Acid Reflux Treatment Options

Contact an ENT to Start Treating your GERD

Acid Reflux Treatment OptionsIf you frequently experience heartburn, a sour taste in your mouth, or the feeling that you’re about to vomit when going to bed, then it may be due to a condition called acid reflux (GERD). Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when the muscle at the bottom of your throat called the lower esophageal sphincter fails to close, resulting in stomach acid flowing into your throat.

Additional symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Regurgitation
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • A choking sensation and tightness in the throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • The need to constantly clear your throat
  • Food sticking in throat and trouble swallowing

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), this condition affects about 20% of Americans, and it can have many causes, including being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, and lying down or bending over after eating a heavy meal.

This stomach acid is not meant to be in your throat, and it can irritate its lining. If left untreated, your acid reflux may lead to more serious complications. If you are suffering from frequent bouts of acid reflux, you should contact an ENT doctor in Los Angeles about treating it.

Seeing a Doctor

During your doctor’s visit, your ENT specialist in Los Angeles will ask about your medical history and lifestyle, as these can shed light on why you might be dealing with regurgitated stomach acid.

They will also ask about your symptoms. Understanding the symptoms that accompany your throat discomfort is the key to an accurate diagnosis. Oftentimes, changing your lifestyle or using antacids or acid-blocking medications can reduce the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Lifestyle changes may not help if you have frequent or severe symptoms.

There are a variety of tests that your gastroesophageal reflux doctor in Los Angeles can administer to see if you really have GERD. These tests include:

  • Barium swallow: Swallowing a solution can help structs show up on an x-ray. This can check for ulcers or a narrowing of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal manometry: This will examine the function of your esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
  • pH monitoring: pH is a scale to measure the levels of acid. This can check for the amount of acid in your esophagus. For this test, your throat specialist in LA will insert a special device into your throat cavity to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus. This device should be left in place for a couple of days to get an accurate measurement.
  • Endoscopy: An endoscopy will examine your throat and stomach by inserting a long tube with a light at the end. This will allow them to see inside your body.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy may be needed to check your throat tissue for infection or abnormalities. A piece of your skin can be taken during your endoscopy.

Your Treatment Options

If you are losing sleep due to acid reflux, don’t worry. There are a variety of treatment options your Los Angeles ENT can suggest to get your symptoms to ameliorate or subside.

Treatment options can be minimally invasive surgeries or as simple as lifestyle changes. You can have a discussion with your ENT doctor about which is best for you.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Acid reflux symptoms can be quelled with over-the-counter medications. Medications will be your ENT’s first suggestion as a treatment plan for your GERD.

Antacids can neutralize the acid in your stomach, but they can cause digestive issues if you overuse them. Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Riopan are a few popular brands.

We recommend that you choose a medication that contains both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide because this combination can counteract against gastrointestinal side effects.

If antacids have no effect, your doctor may suggest other medications. A combination of two or more medications may be what your body needs to stop your acid reflux. Common medications for GERD include:

  • Foaming agents can coat your stomach after being ingested to prevent reflux.
  • H2 blockers (Pepcid, Tagamet) decrease your stomach’s acid production.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (Aciphex, Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix) also reduce your stomach acid production.
  • Prokinetics (Reglan, Urecholine) can strengthen your LES as well as clear out your stomach to reduce the factors that lead to acid reflux.

Always consult your doctor before combining medications. Only take medicine for your acid reflux if you’ve discussed it with your ENT specialist beforehand.


If medications don’t resolve your acid reflux issues, then your doctor may recommend surgery.

A LINX device is the most recently approved surgical procedure to treat acid reflux. This procedure involves surgically placing a ring called a LINX device around the LES. This device will keep a firm grip on your LES to prevent stomach acid from leaking into your esophagus. This LINX device is made of titanium, so make sure you get tested for a titanium allergy before going through with this surgery. Once you are fitted with a LINX device, you shouldn’t get any type of MRI test.

Another surgical procedure to stop acid reflux is referred to as fundoplication. Fundoplication creates an artificial valve using the top of your stomach. Your throat surgeon can wrap the upper part of your stomach around your LES to aid its tightening. During this procedure, surgeons will make an open incision in the abdomen or chest to access this organ.

Surgical procedures are a last resort for treating GERD if medications and lifestyle changes are not enough. Your doctor will recommend that you take on a healthier lifestyle to see if your symptoms get better. They will recommend that you keep up with these changes as you try other treatment options.

Lifestyle Changes

If your symptoms are not severe, lifestyle modifications can often put an end to your acid reflux issues. Acid reflux can often result from an unhealthy lifestyle, which is why it’s prevalent in overweight populations and heavy smokers and drinkers.

Altering your eating, drinking, and smoking habits can help GERD. Your Los Angeles ENT specialist may suggest the following:

  • Eating small, frequent meals instead of heavy meals
  • Avoiding food within 2 hours before bedtime
  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking tobacco
  • Avoiding acidic, spicy, fatty foods, and dairy
  • Avoiding carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic drinks
  • Avoiding stress, as far as possible

Contacting an ENT

If you are experiencing acid reflux that interferes with your everyday life, contact a throat specialist like Westside Head & Neck. Our doctors can put together a treatment plan for acid reflux that is specialized to you and your lifestyle. Contact our office to set up a consultation.

Head & Neck Cancer

Head & Neck Cancer is a term used to describe a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.

Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they begin in the flat, squamous cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck. Directly beneath this lining, which is called the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of moist tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is limited to the squamous layer of cells, it is called carcinoma in situ. If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into the deeper tissue, then it is called invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

Types of Head & Neck Cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, each named according to the part of the body where they develop.   For more information, including signs and symptoms about each different form of  head and neck cancers listed below, click on the links below to read more on

Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer. The larynx is commonly called the voice box. It is a tube-shaped organ in the neck that is important for breathing, talking, and swallowing. It is located at the top of the windpipe, or trachea. The hypopharynx is also called the gullet. It is the lower part of the throat that surrounds the larynx.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer. The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are the air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer. The nasopharynx is the air passageway at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer. The oral cavity includes the mouth and tongue. The oropharynx includes the middle of the throat from the tonsils to the tip of the voice box.

Salivary Gland Cancer. The salivary gland is tissue that produces saliva, which is the fluid that is released into the mouth to keep it moist and that contains enzymes that begin breaking down food.

Information above provided by & approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board06/2014

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