Millions of individuals all over the globe has gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Oftentimes, the indications of acid reflux are quite evident such as heartburn or sour acid bubbling in the throat. The indications can be vague as cough or hoarseness. It is important to note that the condition is characterized by frequent, chronic episodes of acid reflux. If the condition is left untreated, it can damage the esophagus and possibly result to the development of cancer.
How to manage GERD
Avoid bubbly beverages
When an individual is diagnosed with GERD, the diet is usually checked. It is recommended to reduce the intake of carbonated beverages including sodas and seltzer water. Take note that the bubbles in these beverages can carry up acid from the stomach.
Cutting down fat content
A diet that is low in fat can reduce acid reflux. Foods that are rich in fat can slow down stomach-emptying as well as make the stomach more acidic since food is longer to digest.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter which is a valve that functions to prevent the stomach contents including gastric acid from flowing of the esophagus. An individual with GERD should limit his/her intake to a cup of coffee in a day.
Cut down weight
When it comes to long-term management, cutting down weight is usually recommended. A properly planned weight-loss program can actually provide relief to the GERD symptoms in most cases of individuals who are overweight or obese.
Antacids are suitable for occasional heartburn which provides momentary relief by neutralizing the stomach acid. As for GERD, the primary treatment is usually a proton pump inhibitor which reduces the amount of acid in the stomach. In addition, H2 blockers are also used to lower down the acid.
Based on studies, it revealed that cessation of smoking can help improve acid reflux, particularly if medications are not enough.
Surgery specifically fundoplication is used to treat GERD by looping a region of the upper part of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus, thus creating a new sphincter or valve.
Take note that it does not work but not for everybody. The doctor might recommend it for those who have severe symptoms and could not be relieved by medications and lifestyle changes.