Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acids rise to the esophagus, also known as acid reflux. While many people occasionally experience acid reflux, GERD is more chronic.
Over time, GERD can damage the esophagus, pharynx or respiratory tract. Common symptoms of GERD include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Burning sensation in the chest (heartburn)
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- The feeling of a lump in your throat
- Ongoing cough
- Inflammation of the vocal cords
- Sleep issues
Issues with sleeping is a common occurrence with GERD. One study analyzing the health surveys from 1984-1986 and 1995-1997 in Norway studied the association between GERD and sleep problems of 65,333 participants (approximately 70% of the adult population of Norway). The study revealed a strong connection between GERD and sleep problems, including insomnia, sleeplessness and problems falling asleep.
Sleep is essential to maintaining good physical and mental health. If GERD is interrupting your sleep and making that afternoon latte at Spill the Beans a necessity rather than a fun addition to your day, take a look at our options for managing your symptoms and improving your night’s rest.
Antacids contain calcium carbonate, an inorganic salt that acts by neutralizing stomach acid. Neutralizing stomach acid can provide quick relief to the feelings of acid reflux but cannot heal an inflamed or damaged esophagus. Take antacids sparingly, and make sure to follow the instructions on the back of the bottle.
Medications to Reduce Acid Production
Medications to reduce acid production are called histamine blockers. After a meal, acid reflux occurs when gastrin stimulates histamine release. Histamine binds to receptors on the gastric parietal cells, resulting in the rising of stomach acid.
Histamine blockers work by reversibly binding to histamine receptors on the gastric parietal cells and inhibiting the activity of the endogenous ligand histamine, resulting in lower amounts of stomach acid release.
While histamine blockers don’t act as quickly as antacids, they prevent acid production and provide more extended relief.
Medications to Reduce Acid and Health of the Esophagus
Medications known as proton pump inhibitors work similarly to histamine blockers and may block acid long enough for the esophageal tissue to begin to heal.
Prescription Medications and Surgery
If non-prescription methods of GERD treatment are ineffective, your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist may recommend prescription-strength proton pump inhibitors and histamine blockers or surgery.
Surgical options may include:
- Fundoplication. The top of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus to tighten the muscle and prevent acid reflux.
- LINX device. Tiny magnetic beads are wrapped around the stomach and esophagus connection. The magnetic bead attraction works to keep the junction closed to acid reflux but still allows food to pass through.
- Transoral incisionless fundoplication. Polypropylene fasteners wrap around and tighten the lower esophagus to prevent acid reflux.
Contact Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today to discuss if any of these options will be effective in treating your GERD and promoting a healthy night’s rest.