Acid reflux affects millions of adults in the United States, and is the reason for billions of dollars being spent on prescription and over-the-counter medications. However, the dangers of GERD reflux medication are numerous, and these medications do not cure GERD, they merely offer temporary relief from symptoms. Side effects of long-term anti-reflux medication use are mineral malabsorption, vitamin deficiency, anemia, and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).
So, how can you cure your acid-reflux? Here are some sustainable acid reflux remedies:
As with many conditions, a healthy diet and exercise are great ways to manage your GERD. However, when dealing with reflux there are special things to watch out for. For instance, some abdominal exercises like sit-ups or crunches may increase pressure in the stomach and aggravate reflux. This may also be the case with some yoga positions or aerobic exercises. Lying down will sometimes cause stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus, and some patients have even tried sleeping at an angle to decrease reflux.
Diet is one of the most important factors to manage GERD. Each person’s trigger foods may differ, but some common foods that may contribute to heartburn are coffee, chocolate, alcohol, citrus fruits, greasy foods, spicy foods, and marinara or other red sauces. To be aware of which foods affect you, you may want to keep a food and reflux journal in which you record your meals and also any instances of reflux in relation to the foods you eat. While many of these foods are delicious, you will want to limit or avoid them altogether in order to be free from acid-reflux.
Surgical Treatment for Acid Reflux
There are a variety of surgical procedures that address the root cause of acid-reflux. Whereas medications work to temporarily “turn-off” acid producing cells in the stomach, these surgical options seek to fix the structural problem that causes GERD: namely the weak or loosened lower esophageal sphincter (LES) through which stomach acid passes into the esophagus. These surgeries offer long-term solutions to eliminate GERD altogether. Here are a few common surgical treatments for acid reflux:
LINX® procedure: The LINX® procedure is a simple, minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedure in which a small band of magnetic beads is places around the LES in order to structurally reinforce it. The beads use magnetic attraction to keep the LES closed tightly so that no stomach acid can get through. Swallowing breaks the magnetic force and allows food to pass through the esophagus normally and healthily. The process of the surgery usually only lasts for one hour and the LINX® system begins working immediately.
TIF/EsophyX Procedure: The TIF/EsophyX procedure is a surgical procedure that folds a small portion of the upper stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter. Once this fold is made, it is reinforced in place by special fasteners. This procedure anatomically repairs the loose or weakened LES that causes GERD. Because no incisions are required, recovery time is minimal, and the surgery cures the root cause of acid reflux.
Nissen Fundoplication: This surgery is slightly more invasive than the LINX® or TIF procedures, as it is done through five small incisions. However, it works much the same way that the TIF procedure does. During this surgery, the doctor will fold part of the upper stomach around the lower esophagus to structurally repair the acid barrier. Unlike the TIF, this procedure can be performed on patients with medium to large hiatal hernias. Once again, this surgery addresses the root, anatomical cause of GERD, as opposed to medication that merely treats symptoms.
It’s not easy managing life with chronic reflux, but the good news is that you don’t have to. GERD is a treatable condition, and with effective options like anti reflux surgery available there’s no reason why patients should have to suffer. If you’ve been dealing with reflux and GERD and are interested in talking through treatment options, schedule an appointment with the reflux specialists at Tampa Bay Reflux Center.