There are many ways available to help treat your symptoms if you have been diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) based on your symptoms or by objective reflux testing. Many people find that making lifestyle changes or taking over-the-counter drugs will help them control their GORD symptoms. In extreme cases, stronger medications or surgery can be needed to alleviate symptoms.
If you don’t get relief after a few weeks of making the prescribed lifestyle changes, your doctor can prescribe GORD drugs, either over-the-counter or prescription.
PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors) are drugs that prevent the stomach from producing acid. PPIs, on the other hand, aren’t always effective; about 30% of people with GORD don’t respond to them and continue to have symptoms. 3 The drug isn’t addressing the real issue for those people.
If you’ve been taking antacids for months and are still experiencing symptoms (such as stomach pain, nausea, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty breathing at night), see a gastroenterologist (GI).
Author: Dr. Sarmed Sami MBChB, MRCP, PGCME, PhD
Consultant Gastroenterologist, Founder and Director of Digestive Health UK. https://digestivehealthuk.com/
The medications prescribed
Other drugs that can help with GORD symptom control include:
- Antacids, such as TumsTM*, MaaloxTM*, or MylantaTM*, are over-the-counter drugs that neutralise stomach acid.
- H2 Blockers — Medications like ZantacTM*, PepcidTM*, and AxidTM* that reduce acid production by blocking the cells that release stomach acid.
- Even if PPIs or other drugs offer relief, they only “mask” symptoms in certain patients, rather than addressing the underlying cause of symptoms, which may delay GORD diagnosis.
- It’s important to remember that if you’ve been given a PPI, you must take it exactly as prescribed, not just when you’re experiencing symptoms.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with GORD based on symptoms and are taking PPIs on a daily basis but still have reflux symptoms, see a gastroenterologist (GI) for a reflux examination.
How is GORD monitored?
GORD is often monitored by a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. For patients whose symptoms are not improved by medication or lifestyle changes, your GI can prescribe additional interventional measures.
Surgery is only recommended if treatment and lifestyle improvements have failed to alleviate GORD symptoms.
Laparoscopic fundoplication is a surgical technique used to treat GORD. To avoid reflux, this minimally invasive operation strengthens the valve at the base of the oesophagus.
When stomach acid escapes from the stomach and goes up into the oesophagus, it is known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) (food pipe). This is often referred to as’reflux in digestive health.’
Acid reflux causes heartburn in almost all at some point in their lives. When it occurs more than twice a week, it is classified as GORD. It can lead to more severe health issues and have a negative effect on one’s well-being and quality of life.
GORD can affect anyone, including infants, but it is more common in adults aged 40 and up. If you’re concerned about a child or baby who has reflux symptoms, read the fact sheet on reflux from The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.