Anyone suffering from GERD knows that a bout of acid reflux can occur any time of day or night, and most often when you least expect it. Whether you have eaten a meal, are just about to fall asleep or are in the middle of an important business meeting makes no difference. GERD does not discriminate when and where it wants to rear its ugly face and worst of all, there are times when you have nothing on hand to ease the discomfort. So what then are some GERD treatment options that might help alleviate the discomfort in times like these and are there any GERD treatment guidelines we should be following?
GERD Treatment Guidelines
The first thing anyone who has been diagnosed with GERD should be aware of is the fact that this is a condition that is not going to go away with a single antacid or a change in diet. Although these do help in the here and now, GERD treatment guidelines first and foremost, call for lifestyle changes and secondly medical intervention which could mean pharmaceuticals, surgery or both. For example, lifestyle changes would include eating lighter meals more frequently so as not to place undue pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and to eat foods not known to be acidic or spicy. Take all medications prescribed by your doctor and only as directed.
GERD Treatment Medications
There are several types of GERD treatment medications on the market, some by prescription only and some are OTC and readily available. However, it is always recommended that you consult with your own doctor prior to taking any GERD treatment drugs whatsoever to make sure you are taking the right medication for what ails you. So many times we self diagnose only to find out we have been treating the wrong condition. Once GERD has been diagnosed, the types of medications usually fall into a few broad categories:
- Antacids – for immediate, albeit short lived relief
- Proton Pump Inhibitors – medications which hinder production of excess stomach acid
- Histamine Antagonists – prevents acid production by blocking histamine receptors
- Pro-motility Pharmaceuticals – stimulates peristalsis, moves food out of stomach faster
In any case, some pharmaceuticals must be prescribed by a physician, in which case he or she can discuss with you the best GERD treatment options for your particular needs.
GERD Treatment Natural Remedies
There are almost as many GERD treatment natural remedies as there are people suffering from GERD. Well, that may be a ‘slight’ exaggeration, but the point is that you should carefully consider the advice you are given prior to experimenting with any natural remedies. One of the most controversial GERD treatment natural remedies is the use of vinegar, often apple cider vinegar. Proponents of the vinegar remedy claim that the reason reflux occurs is because there is insufficient stomach acid being produced to digest the foods we eat. Medical science has proven this to be inaccurate in the case of GERD and adding more acid (i.e. vinegar) will just exacerbate the condition. Other natural remedies such as baking soda, milk and honey are much safer but the jury is out on the verdict as to their efficiency.
Whether you choose to use natural remedies or GERD treatment medications (OTC or prescription) is an individual decision. Even so, before you go about trying one solution after the next, it is always in your best interest to consult with your doctor prior to taking any medications. GERD symptoms, primarily heartburn, can be indicative of other more serious illnesses such as a heart attack and are often fatally confused. Once you have an accurate diagnosis there are GERD treatment options at your disposal, but don’t put the cart before the horse. Get that diagnosis first!