Tips For Those Pursuing GERD Treatment

GERD can be incredibly debilitating. Not only is the chest and stomach pain tough to handle, but if it keeps you from getting good sleep, you may be left to face the days feeling grouchy and unfocused. It's really important to work with a doctor to treat your GERD. There are a number of prescription medications they can recommend. Regardless of the specific medication they recommend for you, here are a few essential tips to follow during treatment.

Take your medications on schedule

Some GERD medications need to be taken twice a day. Others need to be taken once a day. Regardless of the specifics of your medication instructions, it is important that you follow them to a "t." If you are late taking your medication one day, it could cause your stomach acid production to spike and cause your symptoms to start cascading again. Treating GERD is about keeping your stomach acid level down consistently enough to allow esophageal damage to heal, and you need to take your meds consistently for that to happen. Set a reminder in your phone, and ask your partner or a family member to remind you, too.

If you experience side effects, let your doctor know ASAP

As previously noted, there are several different medications for GERD, from H2 receptor blockers like cimetidine to proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole. Finding the right medication for you may be a bit of a trial-and-error process; that's totally normal. To ensure you find "the right" medication sooner, you need to be vigilant about reporting side effects to your doctor. Common side effects of these medications include fatigue, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea. Do not wait it out or hope the side effect will go away on its own, as this rarely happens. Let your doctor know so they can switch your medication and get your treatment back on track.

Take dietary changes seriously

Sometimes patients assume that once they are on medication for GERD, they can stop paying such close attention to their diet. However, dietary changes and GERD medications go hand-in-hand. You need to continue to avoid spicy foods, acidic foods, and anything else that has historically triggered reflex episodes. If you're having trouble keeping your diet under control, see a dietitian for help.

With the tips above, you are more likely to experience success in treating GERD. Remember to be patient, talk openly with your doctor, and use diet in combination with your medications.

If you have additional questions about GERD treatment, contact a local health professional.