Acid Reflux Medications

Acid Reflux Solution Kit

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Reflux relief using 3 common grocery store items.


Acid reflux is what happens when acids in the stomach used to digest food leak up from the stomach into the esophagus, sometimes travelling up the esophagus and into the back of the throat. Acid reflux can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including pain and a bitter taste at the back of the throat, pain in the upper abdomen and chest, heartburn characterized by a burning sensation travelling from the stomach up the throat, bloating, belching, feeling sick and uncommonly, a persistent cough.

Generally, you won’t be given medication if you have acid reflux as quite often, a few lifestyle changes will be enough to improve your symptoms, such as changing your diet and avoiding foods that are known to cause reflux, quitting smoking if you’re a smoker, losing 10% of your body weight if you are overweight or obese, improving your posture, swapping medications if your current medication is found to cause reflux and going to bed with an empty, dry stomach. If these lifestyle changes are not found to do the trick in treating your reflux, there are a number of medications available that will help to eliminate acid reflux symptoms.

Antacids

Antacids are alkali tablets or liquids that you take to neutralize the acid, meaning that it doesn’t cause pain or the burning sensation that is synonymous with acid reflux. Antacids are usually mild and can provide relief immediately after taking them. You can buy them over-the-counter, or you can get stronger varieties on prescription from your doctor.

Prokinetic Drugs

These drugs are used to speed up the passage of food in the stomach, meaning that it doesn’t sit in the stomach. These drugs are not commonly used to treat acid reflux but they will be used if your symptoms include belching, being sick, bloating and having feelings of nausea.

Acid-suppressing Drugs

If you get acid reflux symptoms frequently despite making some lifestyle changes, see a doctor as they can prescribe some helpful medication. Two types of acid-suppressing drug are available, one of which is proton pump inhibitors, also known as PPIs, one of which is histamine receptor blockers, also known as H2 blockers. These both work in different ways but they both reduce the amount of acid that the stomach creates.

A proton pump inhibitor is usually used first as they tend to work better than H2 blockers. Usually, proton pump inhibitors will be used for around a month to calm down any inflammation within the esophagus or stomach – this dosage usually settles all of your symptoms down, so then all you may need to do is go back to antacids when needed. However, seem people will need to continue taking the proton pump inhibitor medication every day, perhaps because they are more sensitive to the effects of acid than others.

If PPI medication is found to be ineffective, H2 blockers will be used instead.

Surgery

If you do not respond to lifestyle changes or any of the medication mentioned above, you may need to have an operation to eliminate acid reflux once and for all. This operation will be performed via a keyhole in the stomach, and the surgery will aim to tighten the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus to prevent acid from leaking up into the stomach. In general, this surgery is no more effective than taking medication – but if medication has not worked for you or if you do not want to have to take medication for the rest of your life, the surgery may be a better option.

Complications can arise from acid reflux and so it is important to treat it, rather than just ‘get on with it’. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.