How do you control GER and GERD?
You may be able to control gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by
- not eating or drinking items that may cause GER, such as greasy or spicy foods and alcoholic drinks
- not overeating
- not eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
- losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
- quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
- taking over-the-counter medicines, such as Maalox , or Rolaids
How do doctors treat GERD?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medicines, non-surgical procedures, surgery, or a combination.
What are the benefits of medical treatment?
- Relatively “lower” costs compared to other treatments
- No sedation, anesthesia or incision is required
What are the risks of medical treatment?
- High risk of complications and progression to narrowing, ulcers, cancer
- Costs more on the long run
- Acid reflux medications causes more complications with long term use
What are the alternatives to non-surgical treatment of acid reflux
The following procedures strengthen the EGV without incisions:
- TIF (Esophyx)
The following procedures strengthen the EGV with small incisions:
- Laparoscopic Fundoplication and Hiatal Hernia Repair
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your GERD symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle changes or medicines. You’re more likely to develop complications from surgery than from medicines.
Fundoplication is the most common surgery for GERD. In most cases, it leads to long-term reflux control.
A surgeon performs fundoplication using a laparoscope, a thin tube with a tiny video camera. During the operation, a surgeon sews the top of your stomach around your esophagus to add pressure to the lower end of your esophagus and reduce reflux. The surgeon performs the operation at a hospital. You receive general anesthesia and can leave the hospital in 1 to 3 days. Most people return to their usual daily activities in 2 to 3 weeks.
Endoscopic techniques, such as endoscopic sewing and radiofrequency, help control GERD in a small number of people. Endoscopic sewing uses small stitches to tighten your sphincter muscle. Radiofrequency creates heat lesions, or sores, that help tighten your sphincter muscle. A surgeon performs both operations using an endoscope at a hospital or an outpatient center, and you receive general anesthesia.
The results for endoscopic techniques may not be as good as those for fundoplication. Doctors don’t use endoscopic techniques often.
Risks of Medical Therapy
Even though not every will experience these risks, it is important to note that medications prescribed for acid reflux have been note to carry several risks such as dementia, stomach cancers, bowel infections etc.
Long term use of these medications is currently not recommended. Furthermore, the FDA now requires these medications to carry black warning label.
Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for GER & GERD
How can your diet help prevent or relieve GER or GERD?
You can prevent or relieve your symptoms from gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by changing your diet. You may need to avoid certain foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse. Other dietary changes that can help reduce your symptoms include
- decreasing fatty foods
- eating small, frequent meals instead of three large meals
What should I avoid eating if I have GER or GERD?
Avoid eating or drinking the following items that may make GER or GERD worse:
- greasy or spicy foods
- tomatoes and tomato products
- alcoholic drinks
What can I eat if I have GER or GERD?
Eating healthy and balanced amounts of different types of foods is good for your overall health. For more information about eating a balanced diet, visit Choose My Plate.
If you’re overweight or obese, talk with your doctor or a dietitian about dietary changes that can help you lose weight and decrease your GERD symptoms. (link to advanced weight loss center portal)
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