How to Treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a digestive disorder that affects the muscle between your stomach and oesophagus. The most common symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. Statistics reveal that nearly 20% of the human population suffers from this condition. Depending on the severity, there are various treatments available.
If you experience acid reflux symptoms on a casual basis, you may benefit from making some changes in your diet. In other cases, other forms of therapy are often recommended by doctors. This article will go about each of these treatments available, so you can learn more about this disease and find better ways to control it.
What is The Best Treatment for GERD?
Consider Using Some Type of GERD Medications
Although diet plays a major role in decreasing the symptoms of acid reflux, some people can’t find satisfactory relief only by changing their diets. Therefore, they are most commonly prescribed some types of anti acid reflux medication to treat their symptoms. These in turn usually fall into three categories including antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and H-2 receptor blockers.
Antacids are some of the most popular anti reflux medication choices that help to neutralize stomach acid. They can provide quick relief from the symptoms, however, they cannot heal the oesophagus if its lining is damaged. Also, overusing them may cause some other unwanted side effects such as diarrhoea or chronic kidney disease. The most common types of antacid anti-reflux medicines are Mylanta, Tums, and Rolaids.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI)
The PPIs are gerd medications that work on the principle of reducing the production of stomach acid. This in turn lowers the acid levels in the stomach which further causes the symptoms to slowly disappear. These medications are available as both prescription and over-the-counter.
H-2 Receptor Blockers
The H-2 receptor blockers as their name implies are specific types of meds that reduce the acidity produced in the stomach by blocking the release of histamine. Under this category of anti acid reflux medication, the following meds are often given: cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine, which sometimes can be found by various brand names. All of these meds have proven to be effective in treating the symptoms of heartburn, especially when used in a combination with significant lifestyle changes.
Make Changes in Your Diet by Avoiding Foods that May Cause Heartburn
Humans are habitual creatures. We get used to eating a certain type of food and go about our day in the usual manner. If we are honest with ourselves, we may often admit that these habits aren’t doing us any good. According to scientists and professional health care experts, certain diseases can leave our bodies if we are willing to make the switch by getting rid of the way we used to treat them without paying much attention to the foods we eat.
When it comes to treating the symptoms of GERD, there are many simple diet changes we can include that can make a big difference. This in turn may help to completely heal yourself of this condition if you are willing to sacrifice some of the foods that I am about to mention. For instance, spicy foods, fatty foods, and caffeinated beverages are strictly prohibited. These foods produce a large amount of acid in your stomach which may cause your symptoms to worsen.
Also, if you are overweight, you should try and lose weight by deciding to eat more healthy foods that consist of lots of fruits and vegetables that will supply your body with the right dose of nutrients and vitamins. For instance, excess abdominal fat can press against the stomach, which in turn forces the acids to reflux back into the oesophagus.
If you can’t stick to a healthy diet on your own, you may decide to ask for professional help and ask your doctor to give you a specific diet and exercise program that you can follow so you can shed those extra pounds off your body for good. Above all, try to get rid of some nasty habits such as smoking which can significantly improve your GERD symptoms and your health in general.
Try Some Home Remedies
Although these are valuable treatments, and are some of the most effective approaches, there is nothing wrong with trying some types of home remedies for heartburn. For instance, there are different types of herbs that are known to provide significant relief after using them for a certain period of time.
Some of these herbs include angelica, peppermint, lemon balsam, German chamomile, Clown’s mustard plant, and licorice among others. Besides herbs, you can include certain types of foods that are known to be effective in providing quick relief from acid reflux symptoms. For example, eating ripe bananas can help alleviate some of your symptoms as these fruits are less alkaline which means they may counteract the stomach acid that irritates the oesophagus.
Other highly alkaline foods you can include are melons, cauliflower, fennel seeds, and nuts. Besides bananas, another great home remedy that everybody has in their pantries is baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate can provide temporary relief of acid reflux when you need quick and immediate relief of your stomach pain and discomfort. By adding a spoonful of baking soda mixed with water you can reduce the stomach acid levels as this substance has an alkaline pH which helps to neutralize the acidity in your stomach.