Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause near constant heartburn and pain for people who suffer from the condition. Luckily, theres hope for treating GERD! Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is the result of constant seeping of the stomachs digestive acids up into the esophagus. GERD most often manifests as chronic heartburn, but can also result in vomiting and nausea. If left untreated, GERD can lead to conditions like esophageal stricture, which is a painful narrowing of the esophagus, and even esophageal cancer. If you are diagnosed with GERD, your doctor will probably recommend lifestyle modifications and medications to help you cope with the heartburn that follows from the condition. Lifestyle modifications include avoiding foods that can lead to heartburn, such as peppermint, chocolate, tomato and citrus products, caffeine, and fatty foods. Your physician may also recommend other changes like losing weight, if youre obese and ceasing use of tobacco products, if you smoke. Because GERD is more serious than just basic heartburn, your doctor may prescribe a type of medication called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. Acid is released in the stomach via a device known as a proton pump. PPIs block the pump from releasing acid, which prevents acid leak and the consequent heartburn. Some common PPIs available via prescription include Nexium and Protonix. While PPIs can reduce acid secretion by more than 95 percent, a downside is their expensive price tag. A slightly weaker, yet more affordable, medication choice is histamine-2, or H2, blockers. These drugs are available both with a prescription and, in a weaker form, over-the-counter. H2 blockers work by countering the effect of histamine, which stimulates acid production. The result is a drop in the amount of acid that the stomach producesH2-blockers, like Axid and Zantac, are often most effective for people troubled by nighttime heartburn. Medication and lifestyle changes can control about 95 percent of GERD, but for some people, surgery will become necessary. The goal of GERD surgery is to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter that, when lose, allows acid to leak. The most common GERD surgery is fundoplication, or a stomach wrap. This procedure involves grabbing a piece of the stomach and looping it around the lower end of the esophagus to create a sphincter. The wrap must be tight enough to prevent reflux, but loose enough to allow food and belches to pass. Sometimes, a doctor will use radiofrequency catheter ablation to treat GERD. Also known as the Stretta procedure, it involves applying small doses of radiofrequency energy into the esophageal sphincter. This causes the lining of the esophagus to expand, in turn resulting in a tightening of the valve that releases acid. The LES can also be tightened with sutures using the Bard endoscopic suturing system. During this surgery, stitches are placed at either side of the LES and are then tied together. While gastroesophageal reflux disease can be painful, these treatment options can help you return to a normal, heartburn free life! But please: see your doctor before trying any GERD therapy.