Treatment options for GERD range from lifestyle and diet changes to surgical options. Specific treatment for GERD will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Lifestyle and Diet Changes
- Monitor the medications you are taking--some may irritate the lining of the stomach or esophagus
- Quit smoking
- Watch food intake and limit fried and fatty foods, peppermint, chocolate, alcohol, citrus fruit and juices, tomato products, and caffeinated drinks, such as soda pop, and energy drinks
- Eat smaller portions and avoid overeating.
- Do not lie down or go to bed right after a meal. Instead, wait a couple of hours.
- Lose weight, if necessary.
- Elevate the head of the bed 6 inches by placing bricks or cinderblocks under the legs of the bed.
- Take an antacid, as directed by your doctor.
- Ask your doctor about use of over-the-counter medicines called "H2-blockers" and "protein pump inhibitors" that can be taken before eating to prevent heartburn from occurring.
- Promotility medications, which help to empty food from the stomach, may be prescribed by your doctor.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
The LINX System is a small, flexible band of magnets that is implanted just above the stomach. The band keeps the esophagus closed to prevent acid reflux while still allowing food and drink to pass into the stomach. The implantation typically takes less than an hour, though individual procedure times may vary.
The Stretta procedure is an outpatient procedure that delivers radiofrequency energy to the esophagus. The emitted energy treats esophageal muscle, improves function, and relieves GERD symptoms.
Similar to traditional laparoscopic surgery, the daVinci System provides your surgeon greater control and precision using tiny rotatable instruments through small incisions in the abdomen.
Robotic-assisted surgical procedures used in the treatment of GERD include:
- Hiatal Hernia Repair
- A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest. Nissen fundoplication, which is frequently part of the procedure, involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to reinforce the esophageal muscles.
- Achalasia Repair (Heller Myotomy)
- Achalasia is a disorder that makes it hard to eat and drink normally. The disorder affects your esophagus, which does not sufficiently push food or liquid into your stomach. Heller Myotomy involves the cutting of the esophageal muscles to allow food and drink to more easily pass through to the stomach.