Many options exist for the treatment of acid reflux and GERD. Your physician at St. Luke’s Health–The Woodlands Hospital’s Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that’s right for you. Many options, including lifestyle modification, medication, and surgery, are available to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux.
Some basic lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the amount of discomfort you experience from GERD and acid reflux. These include:
- Avoiding foods, drinks, and medications that can aggravate acid reflux symptoms (spicy foods, alcohol, fatty or fried foods, soda, citrus, vinegar, tomato products, etc.)
- Eating smaller portions
- Losing weight
- Elevating the head of your bed by 4-6 inches or using a wedge
- Exercising on an empty stomach
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding stress
Medications for acid reflux
A number of prescription and over-the-counter medications can relieve symptoms for those with moderate to severe acid reflux. Some of these GERD medications work to neutralize existing stomach acid, while others decrease the production of stomach acid. Most patients can successfully manage their symptoms with medication, but they require continued use to alleviate symptoms.
Some types of medication to treat heartburn and GERD are:
- Antacids - These medications neutralize stomach acids.
- H2 blockers - These medications reduce the production of stomach acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) - These medications wholly stop the production of stomach acid.
Over-the-counter medications for acid reflux are for short-term use (no longer than two weeks) for occasional acid reflux symptoms. If your symptoms persist longer than two weeks, schedule an appointment with one of our acid reflux specialists for additional treatment options.
Prescription-strength H2 blockers and PPIs are common treatments for GERD and effectively treat the symptoms—however, they do not treat the cause. Additionally, new data about the long-term use of PPIs has raised concerns. Speak to a specialist at our Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute if you have been using one of these medications for longer than three months.
Surgery for GERD
About 90% of people with acid reflux successfully manage their symptoms with medication. However, these GERD medications don’t treat the cause of acid reflux and don’t work for every patient. For those with moderate to severe symptoms, your doctor may consider surgery for acid reflux if:
- While taking medication, you continue to experience acid reflux symptoms.
- You experience adverse side effects from taking acid reflux medication.
- Your symptoms are ongoing after treatment ends.
- Your esophagus is damaged.
- You prefer not to take lifelong medication or are unable to afford to do so.
LINX Reflux Management System
As the only surgical implant approved by the FDA to treat GERD, the LINX System stops reflux before it starts. This minimally invasive procedure generally takes less than one hour and allows many to return to a more comfortable, reflux-free life.
Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors at the Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute at The Woodlands Hospital or Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center to discuss your treatment options.