Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can be a very frustrating and supremely uncomfortable disease that affects your relationship with food and causes you to experience severe and recurrent acid reflux and heartburn. But, despite this, GERD is also an incredibly treatable condition!
At Tampa Bay Reflux Center, we approach the treatment of GERD by correcting the cause of GERD, rather than by just managing or treating its symptoms. We also seriously discourage the use of short-term treatments that qualm the symptoms while increasing the risk of complications.
Admittedly, there are many functional and effective ways of managing your symptoms of GERD through diet and lifestyle changes (something which we frequently cover in this blog). These methods are sometimes necessary, such as when weaning from a PPI or while awaiting surgery for GERD, yet these remedies should never be considered a long-term solution. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t settle for just managing your symptoms of GERD.
1. PPIs are proven to worsen GERD and lead to complications. These medications, also known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Nexium) function by lowering the amount of stomach acid, which lowers acid reflux, but also inhibits proper digestion and increases the risk of infection. PPI’s aren’t intended for long-term usage, and when used for long periods of time can cause some pretty drastic side effects. Treating GERD with PPI’s or other medication is a band-aid approach that may mask symptoms for a while, but doesn’t do anything to address the root cause of the condition.
2. Diet and lifestyle changes do not completely eliminate symptoms and can also lead to worsening of GERD. These remedies can decrease the symptoms of GERD and make the condition more manageable, but the reality is that lifestyle changes won’t eliminate your symptoms, or cure your GERD. You’ll still experience regular, albeit decreased, acid reflux that can lead to esophageal damage, tooth decay, and increased risk of cancer.
3. Surgery for GERD is very common, quick, and non-invasive. At our reflux clinic, we offer three different surgeries for GERD: Nissen Fundoplication, TIF, and LINX, all of which are outpatient, minimally invasive procedures that have been around for at least 10 years. Treating your GERD with surgery doesn’t mean long recovery times and going under the knife anymore. Modern laparoscopic or endoscopic techniques are utilized in anti-reflux surgery to make the process quick and easy and shorten recovery time.
4. Surgery for GERD is affordable and can be covered with insurance. The Nissen Fundoplication surgery is easy to cover with insurance given that it’s been around the longest with over 60 years of data. The TIF surgery is also generally covered by insurance, especially private insurers (up to 95% of the time). The LINX surgery is generally the most difficult to cover because it is the newest procedure, but is still covered about 80% of the time.
5. Surgery is the only treatment that will actually cure GERD. The only long-term solution for GERD is surgery because it addresses the cause of GERD – an anatomically weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which does not close properly. With surgery, the LES is fortified so that it can properly open and close when appropriate and keep stomach acid from splashing up into the esophagus.
Never settle for just managing your symptoms of GERD. At Tampa Bay Reflux Center we make it simple for you and even speak to your insurer for you to eliminate the stress of getting your surgery covered. If you’ve been considering getting surgery for GERD but are unsure whether it is possible for you, we encourage you to reach out to our reflux clinic for a consultation. To see one of our reflux surgeons about your GERD, book an appointment today.