People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux will find that treatment options do exist to help them enjoy life normally without concerns for nagging, uncomfortable and often painful symptoms. While the best treatment option will depend on the particular case in hand, the goal of most is to reduce painful symptoms while also preventing long-term damage acid can dole out to the digestive system, especially the esophagus.
There are three main treatment options doctors have at their disposal to assist those with acid reflux or GERD. They are:
• Medications – Prescription medication can be useful for relieving heartburn symptoms while helping prevent damage caused by stomach acid. These medications are often found over the counter, but there are prescription strength antacids and other medications that may also assist. Some people find that medication controls their symptoms without a need for further treatment. Some medications may be used symptomatically, but others are prescribed for daily use indefinitely.
• Surgery –The most common surgery for GERD is called a fundoplication. This involves wrapping the top part of the stomach around the very bottom of the esophagus to strengthen the muscle that closes the esophagus to keep food and acid from backing up. The surgery is typically performed using a laparoscopic technique, but open surgery may sometimes be required.
• Endoscopic treatments – These are similar to surgery, but they are not called such since incisions are not required. Endoscopic treatments are relatively new, but involve the strengthening of the muscle as in the case in a full surgical procedure.
The best treatment for GERD or acid reflux will depend on the particular case in hand and the severity. To find out more about the options, be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare provider. Surgical options are generally only indicated when side-effects are worrisome or other treatments, such as medication and lifestyle changes have proven to not be effective.