Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or Acid Reflux, is the reflux of gastric acid to the esophagus. It can be treated using lifestyle and diet modification, medicines, and surgery.
Lifestyle modification is the simplest management for patients with GERD. This management primarily focuses on changing the eating habit of the person. Since GERD is more injurious during bedtime, it is highly recommended for patients with GERD to elevate the head of the bed when sleeping. This is because when lying down, gravity does not oppose reflux compared to that when sitting upright or standing.
Lifestyle modification is paired with diet modification in the management of GERD. Reflux usually occurs after meals when the stomach is distributed with food. That is why, for GERD patients, small and frequent meals are highly recommended. Since some foods worsen GERD symptoms, there are also diet restrictions for patients with GERD. These are chocolates, peppermints, alcoholic beverages, spicy foods, and caffeinated drinks. Acid-containing foods such as citrus and tomato juices and also carbonated beverages are avoided. It is also recommended for GERD patients to chew gum because it stimulates the production of bicarbonate-containing saliva and increases the rate of swallowing, neutralizing the acid in the esophagus.
There are a lot of medications used for GERD, such as antacids, histamine antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, pro-motility drugs, and foam barriers. But, the medication of choice for GERD is antacid. It neutralizes the gastric acid preventing acid reflux. It is taken one hour after meals preventing the occurrence of GERD symptoms. Calcium-based antacids stimulate the release of gastrin which is responsible for the stimulation of acid secretion. Here, its side effect is acid rebound. Although it is not clinically significant, acid rebound is believed to be harmful to GERD patients. Aluminum-containing antacids can cause constipation, while magnesium-containing antacids cause diarrhea. These two types of antacids can be used alternately to relieve constipation and diarrhea in GERD patients.
Fundoplication is a surgical procedure used to prevent reflux. Any hiatal hernia is dropped below the diaphragm and the opening in the diaphragm is tightened around the esophagus. The upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus making an artificial lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This procedure is done through incising the abdomen (laparotomy); or using a technique called laparoscopy where a small scope and surgical instruments are passed through puncture sites in the abdomen. Surgery is effective in relieving GERD symptoms and treating GERD complications. However, GERD patients who have undergone surgery are still advised to continue taking medications for GERD.
Source by Matt Wilkins