Acid reflux treatment consists of a variety of lifestyle changes, natural, over the counter and prescription medicine as well as surgery. There is no quick miracle fix to completely get rid of the condition as it is life lasting, however with a few changes and tips any person should be able to live a normal life and keep their gerd symptoms in check. Most of the problems and complications come from either ignoring or not understanding the illness.
Since most of the problems are due to stomach acid backing up and destroying the lining of the esophagus, the first thing to keep in mind is that the main focus point is on preventing this very thing from happening. The reason that the stomach produces acid is to break down food and there are different types of food as well as other causes such as smoking or drinking which induce additional acid production.
Warning: Following the advice listed below might make you feel better and healthier then you ever thought you can.
Lifestyle changes are key
Although the drug industry would have most people convinced that the best thing you can do is grab for a piece of medicine, there are other better and cheaper choices available. Many of the causes of the condition are due to the lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis.
Instead of eating a couple large meals, it is important to eat five or six smaller portions throughout the day. Just because the restaurants like to fill up your plate it does not mean that it is a smart thing to eat it all. In most European countries for example, serving portions tend to be quite smaller than what you will find in the US. By eating smaller portions, the stomach is never overfilled and is able to receive nutrients throughout the day without you ever feeling hungry. This in turn places less pressure on the stomach and will reduce the chance that the food will travel back up the esophagus.
Getting enough sleep, and exercising will allow your immune system to function their best. Being over tired and stressed out only improves the chances of gerd and can work against you. Do not eat right before sleep and allow your stomach a few hours to empty before laying down. This will prevent from reflux wrecking havoc during your sleep.
Dress comfortably so that the pants do not place unnecessary pressure on the stomach. Also try to sit up after eating, avoid recliners, and attempt to sleep at an elevated position to protect your throat.
Over the counter medications
The problem really escalates as the severity of the reflux gets to the point where the medications no longer work. There are also numerous people who mostly get heartburn in their sleep without even knowing it. I have met some of them which didn’t even realize what was happening until they either lost their voice or developed a serious disorder of the throat.
This does not mean that there is no room for such medications as it can definitely help keep reflux in check. It should be taken along with the lifestyle changes in order to supplement the change and help during the more painful bouts of heartburn or sour stomach.
Once the reflux becomes more severe it might be necessary to take some of the more powerful medicines. A test should be performed to get a proper diagnosis, and based on that the doctor will be able to prescribe the medicine that is most likely to help.
There are a two different types of these powerful drugs such as the pro-kinetic agents and proton pump inhibitors. They both work differently, but with the same goal in mind, and that is to control the production of stomach acid.
Natural and home remedies
Over the years people developed many natural remedies for reflux, some dating back thousands of years. These may work very well for some and a bit less for others. It is more of a trial and error when it comes to anything natural. However, this does not mean that they are not as useful and partnered along with lifestyle changes can be a very powerful ally.
Many of these can be made or bought at the local grocery store and most come with zero side effects unlike chemically produced medicine.
Surgery, when all else fails
This should be the last thing that you even think about when dealing with acid reflux. Most of the surgeries only work for a short time, and either have to be redone or produce additional complications. Some people have no choice but to take them, and that is fine… but it should not be done as an easy way out as it usually is everything but that.
There are procedures such as Endoscopies and Fundoplication during which the surgeon tightens the LES to stop the acid from moving up into the esophagus. One of the main problems is that this also prevents food from going down and can create major problems during eating. Once a tear happens, the procedure has to be done again. This is one acid reflux treatment that I would undertake with the upmost caution.