Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD is a chronic, but very common disorder that affects 1 in 5 adult men and women in the U.S. Chronic heartburn is one of the classic symptoms, but it is not the only one. GERD is caused is when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) allows stomach contents back into the esophagus.
Symptoms include heartburn, belching, difficulty or pain with swallowing, and more. These can impact your life and have you running for the hills searching for relief.
Putting the Fire Out
When heartburn is one of the main symptoms, it is no surprise to find out that GERD is often self-treated and mis-diagnosed. The key to relief is starting with seeing your physician. Chronic reflux will not resolve itself, and in fact, can have damaging effects when left untreated. Let’s look at some ways to put that fire out, and even prevent that fire from happening:
Diet and Lifestyle Changes:
Keep a Food Diary- When you keep track of everything you are putting into your body, you will be able to identify what causes your GERD to flare up. IFFDG has a 7 day diary you can start with. This will help you make better choices when you are preparing your meals or are out to eat. Onions, fatty foods, and chocolate are some places to start with elimination.
Smaller Portions– Avoid large meals, especially late in the day. It is recommended you make your main meal a midday one.
Gravity– plays an important role in managing the reflux part of GERD. Try not to lay down within 3 hours of eating. This is when acid production is at its peak!
Burn the Calories– Excess pudge in the abdominal area puts pressure on the stomach. That in turn promotes the reflux. Losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce this pressure.
Medications, Surgery, and Clinical Studies:
Whether it is an, H2 blocker, proton pump inhibitor, or surgery, there are several options to choose from. It is essential to work with your doctor as the long-term use of any meds needs to be closely monitored.
Surgery comes into play when the long-term treatments are ineffective, or produce undesirable results. The surgery for GERD is also called “anti-reflux” surgery, but the surgical name is called fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to reinforce it. If you and your physician decide that surgery is right for you, there will be test that need to be run beforehand. You can read more about the recovery time, and more surgery info here.
At Stamford Therapeutics, we are committed not only to working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also in working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.
If you or someone you love is struggling with GERD, Stamford Therapeutics currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.