Acid Reflux Disease Treatment

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Acid reflux disease also referred to as gastroesphageal reflux disease is a chronic digestive disorder that arises when stomach acid or bile flows back into your esophagus. The reflux of stomach acid irritates the walls of your food pipe causing the acid reflux disease signs and symptoms. These symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, dry cough, dysphagia and acid reflux, occurring from time to time. Although a lot of people suffering from this condition have learned how to change their lifestyle or use over the counter drugs to relive the symptoms, in some cases stronger medications and surgery are required to relieve the symptoms. Some of the conditions that increase the risk of acid reflux disease include smoking, asthma, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, dry mouth, scleroderma and delayed stomach emptying.

Acid reflux disease treatment

The treatment of the various signs and symptoms of acid reflux disease usually starts with over the counter drugs to help control the stomach acid. If the symptoms persist further medication or even surgery may be necessary. Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, Gelusil and Mylanta are used to control or rather neutralize the stomach acid. However, antacid alone don’t heal an inflamed food pipe and over use of these antacid could lead to severe side effects such as constipation and diarrhea. Medications such as ranitidine, nizatidine, famotidine and cimetidine are usually used to reduce stomach acid production. If the symptoms persist other medications that inhibit the production of stomach acid as well as heal the inflamed esophagus are administered which include omeprazole and lansoprazole.

Strengthening the esophagus

If the acid reflux disease symptoms still persist the doctor recommends stronger medications referred to ad proton pump inhibitors such as pantoprazole, dexlansoprazole, rabeprazole, omeprazole, esomeprazole and lansoprazole. However, these medicines may lead to an increase in bone fracture and bone loss, and as a result a calcium supplement is necessary to alleviate these side effects. They may also reduce the efficiency of blood thinning medication. Other medications include the prokinetic agents that are used to strengthen the lower part of your esophagus. They help your belly to empty quickly as well as tightening the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Some of the side effects associated with these drugs include anxiety, depression, neurological problems and fatigue.

Surgery

If the above medications aren’t effective or you prefer to avoid long term use of drugs your doctor may recommend surgery. The surgery is meant to strengthen your lower food pipe sphincter. It involves contraction of the lower food pipe sphincter to inhibit refluxes by covering the top of your belly around the exterior of the lower food pipe. This surgery can either be laparoscopic or open; it may also involve creation of a barrier to prevent stomach acid reflux.

A surgeon performs this process through an incision in your chest or abdomen and is normally done as the last option for treating acid reflux disease.

Some lifestyle changes that help reduce the risk of acid reflux disease as well as relieve the symptoms include eating smaller portions, don’t lie down after eating, stop smoking as well as avoid foods that trigger the symptoms.

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