GERD Treatment And GERD Diet
A diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may be established by using different modalities, including upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, esophageal pH monitoring, radiological studies and acid infusion tests.
However, no one method is 100 percent accurate in confirming the diagnosis, and each has limitations that decrease the probability of an accurate overall diagnosis. Endoscopy alone lacks sensitivity, and pH monitoring is not always available.
Patients eligible for the study had a history of signs and symptoms of GERD, including heartburn, acid regurgitation and dysphagia. If results of endoscopy appeared normal or showed only mild abnormalities, the patient was enrolled in the study.
Patients then underwent 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring in which a pH level below 4 was considered abnormal. The effectiveness of GERD treatment was based on patient report of heartburn relief, since more than 92 percent of the patients reported this symptom.
More than one half of the patients in the treatment group reported improved symptoms. GERD treatment response was as accurate in confirming the diagnosis, as was pH monitoring.
The authors conclude that relief of symptoms following a two-week course of omeprazole therapy can be diagnostic for GERD. However, patients who did not respond to GERD treatment would require further diagnostic testing.
Use of a GERD treatment based approach provides physicians with a simple, inexpensive diagnostic test for GERD that is as effective as esophageal pH monitoring.
GERD is a chronic disease. Self-diagnosis can lead to mistreatment. Consultation with a physician is essential to proper diagnosis and GERD treatment. GERD treatment usually must be maintained on a long-term basis, even after symptoms have been brought under control.
Various GERD treatment methods to effectively treat GERD range from lifestyle measures to the use of GERD medication or GERD surgical procedures.
It is essential for individuals who suffer persistent heartburn or other chronic and recurrent symptoms of GERD to seek an accurate diagnosis, to work with their physician, and to receive the most effective GERD treatment available.
If you experience only occasional, mild heartburn, you may get relief from an over-the-counter (OTC) medication and self-care measures. OTC remedies include:
- Antacids. Antacids, such as Mylanta, Gelusil, Maalox, Rolaids and Tums, neutralize stomach acid and can provide quick relief. But antacids alone won't heal an inflamed esophagus damaged by stomach acid. Overuse of some antacids can cause side effects such as diarrhea or constipation.
- Proton pump inhibitors. These GERD medications block acid production and allow time for damaged esophageal tissue to heal. Omeprazole (Prilosec) was previously available only by prescription, but now is available in an over-the-counter form for treatment of heartburn.
- H-2-receptor blockers. Over-the-counterH-2-receptor blockers, such as famotidine (Pepcid AC), cimetidine (Tagamet HB), nizatidine Axid AR or ranitidine (Zantac 75), are available at half the strength of their prescription versions. Instead of neutralizing the acid, these medications reduce the production of acid. They don't act as quickly as antacids, but they provide longer relief. H-2-receptor blockers can cause infrequent side effects, including bowel changes, dry mouth, dizziness or drowsiness. In rare instances they can also react dangerously with other medications.
People suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) should follow a GERD diet, which includes watching what you eat and following a few simple rules that may be helpful in reducing symptoms.
A GERD diet is fairly easy to follow. A GERD diet can significantly recover conditions in which stomach acid backflows through the lower esophageal sphincter into the esophagus.
Avoid foods such as citrus, tomato and coffee that directly irritate the mucosa. Other irritants that should be avoided in a GERD diet include onion, chocolate, peppermint and any food with high fat content that affect pressure in the stomach.
Limit or cut the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that may irritate the esophagus and stomach lining. Individuals with GERD should avoid whole milk and opt for fat free or 1%-2% milk.
Try to maintain a low fat diet by staying away from fatty meats (bacon) and processed meats (cold cuts). If you must have coffee or tea opt for decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea.
GERD Diet Tips:
- Eat smaller meals. This reduces pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, helping to prevent the valve from opening and acid from washing back into your esophagus.
- Control your weight. Being overweight is one of the strongest risk factors for heartburn. Excess weight put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
- Do not smoke. Smoking may increase stomach acid. The swallowing of air during smoking may also aggravate belching and acid reflux. In addition, smoking and alcohol increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
- Eliminate heartburn triggers. Everyone has specific triggers. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, garlic, onion, caffeine and nicotine may make heartburn worse.
- Don't lie down after a meal. Wait at least three to four hours after eating before going to bed, and don't lie down right after eating.
- Raise the head of your bed. An elevation of about six to nine inches puts magnitude to work for you. You can do this by placing wooden or cement blocks under the feet at the head of your bed.