Disease Management

Treatment for GERD

If you have had heartburn or any of the other symptoms for a while, you should see your doctor. You may want to visit an internist, a doctor who specializes in internal medicine, or a gastroenterologist, a doctor who treats diseases of the stomach and intestines. Depending on how severe your GERD is, treatment may involve one or more of the following lifestyle changes and medications or surgery:

Stop SmokingLifestyle changes:

  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Lose weight if needed.
  • Eat small meals.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid lying down for three hours after a meal.
  • Raise the head of your bed six to eight inches by putting a block of wood under the bedposts-just using extra pillows will not help.

Medications:

  • MedicationAntacids - such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids and Riopan are usually the first drugs recommended to relieve heartburn and other mild GERD symptoms.
  • Foaming agents - such as Gaviscon, work by covering your stomach with foam to prevent reflux.
  • H2 blockers - such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR), and ranitidine (Zantac 75), impede acid production.
  • Proton pump inhibitors - such as omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoproazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and esomeprazole (Nexium) which are all available by prescription.
  • Prokinetics - strengthens the sphincter and makes the stomach empty faster. Includes bethanechol (Urecholine) and metocloprimide (Reglan).

Because drugs work in different ways, combinations of drugs may help control symptoms. Your doctor is the best source of information on how to use medications for GERD.

People with chronic illnesses must adjust to the demands of the illness itself, as well as to the treatments for their condition. A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a very long time and usually can be controlled through diet, exercise, and certain medicines.


The above information was obtained from the following Web sites, please visit them for additional information: