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Acid Reflux Treatment

Acid Reflux treatment options include diet, lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.

Treatment for acid reflux or GERD

1. Medication

2. Diet and lifestyle changes

3. Surgery

Medication

Antacids, which are available over-the-counter, are the most frequently used medicines for acid reflux treatment or GERD treatment.

Antacids work by neutralizing the acid produced by the stomach. This acid is produced to chemically breakdown food so that the nutrients can be easily absorbed by the small intestines.

The most commonly used ingredients for antacids over-the-counter are:

• Sodium bicarbonate

• Calcium carbonate

• Aluminium hydroxide

• Magnesium hydroxide

Popular brand names of antacids include Gelusil, Mylanta and Rulox.

Histamine Acid Blockers (H2 blockers)

Unlike antacids, which works by neutralizing stomach acid, H2 blockers work by significantly reducing the level of stomach acid production caused by the release of histamines.

One major advantage of H2 blockers is its ability to heal both gastric and esophageal ulcers caused by gastritis. Popular brand names H2 blockers include Zantac, Tagamet and Pepcid.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors, also called acid pump inhibitors, are the latest drugs in use today for acid reflux treatment. Like H2 blockers, they work by suppressing the production of acid in the stomach by controlling a pump in the stomach’s acid secreting cells.

The major advantages of Proton pump inhibitors over H2 blockers are:

• More effective and faster in healing erosive esophagitis.

• They need to be taken only once a day compared to multiple doses for H2 blockers.

Currently, the most popular Proton Pump Inhibitor prescribed for treatment of acid reflux or GERD is Nexium.

Nexium is used to treat acid reflux symptoms and other conditions involving excessive production of stomach acid. It is also used to promote healing of erosive esophagitis (damage to your esophagus caused by stomach acid).

Nexium may be prescribed to prevent gastric ulcer caused by infection with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or overconsumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Diet and lifestyle changes

Making changes to your diet can greatly reduce episodes of acid reflux or GERD and symptoms of acid reflux.

The main objectives for making changes include reduction of pain in the esophagus, lower the acidity of the stomach and preventing acid reflux.

Diet that helps prevent acid reflux

• Eat smaller but more frequent meals. Avoid heavy meals.

• Where possible, avoid meals done with lots of oil or has high amounts of animal fats.

• Limit alcohol intake.

• Acid reflux food to avoid include coffee, chocolates and mints. These foods have the tendency to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure.

• Avoid deep-fried fatty foods.

• Avoid drinking excessive amounts of carbonated beverages with your meals as this would reduce high abdominal pressure.

• Chew your food thoroughly. Sending large amounts of under-chewed food to the stomach too quickly may lead to acid reflux.

• Avoid acidic foods including citrus fruits and spicy foods.

Lifestyle changes

This would include exercising more frequently to reduce weight as obesity has been implicated as a risk factor. Wearing of tight-fitting clothes exerts pressure on the abdomen which can cause increased incidents of acid reflux.

Lying down immediately after a meal should be avoided as acid reflux tends to occur in a reclining position.

Surgery

Surgical procedures for acid reflux treatment are always considered only as a last resort due to the inherent risks involved. Surgeries are implicated when the frequency of acid reflux becomes severe and the damage they cause.

People with Barrett’s Esophagus, a physiological change to the tissues of the esophagus caused by acid reflux, are prone to esophageal cancer. Acid reflux and GERD is a common disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide.

Making changes to our diets and lifestyle can usually control acid reflux symptoms very well. Today’s advancement in the field of medicine makes it possible to control GERD without the need of surgery.