Treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Gastroesophageal reflux is a condition where the contents of your stomach reflux or leak back into your esophagus. Acid in the stomach contents irritates your esophagus. This can cause a painful burning feeling in your chest called heartburn or acid indigestion. If it happens more than twice a week for a few weeks, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Treatment options for GERD include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgical procedures. Making lifestyle changes can help you control GERD, such as losing weight if you're overweight, eating smaller meals, avoiding certain foods and drinks such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and fatty or greasy foods. Staying upright for three hours after meals. Avoiding eating two to three hours before going to bed. Wearing loose fitting clothes around your waist to avoid squeezing your stomach, which can push acid up into your esophagus, and quitting smoking if you smoke. There are several types of medications that can help control your symptoms. Antacids help relieve heartburn by neutralizing the stomach acid that causes it. H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors relieve symptoms by reducing the amount of acid produced in your stomach. Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs also help heal damage to your esophagus caused by reflux. Prokinetics can help your stomach empty faster so that its contents don't back up into your esophagus. You may need a combination of these medicines to control your symptoms. If lifestyle changes and medication aren't working, or if you have a hiatal hernia, your healthcare provider may advise a surgical procedure called fundoplication. A hiatal hernia is a condition where part of your stomach bulges up through your diaphragm. During the procedure, if you have a hiatal hernia, your surgeon will move your stomach back to its proper place. Then, your surgeon may tighten the opening in your diaphragm with stitches to prevent your stomach from bulging up through it. Next, the upper part of your stomach will be wrapped around your lower esophagus. It will be held there with stitches. This helps prevent stomach contents from leaking back into your esophagus. To find out more about treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease, talk to your healthcare provider.