Acid reflux is a disease that is caused by a weakness in the sphincter muscles at the entrance to your stomach. This sphincter muscle or valve is known as the lower oesophageal sphincter. Normally, this sphincter closes as soon as the food you have swallowed enters the stomach. However, sometimes, the sphincter doesn't close completely, and at other times, it opens too often. This regular opening causes the acid produced in your stomach to move up the oesophagus, causing that burning sensation, which we call heartburn. Any successful treatment for acid reflux would depend on the severity of acid reflux, its cause, and pre-existing health conditions. Here are the three available options for reflux disease treatment.
Diagnosis of Acid Reflux Disease
Before treatment can start, you have to get a proper diagnosis of acid reflux disease. There are several tests doctors can perform to diagnose the condition. The Barium Swallow is a test that looks for ulcers, which commonly form when the acid comes into contact with the walls of the oesophagus. Another common test is the pH monitoring, in which the doctor inserts a device that checks levels of acid in your food pipe. When the condition and its severity are confirmed, the doctor will decide on a treatment alternative.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
One of the best ways to deal with acid reflux is making changes to your diet and lifestyle. For instance, you can try eating smaller meals and quit smoking. You can also ensure that your head is raised when you sleep by placing a pillow at the back of your head. You should also try and have your meals at least two hours before sleeping every day to avoid indigestion leading to acid reflux problems.
Medication to Treat Acid Reflux
Over the counter medications are available to prevent and manage acid reflux. Some antacid brands neutralise the acid in your stomach and prevent it from hurting the oesophagus. Most foaming agents and H2 Blockers are only sold to you when you have a doctor's prescription. There is a third type of medication known as prokinetics that work by strengthening the sphincter and emptying your stomach faster to avoid reflux.
These are the common treatment options available for reflux disease. The first and most important step is getting a diagnosis from a competent doctor. When you have the severity of the problem diagnosed, getting proper treatment will be easy. You will also learn how to prevent the problem worsening.