Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD occurs when acid-containing contents in the stomach leak back up into the esophagus, the tube connecting your throat to your stomach.
Symptoms of GERD
The main symptoms of GERD are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people with this condition don’t experience heartburn. Instead, they experience trouble swallowing, pain in the chest, and hoarseness in the morning. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
1. Lifestyle and Dietary Changes
Lifestyle and dietary changes are the first steps in treating GERD. Certain foods make the reflux worse. Recommendations to help relieve symptoms include:
Your doctor may recommend certain medications if lifestyle and dietary changes do not work. There are two categories of medications for this condition. One lessens the level of acid in your stomach and one increases the level of movement in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Medications recommended may include:
3. Endoscopic Therapy
This therapy is an option to address GERD. This can mean shorter treatment time, less pain, and faster recovery compared to laparoscopic surgery. However, there are still clinical trials testing the efficacy of endoscopic therapy for GERD.
You may be a candidate for surgery if your symptoms do not improve with lifestyle changes or drug therapy. Surgery is an alternative to a lifetime of taking medications for some patients. An anti-reflux barrier must be strengthened during surgery for reflux disease.
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