GERD is quite a serious condition. Every year more and more people are diagnosed with GERD. This condition has various symptoms and is found to cause pain and great discomfort in patients. There are numerous ways in which the condition can be handled. By properly managing the condition you can make your life easier by reducing the pain and uneasiness. The type of approach to be made depends on the severity of the condition.
Simple lifestyle changes
Some people have mild symptoms like heartburn. Such patients can manage the condition through simple lifestyle changes. All that is required is altering the diet, cutting out acidic, fatty and spicy foods, giving up smoking etc. In case you don’t find any relief from these lifestyle changes you may use antacid medicines. These drugs neutralise the acid content in the stomach and hence provide relief from the discomfort. When you do not find any improvement, you should consult your doctor and seek medical help to handle the problem.
When you are suffering from some severe symptoms like lung problems, an acid-suppressing therapeutic trial in combination with histamine antagonists is given to diminish the acid production in the stomach and check that there are no other underlying problems. If you find the treatment effective and no further symptoms are found, this treatment can be continued for a long term relief from GERD.
When you experience further problems and complications after this medication, an endoscopic diagnosis is done to have a closer look at your internal organs. This will show any damage to the oesophagus caused and also lets the physician know of ulcers and inflammation if present.
If the symptoms do not diminish with the treatment you may have to go for some other options. One such option is 24 hour PH testing. Or you can go for additional drugs such as pro-motility drugs. This may help you get relief from the severe symptoms. But in case of this fail, the only option available is surgery. Surgery is a highly effective treatment that is found to cause relief in many patients. But like any other surgery, this too has a number of complications and side effects associated with it. Hence before deciding to have surgery, it is necessary that you know all the risks and complications that may arise.
Learn to live with GERD
With GERD life may seem quite problematic. You’ll need to work to make it easy. Firstly, it is important to avoid eating fatty and spicy foods which increase acid production. Also, avoid foods that may not suit your digestive system. Maintain a proper diet and follow regular exercise to keep yourself fit. Drinking occasionally may not be that bad but you’ll have to quit smoking as smoking often adds to acidic content and increases your symptoms. So, you can live well even when you have GERD provided you learn to live properly.
The last resort: Surgery
Most people view acid reflux as a nuisance and something that can be annoying. Yet they don’t really see it as something that can affect their overall health. Yet if you are suffering from acid reflux often you aren’t getting enough sleep as you should. You may not be eating enough either to help offset triggers from foods.
There is plenty of information out there about remedies to alleviate the pain from acid reflux. That information includes eating right, staying fit and trim, and even the use of various over the counter medicines to reduce the development of acid. Sometimes a person needs prescription medications for treatment. Even so, that may not be enough to take care of it. That is when the doctor may bring up the idea of surgery into the conversation.
Keep in mind that surgery for acid reflux is only going to be introduced when certain factors are present. The oesophagus can be very severely affected due to the acid. It can end up weakening it and allowing more and more acid to enter it. Over a period of time, this can cause inflammation. As a result, it can end up being difficult to swallow or to breathe as you normally do.