Non erosive reflux disease (NERD) is one of many types of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Typically speaking GERD causes a condition referred to as esophagitis, which is the slow erosion of the lining of the esophagus. However, in non erosive reflux, this erosion does not occur. That being said, it does not mean that NERD is in any way less serious than its erosive cousins.
The majority of GERD sufferers do not actually have esophagitis, making non erosive reflux the most common form of acid reflux. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that because erosion does not occur that NERD is a milder form of the disease. NERD sufferers are twice as likely to experience problems in swallowing. In fact, NERD sufferers are more likely to suffer from complications and symptoms away from the esophagus itself, and they are less likely to benefit from fundoplication surgery.
A 1999 study, by Lind T., Hayelund, T, Lundell L et al, showed that only 56 percent of NERD patients reported the complete elimination of all symptoms after undergoing fundoplication surgery, compared to 90 percent of erosive reflux patients.
There are several potential causes of non erosive reflux disease, including lifestyle, diet, and hiatal hernia. This means that many people are able to make lifestyle and diet changes in order to manage their NERD symptoms. However, there are some cases where surgery, medication, or other actions will be required.
Non erosive reflux treatments are made up primarily of preventative actions. Common non-medicinal and non-surgical NERD treatments include:
– Eat several smaller meals instead of fewer larger meals. This stops your stomach from becoming too full, which can encourage acid to rise as it is closer to the esophagus due to simply being full of food.
– Do not eat too close to any time that you will be lying down. Make sure there are two to three hours between eating and lying down.
– Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter antacids
– Avoid certain acid-increasing foods such as fatty foods, citrus fruits, alcohol, caffeine, and anything else to which you commonly react.
– Try to achieve a healthy body weight by increasing, losing, or maintaining your weight, as your body requires.
– Do not wear clothing that is tight-fitting through the abdomen. This can increase pressure on the stomach and encourage reflux.
– Give up smoking as smoking can impact on the ability of your LES to function correctly.
– Use an extra pillow or two at night so that you sleep with your head raised higher to stop acid from flowing upward.
– Try not to bend over from the waist. Instead, bend at the knees and keep you back upright.
– Avoid straining too hard when you are having a bowel movement. The pressure can push acid upward.
Drug and surgical non erosive reflux disorder treatments include:
– Medication that neutralizes acidity in the stomach, decreases stomach acid production, or strengthens lower esophageal muscles.
– Fundoplication surgery, which wraps the lower esophageal sphincter with part of the upper stomach so that the sphincter will be stronger.
Of course, you can only treat non erosive reflux disorder when you know how to recognize it. Make sure to speak to your doctor so that you know whether or not your symptoms are NERD related.