Why Medication May Not Be The Best Course of Action for GERD

Reflux is most often treated with over-the-counter antacids or prescription acid-blocking medications. However these medicines do not address the root cause of the problem, which is the reflux itself. Rather, they simply mask the symptoms of reflux by neutralizing acid.

It is not the acidity of the stomach contents itself that cause reflux. Rather, it is the upward motion of the stomach contents into the esophagus. Therefore, addressing the acid itself is of minimal long-term use. Ultimately, it is best to prevent the movement of acid in the first place.

Excess weight and obesity is one of the main causes of reflux and losing weight, especially abdominal fat, is an important part of the ultimate elimination of GERD. Knowing when to eat and when to exercise – i.e. not immediately after meals – can help reduce the incidence of the reflux as well. Further, avoiding certain foods and drinks that allow the lower esophageal sphincter or LES to open and allow the return of food can help significantly. The most common items to avoid are:

  • Caffeine
  • Sodas
  • High fat foods and drinks
  • Spicy foods
  • And more

The bottom line is that medications simply mask the symptoms of GERD and come with a host of unpleasant side effects. They are not only costly, but may become less effective over time.

Those who have not received the relief that they need or expect from lifestyle changes such as the ones mentioned above and who do not wish to remain on medications, may be candidates for minimally invasive anti-reflux surgery. Others, who are also suffering from obesity, may qualify for bariatric or weight loss surgery that can be very effective in improving or eliminating GERD.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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