Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment drugs acid blockers antacids questions for doctor specialist surgery Home Care diet sore throat taking control vomiting warning signs Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Esophageal Reflux Treatment

Treatment for reflux esophagitis usually includes avoiding alcohol, caffeine, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and foods that irritate your stomach. Additional treatment for reflux esophagitis includes a variety of medications that reduce acid in the stomach.

General treatment for reflux esophagitis includes:

  • Diet:
    • Avoid food that irritates your stomach.
    • Avoid chocolate, citrus juice, and tomato based products
    • Avoid large meals; eat small meals more frequently
    • Wait 3 hours after a meal before lying down
    • Elevate the head of the bed 8 inches
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Avoid aspirin.
  • Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Sleep on your left side.
  • Weight loss if you are overweight

Treatment options for reflux esophagitis include:

Esophageal Reflux Drugs

Prescription and nonprescription medicines are used to treat reflux esophagitis.

Medications used to treat reflux esophagitis include:

  • Antacids
  • Acid blockers:
    • H2 antagonists
    • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Gastric motility agents:
    • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
    • Can reduce acid reflux by tightening the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.

Esophageal Reflux Acid Blockers

Two classes of medication that are most commonly used to treat reflux esophagitis include:

  • H2 antagonists
  • Proton pump inhibitors

H2 antagonists reduce acid production in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors stop the production of stomach acid. Usually, they are more effective than H2 antagonists.

H2-blocker medications:

Proton pump inhibitor medications:

Esophageal Reflux Antacids

Nonprescription antacid medications neutralize stomach acid. They may improve the symptoms of reflux esophagitis quickly.

Common antacid medications used to treat reflux esophagitis include:

Esophageal Reflux Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of reflux esophagitis.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for complications?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Esophageal Reflux Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat reflux esophagitis:

Esophageal Reflux Surgery

Surgery for reflux esophagitis may be performed in patients who fail to respond to treatment with medication.

Surgical procedures for reflux esophagitis include:

  • Laparoscopic fundoplication:
    • Minimally invasive surgery: performed using laparoscopy
    • This procedure tightens the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing this valve to keep stomach acid where it belongs.
    • Over 90 percent of people having this procedure have satisfactory results.
  • Endoscopic fundoplication:
    • Involves using tiny stitches to tighten the lower esophagus.
    • This operation may be performed from inside the esophagus using an endoscope.
  • Endoscopic radiofrequency ablation:
    • Also known as the Stretta procedure
    • May be performed as outpatient surgery
    • May be performed in as little as 45 minutes using conscious sedation
    • Lower incidence of side effects as compared to other anti-reflux surgery.
    • Uses a radiofrequency probe placed inside the esophagus by a procedure that is identical to upper GI endoscopy.
    • Like a microwave, this device heats the tissues of the valve, causing them to scar and close tighter.

Continue to Esophageal Reflux Home Care

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Esophageal Reflux References
  1. Fraser A, Delaney B, Moayyedi P. Symptom-based outcome measures for dyspepsia and GERD trials: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Feb;100(2):442-52. [15667506]
  2. Kahrilas PJ. Review article: is stringent control of gastric pH useful and practical in GERD? Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Oct;20 Suppl 5:89-94. [15456470]
  3. Tytgat GN. Review article: treatment of mild and severe cases of GERD. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jul;16 Suppl 4:73-8. [12047264]
  4. Vakil N. Review article: cost-effectiveness of different GERD management strategies. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jul;16 Suppl 4:79-82. [12047265]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.