- Testing: if you have symptoms of GERD, there are tests you can have done to help us figure out how serious your reflux is. After meeting with a doctor and answering questions about your lifestyle, eating habits, and symptoms, we may decide to do further tests. These can include a barium upper GI, and an esophageal endoscopy which is performed by placing a thin tube down your throat.
- Non-surgical treatment: in its early stages, GERD can respond to lifestyle changes. You can avoid things like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food. Sometimes it helps to sleep with the head of your bed raised a few inches, and to avoid wearing tight pants. Maintaining a health weight and not-smoking are also helpful in reducing GERD symptoms. There are medications that can be recommended if lifestyle changes are not enough.
- Medical treatment: if lifestyle changes do not produce sufficient improvement in GERD symptoms, there are medical treatments you can try. For example, antacids can counteract the strength of stomach acid and H-2 blockers suppress some of your stomach acid production. There are other muscles that work by increasing the strength of the esophagus’ squeezing action, which can help stop stomach acid from rising into it.
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when swallowed food and stomach acid travel back up into the esophagus. The stomach acid can irritate the esophagus and give you the feeling of heart burn. While occasional heart burn is common, recurring heart burn can indicate GERD, which can lead to more serious health concerns. Sores and ulcers can develop in your esophagus causing pain, swelling, and difficulty swallowing. GERD can eventually lead to Barrett’s esophagus and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.