The options: GERD is usually treated with medication and lifestyle changes. In rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Your primary care doctor will probably treat your GERD. If you need more specialized treatment, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who treats diseases of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
The outcome: After treatment, your symptoms may either go away entirely or become less severe. Treatment may also prevent further damage to your esophagus and even heal any prior damage.
How long it takes: You may get immediate relief, or it may take 8 to 12 weeks before you notice a change. Depending on your symptoms, you may need to continue some kind of treatment for the rest of your life.
More than half of people who have heartburn and other GERD symptoms take over-the-counter antacids. Yet only 25% of them visit their doctor for a diagnosis. This means that most people who have GERD may be treating their symptoms incorrectly or not at all. Left untreated, GERD can damage your esophagus. The good news is that GERD is treatable. But successful treatment can only begin with a visit to your doctor.