What is best GERD treatment?
WOW, that is the best question of the week and thank you for asking it! Frankly, if we had a simple answer to your question we could get our website down to three pages! But, as I’m sure you know, this is a very difficult question because there are so many factors to consider. I am going to take two different directions to answer your question. The first has to do with the types of things you can do to manage your symptoms and address your underlying medical problem. The second is to discuss the progression of GERD and how it impacts the selection of those alternatives.
But first, the most important thing to remember before making any decision to treat GERD is that you must have the necessary tests to validate that you have GERD. Too often GERD is diagnosed by reported symptoms or the PPI test. Both of these are highly prone to error, resulting in inappropriate treatment for a condition that does not exist. We think a good test to consider is pH testing, and a good article for you to review is: What to expect from ambulatory pH testing.
GERD Treatment alternatives
If GERD has been diagnosed and validated, there are several major alternatives:
Everyone with GERD should focus on his or her diet. Identification of trigger foods is very important, as is portion control. Dr. Chandrasoma has written an excellent article on this topic titled Why Diet Matters.
There are several choices that can impact GERD, including smoking, excessive weight, clothing, and sleeping with your head elevated to name a few. We summarized several of these in an article titled Adjusting your Lifestyle.
There are three major categories of medications: antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. RefluxMD believes that taking the least powerful drug only when necessary is the best model to follow. There are pros and cons to each, so we suggest that you read GERD Medication Overview: What you need to know.
Of all the alternatives, the only treatment that will stop reflux disease is surgery. Since the disease is a result of a damaged lower esophageal sphincter, the only way to restore the function of the LES is via surgery. We have a good overview of surgical alternatives in an article titled Overview of Surgical Alternatives.
The impact of your GERD stage
GERD has distinct stages and knowing your stage is very important because the appropriate treatment strategy depends on how severe your disease is. This shouldn’t be surprising. Clearly, the treatment for someone with occasional heartburn will be dramatically different that that for someone with Barrett’s Esophagus. This is explained in an article title The Progressive Stages of GERD.
Without this information, it is almost impossible to establish a rational approach to managing your disease. As Lewis Carol wrote in the book Alice in Wonderland; “When you don’t know where you are going, any road will get your there.” We think if you don’t know where you are, you can’t develop a path to relief and good health. Unfortunately, as reflux disease progresses, certain options are no longer available and more dramatic GERD treatment options must be considered.
If you don’t know your GERD stage, take a moment today and find your starting point. RefluxMD’s Stage Finder will provide you with an easy to understand assessment of your disease, as well as information on acid reflux and your GERD treatment options.