GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease takes form when recurring acid refluxes occur twice a week or more times. Acid reflux is the backflow of stomach acid, bile and gases into the esophagus when the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t function correctly. Common symptoms of acid reflux can be:
- Regurgitation of sour liquid or food
- Chest pain
- Heartburn, usually after eating that worsens at night
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
Night-time acid reflux is characterized by a chronic cough and new or worsening asthma . Not all who have heartburn have the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, but the primary symptoms of GERD are heartburn, acid taste in mouth and regurgitation. Other Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease symptoms in addition to the ones mentioned above include:
- Chronic dry cough at night
- Bad breath
- Sudden increase in saliva
The question, that now arises is can GERD be cured? The answer is yes, but the duration of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. The first step is to try and work with natural remedies if the severity is low. An occasional bout of acid reflux can be calmed with simple items like aloe juice, baking soda etc. But when the problem becomes GERD and one experiences acid reflux every week then over the counter medications are necessary. If the medicines do not help within 2-3 weeks, then there are other options that your physician may suggest.
The following treatments are available as options for GERD, acid reflux or heartburn:
Antacids neutralize the acid in the stomach and doctors may prescribe one that is available in the market for quick relief to patients suffering from GERD.
H-2 receptor blockers
These medicines work slower than antacids but reduce acid production in the stomach. They provide longer relief time to patients and can reduce acid production for up to 12 hours. H2 receptor blockers are prescription medicines.
Proton pump inhibitors
These medicines act as strong blockers for acid production and provide the needed time for the esophagus to heal for the patients who suffer from GERD.
A mix of medicines may be prescribed to ensure a cure. The mix may include the medicines mentioned above along with medicines like baclofen that boosts the lower esophageal sphincter. Baclofen reduces the relaxation frequency of the lower esophageal sphincter and reduces the impact of GERD.
Medication usually cures GERD in most cases. However, if the symptoms persist or individuals want to avoid long-term ingestion of medication, there are surgical procedures that a physician can advise on.
Endoscopic view of Stomach Showing Peptic Strictures
This surgical procedure is for patients of GERD, wherein the lower esophageal sphincter is reinforced. This is used when the LES is not functioning well. The lower esophageal sphincter is tightened by wrapping an upper part of the stomach across the outer part of the lower esophageal sphincter. The procedure is performed laparoscopically where 3-4 incisions are made in the abdomen to complete the surgery.
A Linx device is like a ring with a small sized titanium magnetic beads that is wrapped across the point where the esophagus and stomach meet. The magnetic force of the beads is strong to stop the acid from entering the esophagus, but weak enough to allow the passage of food. A doctor may choose to implant this device in a GERD patient, through a minimally invasive procedure.
GERD can be managed and even if the disease persists, it does not shorten human lifespan. Refluxmd provides complete information on acid refluxes along with answers to questions on surgery and medication.