Doctors normally treat gastroesophageal reflux disease with over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, histamine H2-blockers and proton pump inhibitors, according to WebMD. Motility drugs and surgery may be recommended for more serious GERD cases. The University of Illinois' McKinley Health Center explains patients may eat a special GERD diet to alleviate symptoms. This diet attempts to decrease the symptoms associated with gastric fluid moving into the esophagus.
Antacids treat minor symptoms of GERD. WebMD states histamine H2-blockers cut the stomach's production of acid. These types of drugs work for those with mild GERD. Histamine H2-blockers are available by prescription or in half-strength doses sold over-the-counter. Proton pump inhibitors are medications taken for complicated or chronic GERD, and these types of drugs may be taken indefinitely. Proton pump inhibitors reduce symptoms and lower inflammation.
WebMD explains motility drugs, such as metoclopramide, may strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter to prevent stomach acid from moving up the gastrointestinal tract. These drugs may cause long-term neurological damage if used for more than three months. Surgery or an endoscopic procedure may be needed for patients with chronic, severe symptoms that do not go away with medication.
People on a GERD diet avoid large meals, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, carbonated beverages, mint, tomato products and citrus juices, according to the McKinley Health Center. Ways to combat GERD include decreasing overall caloric intake and eating fewer high-fat foods. Healthline states foods such as yogurt, peanut butter, probiotics and fiber may help reduce GERD symptoms.