- What is the difference between severe acid reflux and GERD?
- How bad is the GERD pain, and what GERD treatment options do I have?
- Can I learn how to treat GERD naturally and find a natural cure for GERD?
- What is the GERD diet?
So many questions …
The good news is that you can learn everything you need to know about this GERD surgery just by checking out the contents of this page, and there is lots of extra awesome information on GERD and acid reflux right here.
Keep reading and you will find out all about GERD.
Severe GERD Symptoms
So you say you know don’t know if you have severe GERD or not?
- Do you ever feel like your mouth is dry and your throat is sore?
- Is your voice ever very hoarse to the point that you often can’t speak?
- Is your esophagus (throat) bleeding, or has it even bled for no apparent reason?
- Do you feel like you are choking, but you can’t get rid of that feeling?
- Are you coughing more than you should, even after you have taken medication for your cough?
- Do you run out of breath easily, no matter what you are doing?
- Have you ever bent over and felt like you had to vomit or nearly blacked out?
- Does it feel like you have a little alien living inside your chest?
- Does food feel like it is always getting stuck on its way down your throat, usually right behind your breast bone?
- Do you feel the urge to run around completely naked?
If you have that last symptom, you are probably either high on something, have drunk too much, love being naked, or have a mental disorder.
All the rest, however, are severe GERD symptoms, and they can be a good indication that you might be suffering from GERD.
GERD Pain: Recognize This?
When your body sends the acid in your stomach up your esophagus, it’s basically sending stuff the wrong way.
The muscles of your esophagus are meant to send the food down towards the stomach, and it takes the muscle spasm known as vomiting to send food back up through the esophagus. The pain that you feel during vomiting, however, is only a small fraction of the GERD pain that you feel.
The problem is that the stomach is sending the acid back up your esophagus, meaning that the acid is eating away at the delicate lining of your esophagus. This means that your esophagus is going to be very raw and burned from the acid, which is why you experience the pain of a sore throat and a hoarse voice.
You may also feel a lot of pain in your chest (like a little alien living inside it), and GERD is directly related to heartburn that is caused by the acid. It can often feel like you are having a heart attack, but it is “just GERD” doing its thing on your body.
You will probably feel like the pain starts at your lower chest and slowly creeps its way up past your breastbone, towards your neck, and into your throat.
The GERD pain may also be accompanied by the feeling that your food is coming back up, which can be quite painful in the same way that vomiting is. The nausea that you feel is hard to stifle, and you may feel like you have to vomit without being able to do so.
If you notice that your mouth or throat tastes bitter, this is also a sign of the acid trying to claw its way up your esophagus, and it can be very unpleasant.
It can be pretty painful to have GERD or acid reflux, so it is important to look into the various treatment options you have in order to deal with the problem before it gets out of control
GERD Treatment Options: Medications Before a Potential GERD Surgery
So what are the GERD treatment options that I have which don’t involve GERD Surgery?
Aside from changing your lifestyle (See below), here are a few treatments for GERD:
Antacids are basically anti-acid medications that help to neutralize your stomach acid that would be trying to creep its way back up your throat.
They are only a temporary fix, as they are quickly eliminated from your stomach. Once they are gone, the acid will start building up again, thus forcing you to take antacids again.
It is recommended to take them soon after meals, as that is when the GERD starts to make its presence known.
These medications are designed to be a more long-term combatant in the war against acid reflux and GERD, and what it does is basically target the acid production center of the stomach and stop it from making so much acid.
It basically blocks the histamine in your stomach from producing the acid cells, thus preventing acid from being over-produced. These are also known as H2 antagonists, and they are usually recommended to be taken half an hour before you eat in order to get to work preventing the problem from arising at all.
Histamine Antagonists won’t deal with your painfully burned esophagus, but they can help to prevent the stomach from producing too much acid.
These drugs help the muscles of your gastrointestinal tract, and it helps to make them stronger.
They basically help the stomach to dump its contents faster, thus preventing the buildup of acid that causes acid reflux.
Pro-motility drugs should usually be taken half an hour before you eat, as well as half an hour before you sleep (to prevent acid reflux in the night). They won’t treat either the complications of the symptoms of GERD, but they are more of a last-ditch attempt when other medications don’t work.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
These PPI (what the cool kids are calling proton pump inhibitors) stop the cells in your stomach that are secreting the acid, thus preventing the acid from backing up.
They work on a longer-term basis than the H2 antagonists do, and help to protect your esophagus from all the acid, thus giving it more time to heal.
They are used after H2 antagonists don’t seem to work, as well as when some of the more serious GERD complications arise. They are usually taken 60 minutes before you eat, as that ensures that the body has processed the medication in time for it to work when you’ve eaten.
Foam barriers are like the love child that was produced when Mr. Antacid made sweet, sweet music with a foaming agent.
What happens is that this med hits the stomach, dissolves and starts foaming, and the foam starts to float down the rivers of acid. The foam actually acts as a barrier to prevent the acid reflux, while the antacid in the foam barrier works on eliminating the acid itself.
This is usually given right after a meal or when lying down, and they are usually used in combination with other GERD drugs.
Pretty awesome treatments right?
But what happens when they don’t work?
Well, this is when your doctor may recommend a GERD surgery!
When the GERD treatment options aren’t enough, this is when the surgeon steps in with the GERD surgery.
Before you start worrying about being sliced open and having doctors reach into your belly to do the surgery, let’s see how it works:
The Operation Procedure of GERD Surgery
GERD surgery phase 1
The process is known as fundoplication, meaning “it’s lots of fun to do this plication “(Latin for “GERD surgery”).
Basically the surgery involves going into the stomach through a cut in your abdomen (known as a laparotomy) or a small hole in your abdomen (known as a laparoscopy).
GERD surgery phase 2
Once the surgeon is in, he takes a look around to find any hiatal hernia sacs. Any sacs that are found are pulled down below your diaphragm, and attached in place with stitching.
GERD surgery phase 3
The diaphragm’s opening is also tightened, as that ensures that the esophagus is tightened.
GERD surgery phase 4
The stomach next to the opening of your esophagus is also wrapped snugly around the lower part of your esophagus to create sort of an artificial sphincter (the muscle that prevents stuff from going back up) in the lower part of your esophagus.
This helps to stop food from going back up, and is able to reduce GERD significantly.
The Positive and Negative Effects of GERD Surgery
Most of the people that get the GERD surgery get relief for at least 5 or 10 years, though many have to continue taking drugs.
There are a few side effects of the GERD surgery like being unable to vomit, burp, or finding food stuck at your esophageal sphincter – not pleasant that’s for sure.
This GERD surgery is a last ditch attempt to deal with the GERD, and is only recommended when all else fails, when you want a long term solution, or when some of the more serious complications start to come up.
Severe Acid Reflux vs. GERD?
Now that you know about this specific GERD surgery, let’s move on …
Most people find that they have absolutely no idea of the difference between GERD and acid reflux.
What is the difference?
The difference between acid reflux and GERD is the difference between a thumb and a finger:
GERD is part of acid reflux, but acid reflux isn’t the same as GERD!
Acid reflux is when your stomach has too much acid in your stomach, and your stomach is basically sending the acid back up into your esophagus. It is the simpler of the two disorders, and it is not as serious.
GERD is when the acid reflux gets worse, and it is a more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is usually an added GERD symptom that acid reflux doesn’t have, and there are other more serious side effects of GERD that acid reflux doesn’t have.
To sum it up: acid reflux is Step 1, GERD is Step 2 + complications.
Tips to Dealing with Severe GERD
Dealing with severe GERD is important, as the problem could get out of hand if you don’t take the proper steps to prevent it.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with your severe GERD:
1. Cut Back on Strong Liquids
Most people that suffer from GERD have to stop drinking coffee, soda, tea, alcohol, energy drinks, and all drinks that come with a “kick” to them.
This is because these strong drinks are acidic in nature, and thus they stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.
2. Don’t Drink Milk
Milk, you say?
That’s right: milk!
Many doctors say that milk will help to coat the lining of your stomach and prevent the production of acid, and this is true initially.
At the beginning it will have this effect, but in the long run it will cause your body to react negatively and will only make the GERD problems worse.
3. Get Your Head up
When you are sleeping, you have to be certain that your head is higher than the rest of your body. The reason for this is that the esophagus muscles relax when you sleep, and this is just when the acid takes its chance to head back up your esophagus.
If you elevate your head, gravity works with you to keep the acid down.
4. Take Your Meds
Using medications like foam barriers and antacids can help you to deal with the severe GERD when it becomes a problem, but you should be certain to check with your doctor before taking any medications.
How to Treat GERD Naturally
Rather than going the medical route, you may want to consider trying to treat GERD naturally.
After all, there are no negative side effects of eating right or living right, so consider the tips below to help you deal with severe GERD problems:
- Eat Earlier – Rather than eating a snack late at night, try avoiding foods for up to a few hours before you crash.
Eating earlier in your evening will ensure that the food is digested before you lie down, thus preventing the food from coming back up.
- Eat Smaller – Most people that eat larger meals find that the GERD problems worsen, as a full stomach puts pressure on the muscle of your esophageal sphincter.
Try and eat less at each meal, but eat more often.
- Eat Peacefully – Don’t eat food in a stressed atmosphere, such as running off to work, popping out to the fast food joint, or trying to care for your kids.
Stress causes problems with acid reflux, and you should avoid moving around too much.
- Lose Weight – Most people who are overweight suffer from acid reflux, so losing weight is a great way to prevent this problem from becoming more serious.
Too much belly fat puts pressure on your stomach, so lose weight to treat GERD.
These few tips may be just what you needed to help you prevent GERD, but that’s not all you can do …
The Best Natural Cure for GERD – Changing Your Diet
Changing your diet is an important part of treating GERD, and will be the best natural cure. After all, the foods you eat are directly responsible for the acid in your stomach, so altering the foods you eat will help you to fight off the problems.
The secret to fighting off acid is to promote alkalinity in your body, and you can use different home remedies to help you build up alkalinity (see the Acid Reflux Treatment page to find out more…).
You can also change your diet to eat more alkaline foods, which will be the secret to curing GERD naturally.
Your GERD Diet
What kind of foods should you eat in your GERD diet?
- Fruits – Apples and bananas will not cause problems with acid reflux.
- Veggies – Potatoes (baked), peas, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and green peas are all great to eat.
- Meats – Lean meat, fish, skinless chicken breast, egg whites, and all other low-fat meats are the way to go.
- Dairy – All low fat dairy is wise, but soy cheese, fat free sour cream, feta cheese, and fat-free cream cheese can be consumed without worrying about acid reflix.
- Grains – Get lots of whole grains, and avoid refined grains.
Gerd Surgery: Dealing with the Pain of Severe Acid Reflux
It can be hard to deal with the pain of your severe acid reflux, but remember that it will pass.
If you and your doctor decide that the GERD surgery is the best option and/or you take your antacids, and do what you can to change your lifestyle, diet, and habits, you should have no problem curing your GERD.
Add to that the effectiveness of the medications, and you have a recipe for health and a GERD pain-free life.
It may be painful now, but making the changes will help to reduce the pain and if not curing, then significantly relieving your GERD.
What Would You Like to Read Now After This Article on GERD Surgery?
What is GERD, the Causes of GERD and a Natural Cure for GERD?
What Is Acid Reflux and What Is GERD? Acid Reflux Symptoms Is Phase One – GERD Pain Is Phase Two
GERD Symptoms In-Depth and Dietary Tips to Lessen Symptoms of GERD
Typical and Severe Symptoms of GERD: Dealing with Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease
A Long List of Symptoms of Acid Reflux and an Explanation of the Similar GERD Symptoms
Natural GERD Treatment: Healthy GERD Diet & Foods to Avoid with GERD
Acid Reflux Treatment Options: Going for a Natural Cure for GERD or GERD Mediations?
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