Managing GERD in Older Adults

Understanding GERD in Older Adults

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition characterized by the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Older adults are more likely to develop GERD due to physiological changes that occur with age, such as decreased muscle strength in the esophagus and increased abdominal pressure. Additionally, certain medications used by older adults can exacerbate GERD symptoms. Delve further into the subject and uncover extra information in this specially selected external resource., examine fresh information and viewpoints on the topic discussed in the piece.

Dietary Changes

Dietary changes can be an effective first-line treatment for managing GERD in older adults. Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger symptoms, such as caffeine, chocolate, and spicy foods, can help. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead of three large meals can also be beneficial. Additionally, older adults should avoid lying down after eating and should elevate the head of their bed to prevent nighttime symptoms.

Medication Management

Older adults may require medication to manage their GERD symptoms. However, some medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, can increase the risk of bone fractures and kidney damage in older adults. It’s important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage for an individual’s needs. In some cases, alternative medications that are less likely to cause adverse effects may be recommended.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary changes, certain lifestyle modifications can help manage GERD in older adults. Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the pressure on the stomach, decreasing the likelihood of developing reflux symptoms. Engaging in physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can also be beneficial. Quitting smoking and minimizing alcohol intake can also help to alleviate GERD symptoms.


In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to manage GERD in older adults. Surgical procedures, such as fundoplication, aim to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. However, surgery is typically reserved for cases that do not respond to other treatments or for patients who are unable to tolerate medication. Risks and benefits of surgery should be carefully considered before proceeding. We’re always looking to add value to your learning experience. That’s why we suggest visiting this external resource with additional and relevant information about the subject. Discover this helpful guide, discover more!

In conclusion, managing GERD in older adults requires a comprehensive approach that considers individual needs and risks. Dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as medication management, can be effective in managing symptoms. For individuals with severe or persistent GERD, surgical intervention may be necessary. By working closely with a healthcare provider and making necessary lifestyle changes, older adults with GERD can successfully manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

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