Should You Consider Surgery to Treat GERD?
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, affects millions of Americans. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available that help reduce the painful symptoms associated with frequent acid reflux. Some of the most commonly used treatments include powerful over-the-counter medications and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy. However, for some GERD patients, surgery is still the best treatment option for permanent relief.
While over-the-counter and prescription medications continue to become more effective, GERD surgery is being used less frequently to treat heartburn and acid reflux that occurs two or more times per week. It’s estimated that fewer than 1% of GERD patients should have surgery instead of medication to treat the disease. According to experts, people should consider GERD surgery if they:
- Take medication but do not experience complete relief of their GERD symptoms
- Do not consistently take their GERD medication
- Already have serious complications from their GERD, such as Barrett’s esophagus
Is GERD surgery worth the risk?
Although GERD surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries some risk, candidates for the procedure are also at risk for serious complications caused by untreated GERD. Over time, acid reflux can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to determine the best treatment options for you.