Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD, or gastroesphageal reflux disease, is a medical condition characterized by frequent acid reflux. People who suffer from GERD may experience heartburn and other symptoms two or more times per week and are often unable to control their symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter antacids. Fortunately, other GERD treatments are available to offer long-term relief.

Medication

Prescription medications, including proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, are GERD treatments aimed at reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. 
Learn more about GERD medications

Surgery

In some cases, medication fails to offer permanent relief from GERD or causes side effects that outweigh the benefits. For these patients, a surgical procedure known as fundoplication may be a better treatment option.

Fundoplication can be used to correct a hiatal hernial, when part of the stomach pushes up through a hole in the diaphragm. The hole can then be tightened to prevent this slippage from occuring in the future. Fundoplication also involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the lower esophagus to make an artificial lower esophageal sphincter, the valve responsible for preventing backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Fundoplication is usually performed lapascropically through a few small incisions in the abdomen. 
Learn more about GERD Surgery

Surgical repair of the lower esophageal sphincter is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option for GERD. Recent advances in laparoscopic and natural orifice surgery provide excellent results for patients suffering from chronic GERD.

Traditionally, surgical options are considered if:

* Symptoms are uncontrolled or complications are not prevented using medical therapies
* Atypical symptoms such as asthma, sinusitis, or cough are uncontrolled
* Patients cannot tolerate medication side effects
* Patients are unwilling or unable to pay for long-term drug therapy
* Patients do not wish lifelong medical therapy

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