What Options Are Available For Acid Reflux Treatment?
Acid reflux is also known as GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease. It occurs when a sphincter that is located at the bottom of the esophagus stops working properly. The problem is that food that has passed through the esophagus to the stomach can come back up through the sphincter into the esophagus and sometimes even into the mouth. The result can be painful heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest and throat, and even long term damage to the esophagus if not acid reflux treatment is not sought.
Acid reflux treatment can vary from person to person once it is diagnosed. For some, lifestyle changes may be sufficient to curb the pain and discomfort of the disease. These modifications can include avoiding foods that trigger the symptoms. There are many foods that are found to bring on acid reflux, and that list can be a good place to begin. However, a food that might be a problem for one person may not cause an issue for another. Patients are often advised to keep a diet diary, so that offensive foods can be identified and avoided.
Other things to avoid or limit if acid reflux is diagnosed are overeating, alcohol, coffee and smoking. A person who is overweight may be advised to lose the excess pounds as a part of the acid reflux treatment plan. Since symptoms can be exacerbated after a night of lying flat, elevating the upper body by about eight inches during sleep can lead to more comfortable mornings.
When Lifestyle Changes Are Not Enough
If lifestyle changes do not bring about the desired relief, other steps can be taken for acid reflux treatment. Sometimes over-the-counter antacids will do the trick. In other cases, a prescription medication might be required. If medication becomes the acid reflux treatment of choice, the patient must understand that it is likely the medicine will have to be taken regularly and continued indefinitely.
For those who do not wish to continue medication indefinitely, or the medication is not effective, another option is surgery. There is a surgical procedure that can be done to strengthen the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach, and thus prevent acid reflux from occurring. The surgery is done by laparoscopy and has had good results.
Acid reflux can be a painful and sometime serious disease. Fortunately it is also a disease that is easy to diagnose, and the many options for acid reflux treatment make it a much easier disease to live with.