Acid Reflux Treatment Options
Many options exist for the treatment of acid reflux and GERD. Your physician at CHI St. Luke’s Health–The Woodlands Hospital 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 food, drink, and medications that can aggravate acid reflux symptoms (spicy foods, alcohol, fatty or fried foods, soda, citrus, vinegar, or 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
A number of prescription and over-the-counter medications can relieve symptoms for those with moderate to severe acid reflux. Some of these medications work to neutralize existing stomach acid, while others decrease the production of stomach acid. Most patients’ symptoms can be successfully managed with medication, but they require continued use for alleviation of 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.
- PPIs. PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) wholly stop the production of stomach acid.
Over-the-counter medications for acid reflux are designed for short-term use (no longer than two weeks) for occasional acid reflux symptoms. If your symptoms persist longer than two weeks, consult one of our acid reflux specialists for additional treatment options.
Prescription strength H2 Blockers and PPIs are frequently prescribed and effectively treat the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. 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 are using one of these medications for longer than three months.
About 90 percent of people with acid reflux successfully manage their symptoms with medication. However, these medications don’t treat the cause of acid reflux and don’t work for every patient. For moderate to severe acid reflux, surgical options may be considered 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.