Possible Treatments of GERD
So you have been diagnosed with GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. But, now what? After your GERD diagnosis, it is important to start a treatment plan. But treatment depends a lot on the severity of the illness. For some, they only have a mild version of the disease and will not need any severe help. For others, it is so bad that only extreme measures will help them through the pain. To know what your treatment will be, you must first know about the diagnosis.
GERD is a very severe form of heartburn. While you may get heartburn sometimes based on what you eat, GERD is much more severe and can cause other serious health problems. GERD happens when the opening at the connection of your stomach and esophagus is faulty. It doesn’t stay closed, so that your stomach acid comes up into your esophagus and causes damage and pain. The severity of this depends on how long this goes on and how often the stomach acid goes in there.
Once a doctor diagnoses you, your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. If it isn’t too bad, the doctor may just ask you to change your diet. You’ll find during your GERD diagnosis that there are certain foods that can aggravate the condition. For example, you should avoid drinking orange juice because of the high amounts of Vitamin C. You should also avoid drinking coffee or eating chocolate. Your doctor will give you a list of all the foods and drinks you should cut from your diet.
Your doctor may also ask you to change your sleep posture. Most sufferers of GERD have found that their symptoms are worst when they sleep. This is because the stomach acid has an easier time going into the esophagus when you are lying down. There are two main ways to combat this. Doctors have found that the symptoms are reduced significantly when the patient sleeps on their left side. If this is difficult, you can also prop up the top half of your body with pillows while you sleep.
If the GERD is particularly severe, your doctor may want to give you medication as part of your treatment. The medication will help prevent stomach acid from getting into your esophagus. Doctors won’t generally give this medication unless the patient has tried changing their diet and sleeping habits already. If that doesn’t work, then they will give you the medication that will help. Many people end up having to use that medication on a continuous basis for the remainder of their life since it doesn’t actually cure the condition and only helps you manage it.
The most severe cases of GERD need surgery in order to help relieve the condition. This is important because some cases can turn into esophageal cancer if it goes unchecked. Some doctors prefer doing the surgery over long term medication use because it is more effective and convenient. Often it depends on what the patient can afford and how much their health insurance will cover.
The GERD treatment depends heavily on the diagnosis that your doctor comes to when you see him for your condition. It is a good idea to know about everything that could happen before you go to the doctor so that you can prepare for what is to come. This way, you won’t be surprised if the doctor suggest surgery, or posture changes over medication. The more you know about your possible condition, the better time you will have. There are books on the subject at your local library, as well as more detailed information on the internet.