For many, GERD can be cured through lifestyle changes and medications. For others, surgery may be necessary. But a cure is possible.
Most people experience acid reflux from time to time. But if you’re experiencing acid reflux more than twice per week, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD can be serious if left untreated, but it can be cured. Treatment for GERD typically involves home remedies and lifestyle changes, as well as medications to lower acid production in the stomach. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to control your symptoms.
Read on to learn more about how to cure GERD.
Yes, GERD can be cured permanently but it may take some trial and error and sticking to a treatment plan.
GERD is a chronic condition thought to be a result of improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus that controls the flow of food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach.
Left untreated, GERD can be a lifelong disease, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
If you’re diagnosed with GERD, a doctor will first recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to see if they help keep acid from entering through the LES. They may also prescribe medications to help reduce stomach acid and allow your esophagus to heal from any damage caused by the acid reflux.
Over time, your symptoms may go away completely. When this happens, the condition is considered “cured.” But this isn’t a one-time solution. It’s still possible to relapse if treatment and lifestyle modifications are stopped.
If lifestyle changes don’t help and your symptoms persist, your doctor may then recommend surgery. Surgery is usually highly effective and can provide long lasting relief. But like all medical procedures, there are risks.
Making simple updates to your daily routine could reduce your symptoms dramatically. These lifestyle changes can help you manage GERD symptoms:
- avoid eating 3–4 hours before bedtime
- eat small meals
- maintain a healthy weight
- avoid lying down after eating
- avoid alcohol
- avoid caffeine
- avoid smoking tobacco
- avoid spicy, high fat, or acidic foods
- try to reduce stress
Medications for GERD are aimed at reducing the amount of acid in your stomach. There are several different types of medications available over the counter, including:
- antacids, which work by neutralizing stomach acid
- H2 blockers, which reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces
- proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which also work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces
H2 blockers and PPIs are also available in prescription strength.
Surgery is considered a last resort for treating GERD and only recommended if lifestyle changes and medications fail to improve your symptoms. Common surgical procedures for GERD include:
- fundoplication, which involves wrapping the top part of your stomach around your lower esophagus to help reinforce it
- LINX reflux management system, which involves implanting a device around the bottom of your esophagus to help strengthen the sphincter
- bariatric surgery to help you lose weight if excess weight is contributing to your symptoms
GERD can’t go away on its own, but with proper management, you can stop its effects, even for good. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about how to cope with this condition.
What’s the best medication for acid reflux and GERD
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like omeprazole (Prilosec) are considered the mainstay of GERD treatment. PPIs are usually more effective than H2 receptor blockers. Usually, a PPI is prescribed over a course of 4–12 weeks. Speak with a doctor about the potential long-term risks and side effects of using PPIs.
What stops GERD immediately?
Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. They can help provide fast relief for heartburn symptoms when taken after a meal, but they’re only a short-term solution. Sitting upright or elevating your head can also help calm reflux right away.
Can you cure GERD naturally?
Mild cases of GERD can be cured with natural home remedies and lifestyle changes. Eating smaller meals, limiting spicy, fatty, or acidic foods, and not eating before bed could be enough to control your symptoms, without the need for medications.
Herbal remedies like chamomile, ginger, and licorice root may also reduce your symptoms. Check with a doctor before using herbal remedies.
Can you reverse the effects of GERD on your body?
Irritation from acid can damage the esophagus over time. But you can reverse the effects of GERD if you treat your symptoms quickly and keep up with the lifestyle changes.
Once acid reflux is under control, there will be less risk for further damage to the esophagus, throat, or teeth. Some effects of GERD, however, like dental cavities and Barrett’s esophagus, may not be reversible.
Can you get rid of GERD forever?
You may be able to get rid of GERD from coming back if you stick with lifestyle changes and medication. If home remedies and medications don’t make your symptoms go away, surgery is another option and can produce long-lasting results.
Untreated GERD increases your risk of esophageal damage, leading to ulcers, a narrowed esophagus, and even cancer.
With treatment, it’s possible to manage and, in many cases, cure GERD. A doctor may recommend surgery if home remedies and medications alone aren’t enough to make your symptoms go away.