Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be severely uncomfortable and even painful. It can disrupt your life and put you on edge about experiencing your next attack even when you don't currently have symptoms. Because of this, you may want to immediately try a more aggressive treatment for your GERD, such as medication or surgery. However, there are several reasons why you should work with your doctor to try lifestyle changes first.
Lifestyle Changes Rarely Have Negative Side Effects
While medication and surgery can be highly effective at managing the symptoms of GERD, they also come with side effects Some common side effects of GERD medications include headaches, upset stomach, and trouble sleeping. Surgery comes with the risk of infection and other complications.
Alternatively, lifestyle changes such as changing your diet and exercise regime or the way you sleep rarely have negative effects and may positively affect your overall health by increasing your fitness level and helping you maintain an ideal weight.
Lifestyle Changes May Be Effective On Their Own
Often, lifestyle changes are enough to manage the symptoms of GERD. Even if you have strong or persistent GERD, the right changes may be able to keep it in check. While you may have tried lifestyle changes in the past, it is important to work with your doctor to determine possible causes of your GERD and the correct lifestyle changes for you as an individual.
Lifestyle Changes May Still Be Needed With Medication and Surgery
Medication and surgery may suppress symptoms of GERD, but they rarely cure it. Most people who take medication or have surgery still need to stick to an appropriate diet and sleep schedule. If you develop healthy habits to manage your GERD before starting medication or having surgery, these habits can help make your additional forms of treatment more effective.
While GERD can be painful, once you get a diagnosis, it does not need to control your entire life. You should work with a doctor you trust to develop a plan to manage your GERD symptoms that will allow you to live the most fulfilling, pain-free life possible. Whether this involves short-term or long-term medication or surgery, it is important you develop healthy habits to fully manage your symptoms. While it may take some time to find the right balance of treatment for you, it is important you stick with your treatment plan and communicate regularly with your doctor.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers GERD treatment.
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