Can You Get Rid of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Reviewed on 6/17/2022
Illustration of a stomach with GERD
Some people can manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms on their own with lifestyle changes or by taking non-prescription medicines.

Acid reflux is a condition in which the acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

When acid reflux occurs more than twice weekly, is chronic, or causes uncomfortable symptoms or damage, it is considered to be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Some people can manage gastroesophageal reflux disease on their own with lifestyle changes or by taking non-prescription medicines. 

Home remedies to help get rid of symptoms of GERD include:

  • Avoid foods that worsen symptoms 
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t overeat
  • Weight loss if overweight or obese
  • Don’t eat two to three hours prior to going to bed
    • Lying down with a full stomach can make reflux worse
  • Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches using blocks of wood or rubber under two legs of the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress
  • Avoid medications such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that may aggravate GERD
  • Take medications with plenty of water
  • Wear loose clothing around the stomach area

If lifestyle modifications do not relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, medications used to treat the condition include: 

Surgery may be recommended in severe cases of gastroesophageal reflux disease when symptoms do not improve with lifestyle changes or medications. 

Surgery used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease includes: 

  • Fundoplication
    • A laparoscopic procedure in which a thin tube with a small video camera is inserted into the abdomen and the top part of the stomach is sewn around the esophagus to reduce reflux
  • Endoscopic techniques
    • Endoscopic sewing uses small stitches to tighten the sphincter muscle
    • Radiofrequency creates heat lesions or sores to help tighten the sphincter muscle
    • Results for endoscopic techniques are not as good as those for fundoplication

What Are Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) include:

What Causes Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes, which causes stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. 

Lower esophageal sphincter weakness or relaxation may be caused by:

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Reviewed on 6/17/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image Source: iStock Images

United States. Wolters Kluwer. UptoDate.com. "Patient education: Gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults (Beyond the Basics)." 8 Apr. 2022. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-in-adults-beyond-the-basics

United States. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Adults." June 17, 2022. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults