Effective GERD Treatment – Understanding Your Options

For most people, GERD is just an inconvenience that can be controlled with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication. But for a small number of people, GERD can lead to serious complications. For severe symptoms that don’t respond to lifestyle changes and medications, surgery may be recommended. The most common surgical procedure is fundoplication, where surgeons wrap the top of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it and prevent acid reflux.

GERD Treatment

Proton Pump Inhibitors

According to professionals in GERD treatment Denver, the most powerful anti-reflux medications are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which diminish acid secretion by binding to proton pumps in the stomach and inhibiting their activity. PPIs have revolutionized the management of GERD, providing rapid and sustained symptom resolution, high remission rates for erosive esophagitis, and improved health-related quality of life.

They have supplanted antacids and H2 receptor antagonists as the preferred first-line therapy for patients with GERD, ulcers of the stomach or duodenum, Helicobacter pylori infection, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-associated ulcers, and those who have been diagnosed with erosive esophagitis.

Like antacids, PPIs work best when taken 30 minutes to an hour before a meal. They can cause side effects, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, gas, and sore throat. However, long-term PPI use is associated with a reduced risk of esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus.


Antacids (such as calcium carbonate) can reduce heartburn and indigestion by soaking up the acid in your stomach. However, antacids don’t prevent reflux or heal the esophageal damage from acid irritation.

If your symptoms don’t improve with antacids, H2 blockers may help. Available in prescription (usually higher doses) or over-the-counter forms (such as Prevacid and Prilosec), these medicines can reduce the acid that refluxes from your stomach. H2 blockers are particularly good at relieving heartburn.

If H2 blockers don’t help your GERD, you should take PPIs. These drugs are stronger than H2 blockers and work for 24 hours to reduce the acid your stomach produces. PPIs are effective for both erosive and non-erosive GERD. Ambulatory pH monitoring and esophageal manometry can also help confirm the diagnosis of GERD.

H2 Blockers

Some people experience mild and infrequent heartburn symptoms that respond to changes in diet or by taking an over-the-counter medication such as antacids. Other people have severe or persistent symptoms that require prescription medications.

These medications bind to histamine receptors on gastric parietal cells, reducing stomach acid secretion. They can provide symptom relief within 30 minutes of administration and have a duration of action of up to 12 hours.

H2 blockers, also known as histamine 2 antagonists (H2RA), are effective at treating GERD, acid reflux disease, peptic ulcers, and heartburn. Cimetidine (Tagamet) is a common choice for many patients. However, long-term use can lead to reversible impotence and gynecomastia in men and may interact with some other medications. Cimetidine has also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. Ranitidine and nizatidine are other popular options.


If you suffer from acid reflux more than twice a week or if small lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications don’t provide relief, your doctor may recommend having surgery.

Surgery can help prevent complications from GERD, including esophagitis (acid irritating the lining of the esophagus) and throat narrowing, also called strictures. It can also lower your risk of some types of cancer.

Surgical treatment for GERD usually involves a procedure to reinforce the LES. Your doctor may perform this procedure through the mouth using an endoscope or through small incisions in the abdomen. Some techniques are minimally invasive and do not require a hospital stay, such as the new Stretta procedure, which uses radiofrequency energy to tighten the LES. Research shows that most people with GERD who have laparoscopic surgery experience significant improvement or resolution of heartburn, regurgitation, and other symptoms, even years after the operation. Often, patients can return to eating a regular diet after surgery.

We are not doctors and this is in no way intended to be used as medical advice and we cannot be held responsible for your results. As with any product, service or supplement, use at your own risk. Always do your own research before using.

We are not doctors and this is in no way intended to be used as medical advice and we cannot be held responsible for your results. As with any product, service or supplement, use at your own risk. Always do your own research before using.

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