This page contains the basic information about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) .
Treatment for most people with GERD includes lifestyle changes as described above and medication. If symptoms persist, surgery or endoscopy treatments are other options.
There are several medications that can be used to treat GERD. They include:
Surgery is an option for people with severe, difficult-to-control GERD symptoms. It may also be considered for people who have complications such as asthma or pneumonia, or scar tissue in the esophagus. Some people who do not want to take medications for a long time may choose surgery.
Surgery for GERD can be done using camera-guided instruments. This technique is called laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery requires smaller incisions than conventional surgery.
In a procedure called Nissen fundoplication, excess stomach tissue is folded around the esophagus and sewn in place. This holds extra pressure around the weakened esophageal sphincter.
This operation appears to relieve symptoms about as much as prescription acid-blocking medicines. The success rates of surgery might be lower for people whose symptoms are not relieved by anti-acid medicines. Following surgery, some people have a lasting bothersome side effect. But most people who undergo surgery are very satisfied with the results.
Potential side effects include swallowing difficulty, diarrhea and the inability to belch or vomit to relieve bloating or nausea.
All three endoscopic treatments were developed recently. Their long-term success rates are unknown. And little is known about their potential complications.
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Created: 4/27/2004 | Last Modified: 8/21/2006
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.