Heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) can often be treated with self-help measures and over-the-counter medicines.
If these don't help, your GP can prescribe stronger medication or refer you to a specialist to discuss whether surgery may be an option.
This page covers:
You may find the following measures can help reduce heartburn and other symptoms of GORD:
If you're taking medication for other health conditions, check with your GP to find out whether they could be contributing to your symptoms.
Different medicines may be available, but don't stop taking any prescribed medication without consulting your GP first.
A number of different medications can be used to treat symptoms of GORD.
Over-the-counter heartburn and GORD medicines are available from pharmacies without a prescription.
The main types are:
These medicines aren't suitable for everyone, so you should check the leaflet first. Ask a pharmacist for advice if you're not sure.
If your symptoms don't get better despite trying self-help measures and over-the-counter medicines, your GP may prescribe a PPI. These work by reducing the amount of acidproduced by your stomach.
You'll usually be given enough medication to last a month. Go back to your GP if they don'thelp or your symptoms return after treatment finishes. Some people need to takePPIs on a long-term basis.
The possible side effects of PPIs are usually mild. They include Headaches , diarrhoea or constipation , feeling sick, abdominal (tummy) pain , dizziness and a rash.
Your GP will prescribe the lowest dose that they think will control your symptoms to reduce the risk of side effects.
If PPIs don't control your symptoms, a medicine known as a H2RA may be recommended for you to take alongside them on a short-term basis, or as an alternative.
Like PPIs, H2RAs reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach.
Side effects of H2RAs are uncommon, but can include diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness, arash and tiredness.
Surgery may be an option if:
The main procedure used is called a Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication (LNF). Alternative techniques have been developed more recently, although these aren't yet widely available.
LNF is a type of laparoscopic or "keyhole" surgery . This means it's carried out using special surgical instruments inserted through small cuts (incisions) in the skin.
The procedure is used to tighten the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus,which helps to stop acid leaking up from the stomach. It's carried out in hospital under general anaesthetic .
Most people need to stay in hospital for two or three days after the procedure. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work withinthree to six weeks.
For the first six weeks after surgery, you should only eat soft food, such as mince, mashed potatoes or soup. Some people experience problems with swallowing, belching and bloating after LNF,but these should get better with time.
In the last few years, several new techniques for treating GORD have been developed.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says these procedures appear to be safe, but not much is known about their long-term effects.
These techniques include:
Speak to your surgeon about these techniques for more information.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition, where acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus (gullet). The reflux of the contents of the stomach back into esophagus and mouth, is called gastro-esophageal reflux disease. GORD can often be controlled with self-help measures and medication.
The main symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) are heartburn and acid reflux. Other symptoms can include feeling and being sick, difficulty swallowing, belching and burping, a feeling of a bad taste in the mouth, coughing and a sore throat, during the night the mouth fills with unpleasant fluids, at times gum disease may occur. If you also have asthma , the symptoms may get worse as a result of stomach acid irritating your airways.
Visit your GP if you're worried about your symptoms, or if: You have symptoms several times a week, Over-the-counter medications aren't helping, Your symptoms are severe, You have difficulty swallowing, You have possible signs of a more serious problem, such as persistent vomiting, vomiting blood or unexplained weight loss.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is usually caused by the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus (gullet) becoming weakened. Normally, this ring of muscle opens to let food into your stomach and closes to stop stomach acid leaking back up into your oesophagus. But for people with GORD, stomach acid is able to pass back up into the oesophagus. This causes symptoms of GORD , which can include heartburn and acid reflux.
The following factors may increase your risk of developing GORD:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Being overweight orÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â obesity;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Eating large amounts of fatty foods; Smoking, alcohol, coffee or chocolate; Pregnancy;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Hiatus hernia;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Gastroparesis;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Certain medicines;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Stress.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â GORDÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â can sometimes affect several members of the same family and it's been suggested that the genes you inherit from your parents may also affect your chances of developing the condition.
Your GP will often be able to diagnose gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) based on your symptoms. However, there may be some instances when you're referred for tests in hospital. Diagnosis is usually determined after performing a fibrogastroscopy or a barium swallow X-ray.
A number of treatments are available for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), including simple, self-care measures, medication and surgery. Treatment is conservative, it usually involves lifestyle changes (lowering the intake of fatty foods, eating small, frequent meals, eating several hours in advance of going to sleep, not lying down after consuming food, the usage of a high pillow, losing weight (if overweight), finding ways to relieve stress, etc). Following this advice, the patient is recommended antacids and proton pump inhibitors. Rarely, a surgical intervention may be necessary.
A number of possible complications can occur as a result of having gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) for a long time, including ulcers, and a scarred and narrowed oesophagus. Long-term suffering from GORD leads to chronic exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents. Many patients also exhibit resistance to medication which further leads to damage caused to the mucosa of the esophagus. This refers to a disease called Barret's esophagus.