You can learn more about severe acid reflux treatment below. Gastroesohpageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as acid reflux disease, is a chronic disorder in which stomach acids damage the lining of the esophagus and manifests in a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Left untreated, GERD can eventually develop into Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition; fortunately, there are several options for severe acid reflux treatment, including lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.
Changes in diet are said to improve GERD, although that notion may be supported more by anecdotal evidence rather than scientific study; however, studies do show that weight loss and avoiding food at least two hours before bedtime has positive results. Additionally, sleeping on the left side, as well as elevating the head during sleep, is shown to reduce nighttime episodes.
Several medications are also useful in treating severe acid reflux. Gastric H2 receptor blockers, including ranitidine, famotidine, and cimetidine (drugs typically used as antihistamines) reduce acid secretion and relieve symptoms in 50% of patients. Over-the-counter antacids are also useful in relieving symptoms, although it has been shown that antacids composed of calcium carbonate actually increase the acidity of the stomach. Gaviscon may help coat the mucous membrane and decrease reflux, but it also increases the stomach pH level. Prokinetics, such as metoclopramide (sold as Reglan) improve the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and hastens the gastric emptying process. Sucralfate is a helpful medication that is taken in conjunction with other medicines to heal esophageal damage; however, it must be taken several times per day and cannot be taken close to mealtimes. Mosapride citrate, a 5-HT4 receptor agonist, is an effective treatment for acid reflux but is prescribed mainly outside the United States. Finally, there are proton pump inhibitors, including omeprazole (better known under the brand name of Prilosec), esomeprazole, pantoprazole, lansprazole, and rabeprazole. These inhibitors stop secretion at the proton pump, and are generally recognized as the most effective medication for treating GERD.
For most cases, medication is often the only treatment prescribed by doctors, but for some patients especially those with hiatal hernias, surgery may be required. The most common procedure is the Nissen fundoplication, where the upper portion of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter. This procedure serves to fortify the sphincter, prevent future GERD occurrences, and remove a hiatus hernia, if one exists. Doctors also use fundoplication without making incisions using an Esophyx device, which repaids the connection between the stomach and diaphragm. Vagotomy, an older treatment, involves the removal of vagus nerve branches that lead to the stomach; this treatment has mostly been replaced with using medication instead. Additionally, there is an FDA approved implanted device, the Stretta Procedure, although its effectiveness in comparison with surgery remains to be seen.
GERD is a problematic disease that causes pain, discomfort, and can even lead to a precancerous condition, so it is important for patients to seek medical attention if they suspect they have GERD. Fortunately, through diet, exercise, medication, and sometimes, surgery, the disease can be treated easily and effectively. Hope you enjoy severe acid reflux treatment article here.