Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Reflux Esophagitis 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:

Reflux Esophagitis 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.

Reflux Esophagitis 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:

Reflux Esophagitis 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:

Reflux Esophagitis 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?

Reflux Esophagitis Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat reflux esophagitis:

Reflux Esophagitis 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 Reflux Esophagitis Home Care

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Reflux Esophagitis 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]
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