Acid Reflux Treatments

Although acid reflux is a strong indicator of GERD, symptoms do not need to be present for you to have the condition. It is important to discuss this possibility with one of our physicians, who will offer a free screening to determine your condition and give an accurate diagnosis. During these screenings, physicians may run tests that examine the inflammation in the esophagus or check for Barrett’s esophagus.

Below are some of the treatment options for GERD:

Prescription Medications

There are two types of medications used to treat GERD.

H2 blockers

In prescription doses, H2 blockers lower the amount of acid produced in the stomach, which allows the esophagus to heal in approximately 50 percent of patients. Although symptoms are essentially eliminated, only about 25 percent of those who used H2 blockers remain in remission.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs limit the amount of acid secretion in the stomach, which helps eliminate symptoms and allows the esophagus to heal. This medication works for 80-90 percent of patients. Long term use of PPI’s may be associated with side effects.

Surgery

When medication has proven ineffective or when complications arise from this condition, surgery is considered to be a safe, effective treatment. The Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication operation is minimally invasive and will deliver immediate relief from heartburn. Side effects from the surgery may arise in some cases, so it is important to discuss any and all possibilities with your physicians.

Modify your lifestyle

Although our physicians offer viable treatment options, there are many things you can do to prevent acid reflux. By making these little modifications, you can greatly improve your quality of life and avoid the painful symptoms of heartburn.

Heartburn is described as a burning sensation within the chest. This occurs when the acidic stomach contents reflux into the esophagus. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent this painful condition.

Change your position

Many people suffering from heartburn report that it often occurs when they lie down after a meal. That is because gravity comes into play with your reflux, and if you have eaten before you recline, gravity is less likely to keep the contents of your meal in your stomach and out of your esophagus. We suggest that you remain in an upright position for approximately three hours after eating. If you experience heartburn while you sleep, use another pillow or cushion to prop your head up above your esophagus. You may also consider putting off any exertion after you eat, such as exercising or doing active household chores.

How you eat

For those whose eyes are bigger than their stomach, consider cutting back your meal portions. A bigger meal will stay in your stomach longer and put pressure on your LES muscles. Try to plan your meals earlier in the evening so your body has time to digest your food before you go to sleep. You may also brainstorm ways to make mealtime more relaxing so you aren’t eating under stressful conditions.

What’s on your plate

Although eating habits can affect people differently, certain foods may inhibit the LES’s ability to keep stomach acids out of the esophagus. Many patients have reported that chocolate, onions and fatty foods trigger heartburn. Beverages such as alcohol, coffee, tea and soda, as well as citrus juices may also irritate the esophagus. These liquids may also increase the stomach acid production.

Other factors

The frequency of your heartburn may be attributed to your weight. Excess abdominal fat presses on the stomach, which can push the stomach contents upward. Many people find losing even a little weight helps their symptoms. Pregnancy is another trigger for heartburn, especially in the first trimester. The LES is weakened by certain hormones that arise during pregnancy, not to mention the limited space in the abdomen. Finally, stress or emotional highs and lows can also trigger heartburn.

Testimonials

“I’m so glad the doctor in West Plains couldn’t get me in, I just love everyone in this office.”

—Charlotte | Mtn. Grove

“This place always makes me smile – everyone is so compassionate. Being recently diagnosed with breast cancer the staff were so helpful.”

—Anne | Alton