You can make many lifestyle changes to help treat your symptoms.
Other tips include:
- If you are overweight or obese, in many cases, losing weight can help.
- Avoid drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain.
- Take all of your medicines with plenty of water. When your doctor gives you a new medicine, ask whether it will make your heartburn worse.
You may use over-the-counter antacids after meals and at bedtime, although the relief may not last very long. Common side effects of antacids include diarrhea or constipation.
Other over-the-counter and prescription drugs can treat GERD. They work more slowly than antacids, but give you longer relief. Your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse can tell you how to take these drugs.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) decrease the amount of acid produced in your stomach
- H2 blockers also lower the amount of acid released in the stomach
Anti-reflux surgery may be an option for patients whose symptoms do not go away with lifestyle changes and drugs. Heartburn and other symptoms should improve after surgery. But you may still need to take drugs for your heartburn.
There are also new therapies for reflux that can be performed through an endoscope (a flexible tube passed through the mouth into the stomach).