Acid Reflux and Proton Pump Inhibitors

What is heartburn?

However, like many other medicines, they have potential adverse effects. These include Clostridium difficile infection in patients in hospital, bone fractures, hypomagnesaemia (low magnesium level) and vitamin B12 deficiency. Most treatments revolve around lifestyle changes as your symptoms are likely to lessen if you take measures to reduce the amount of reflux that you have.

The antacids neutralize stomach acid, and the H2 blockers stop the stomach from creating acid. By the time the antacids wear off, the H2 blockers are controlling the acid in the stomach. Let your doctor know how the OTC medicines work for you. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, the doctor may suggest a prescription medicine. If possible, try not to take PPIs long-term.

Stand upright or sit up straight, maintain good posture. This helps food and acid pass through the stomach instead of backing up into the esophagus. In a 24-hour pH probe study, a thin tube is placed down into your esophagus for 24 hours.

The esophagus lies just behind the heart, so the term “heartburn” was coined to describe the sensation of acid burning the esophagus near where the heart is located. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid after a meal to aid in the digestion of food. There are three classes of OTC medications for the treatment of heartburn.

You may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or another condition that may need different treatment. Heartburn is a common problem that affects many Canadians at one time or another. It is that familiar burning sensation behind the breastbone resulting from acidic stomach contents rising into the esophagus (acid reflux).

  • Frequent acid reflux that occurs more than twice a week is called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), which may have more severe consequences than occasional heartburn, according to the NHS.
  • Dietary changes can help to ease symptoms.
  • “If the stomach makes too much acid, if the stomach is too full, or if the junction between the esophagus and stomach is weak, that acid can go from the stomach back into the esophagus, causing an irritation in the esophagus.” The acid causes a burning, and even sour, sensation in the esophagus, which equals burning in the chest, which equals heartburn.
  • If self-care and treatment with nonprescription medication does not work, your health-care professional likely will prescribe one of a class of stronger antacids.

And they could get worse over time if left untreated. In these cases, you may need a prescription medication. If your symptoms aren’t very frequent or severe, OTC medications may work well. The OTC forms of H2 blockers and PPIs have lower dosage levels than the prescription versions.

Herbal remedies. Licorice and chamomile are sometimes used to ease GERD. Herbal remedies can have serious side effects and might interfere with medications. Ask your doctor about a safe dosage before beginning any herbal remedy. No alternative medicine therapies have been proved to treat GERD or reverse damage to the esophagus.

Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, and Protonix®. For people with mild-to-moderate disease, home care and H2-blockers are generally effective. Let your doctor what you are doing about your reflux disease and how well it is working.

Antacids are medicines that counteract (neutralise) the acid in your stomach to relieve indigestion and heartburn. Use two pillows to elevate your head above your stomach at night, keeping stomach acid from entering your esophagus.

If you have more severe heartburn symptoms that these medications don’t relieve, or if you’ve been using these medicines for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor. You may need a stronger prescription medicine and tests to see what’s causing your symptoms. Antacids neutralize stomach acid to cut down on heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and stomach upset. Some antacids also contain simethicone, an ingredient that helps your body get rid of gas.

Occasional heartburn may be remedied through lifestyle changes

These drugs help reduce symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid in your stomach. Antacids typically work within minutes of taking them, offering more immediate relief than other treatments. Most pregnant women have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially heartburn, at some point.

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