD Treatment and Basic Prevention Tips for Patients
Unlike a wide variety of stomach disorders, GERD is something that’s completely curable. In fact, with the right precautions, you can even prevent the disease. What matters is providing the right type of GERD treatment and adequate measures to follow after the diagnosis. Our extensively trained surgeon, Dr. Hossein Bagshahi, can help you find a solution for your acid reflux and GERD symptoms using the latest techniques, including non-surgical and minimally invasive options.
What is GERD?
In simple terms, GERD is the abbreviated form of gastroesophageal reflux disorder; a reflux that causes the stomach to automatically “throw up” liquid contents that are high in acidity. As a result, the patient suffers from a shot of excoriating pain, alongside heartburn/burning along the linings of the esophagus tract.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid moves up above the diaphragm and into the esophagus where it can cause discomfort and burning. One of the most common causes is hiatal hernia, which is a stomach abnormality in which the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and stomach valve opening move above the diaphragm (a muscle that separates the stomach from the chest), allowing stomach acid to seep into the esophagus. In other cases, the LES may not close completely or remain fully open, resulting in a similar effect.
What Are the Symptoms of GERD?
Usually GERD is categorized as a phenomenon that occurs especially during sleep. Some people feel the reflux a few hours after or in between a hefty meal. It all depends on the severity of the disorder. However, the good news is that GERD treatment is possible, and a person can be completely cured of this disorder for life.
How Is GERD Diagnosed?
In order to assess and diagnose a patient for GERD Treatment, Dr. Bagshahi will ask a series of questions related to acidity and heartburn. In addition, he might perform an upper endoscopy, a process where a thin flexible tube-cam is inserted in the patient’s mouth to see the linings of the esophagus. This way, he can determine the actual state of the esophagus and check for signs of any ulcers, etc., inside the tract.
Is There a Good GERD Diet to Follow?
GERD is usually triggered on the basis of food and liquid intake. Eating a lot of spicy food can put the stomach under stress, causing it to produce high amounts of acid meant to help digest the food. However, while doing so, the stomach shoots up the excess amount of this acidic content back to the person’s mouth.
In many cases, by simply maintaining a healthy diet plan, you are following a common GERD treatment at home. Include fruit, raw vegetables, and salads in your menu to not only prevent GERD but also ensure optimal health and body level performance.
You should be aware there are a lot of trigger foods that act as a catalyst. For instance, eating high amounts of chocolate or drinking excessive amounts of coffee can accelerate GERD phenomenon. Excess anything is bad for health – so, keep an eye on your diet choices.
What Are My GERD Treatment Options?
Every patient’s needs are unique, and we offer a wide range of options that can be tailored to suit your particular condition and situation. In addition to providing advice about non-surgical and natural acid reflux treatments, we also prescribe medication and can recommend a surgical approach in the event it is deemed necessary. Some examples of treatments include:
Natural Acid Reflux Remedies
In addition to following a good GERD diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, it can be very helpful to keep your head lifted when you rest. During sleep, by keeping the position of your pillow slightly elevated, you are naturally preventing the GERD phenomenon from occurring. Many patients have benefited from this simple technique, reporting that they never experienced acid reflux again after implementing it.
Following a proper exercise program is also essential. A moderate amount of walking can also dramatically reduce GERD symptoms.
Acid Reflux Medicine
Both over-the-counter and prescribed medicine can help minimize GERD symptoms. Zantac® and Prilosec OTC® are two popular options available from most drug stores and pharmacies. These treatments can be excellent options to address occasional heartburn. For heartburn that occurs two or more times a week (GERD), a daily pill can provide more significant relief for most people. Pepcid®, Zantac®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, and other brands are available in stronger doses with a prescription.
When non-surgical treatment proves insufficient to address your symptoms and you are experiencing esophageal inflammation or ulcers, surgery may be recommended to help tighten the LES so it more fully closes or to correct an anatomical issue that may be causing GERD.
Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication for GERD
Fundoplication is the standard surgical treatment for GERD and is designed to tighten and reconstruct the valve of the LES. In transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), surgery is performed through the mouth and down the esophagus, without the need for open surgery or incisions of any type. This is a leading minimally invasive technique that allows for shorter recovery times and improved healing.
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication for GERD
Another form of minimally invasive fundoplication uses small incisions and miniaturized instruments to repair the LES. While a bit more invasive than TIF, laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication still offers shorter recovery times and improved healing over traditional open surgery. Selecting the right approach for your condition will depend on several factors unique to you.
LINX® for GERD
Small enough to fit in a coin purse, the LINX device is an innovative approach to GERD treatment that is designed to help close the valve opening to the stomach when not in use. LINX improves the function of the LES without reconstruction or surgical alteration by placing an elasticized titanium ring with magnetic beads around the valve opening using laparoscopic techniques. This method allows the stomach contents to enter but hampers stomach acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. Patients can still belch or vomit as needed, but GERD symptoms can be eliminated using this simple device. LINX is made to last a lifetime; however, it can also be removed if necessary, and the titanium will not set off metal detectors or cause issues with MRI machines.
Have other questions about GERD and your treatment options? Talk to our medical team today to learn more about the advanced techniques that are now available to treat this common concern.