People who suffer from reflux should be aware of another pill-related problem. If a medication were to become lodged in the esophagus, it may cause injury to the lining. This may lead to ulcers and narrowing of the esophagus. Second, if the offending medication cannot be stopped, better treatment for the reflux would be in order. For example, talk to your doctor about either increasing the dose of the current medication or switching to a more powerful drug.
Acid reflux can be prevented in some cases by changing the habits that cause the reflux including avoiding alcohol, not smoking, limiting fatty foods and other food triggers, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding large meals within 3 hours of bedtime. However, studies show that people who take PPIs for a long time or in high doses are more likely to have hip, wrist, and spinal fractures. A child or teen should take these medicines on an empty stomach so that his or her stomach acid can make them work correctly.
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Some people may use a combination of antacids, H2 blockers, and PPIs to control acid reflux. However, combining them can cause side effects such as diarrhea or constipation in some cases. Be sure to talk to your doctor before combining any OTC treatments for GERD with other medications.
Antacids, such as Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums, may provide quick relief. But antacids alone won’t heal an inflamed esophagus damaged by stomach acid. Overuse of some antacids can cause side effects, such as diarrhea or sometimes kidney problems. The LINX device is an expandable ring of metal beads that keeps stomach acid from refluxing into the esophagus, but allows food to pass into the stomach. All of these over-the-counter medicines, to a varying degree, can relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, regurgitation of bitter acid into the throat, bitter taste in mouth, ches pain, dry cough, hoarseness, feeling of tightness in the throat, and wheezing. Acid reflux (GERD) is a condition in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus and even up to the throat, irritating their lining tissues. Self-medicating with over-the-counter heartburn drugs can mask underlying health problems.
If you think you might have GERD, contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Available as a liquid or a chewable tablet, an antacid, when taken after meals, can neutralize stomach acid quickly and relieve heartburn symptoms.
Which OTC Meds Treat Heartburn?
Your doctor may recommend these medications when GERD symptoms are persistent or severe, when other medications have not worked, or when esophagitis or Barrettâ€™s esophagus has been diagnosed. Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows up into the esophagus. Doctors often suggest antacids as a first treatment to help soothe minor heartburn.
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People should sit upright for 3 or more hours after a meal to reduce heartburn symptoms. People should also eat smaller meals and avoid eating in the 2 to 3 hours before sleep. Proton pump inhibitors. These are drugs that block acid production more effectively.
These medications greatly decrease, but do not eliminate, the production of stomach acid. It is the stomach acid that is causing the symptoms. They will greatly decrease, if not eliminate heartburn before it happens.
Upper endoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat, to examine the inside of your esophagus and stomach. Test results can often be normal when reflux is present, but an endoscopy may detect inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis) or other complications. An endoscopy can also be used to collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) to be tested for complications such as Barrett’s esophagus. The primary ingredient in TUMS is calcium carbonate, which acts quickly on symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, and sour stomach.
GERD is a chronic condition defined by an improperly functioning sphincter between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter), which causes stomach contents to regularly push up into the esophagus. Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, but other symptoms include persistent sore throat, hoarseness, chronic coughing, frequent throat clearing, difficult or painful swallowing, asthma, unexplained chest pain, bad breath, erosion of enamel on teeth, a feeling of a lump in the throat, and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after meals. Untreated and persistent GERD can also lead to more harmful diseases such as esophagitis, Barrettâ€™s esophagus, and esophageal cancer. Different people have different triggers. Your doctor may suggest you keep a food journal to find out what aggravates your acid reflux symptoms.