Acid reflux and GERD aren’t technically the same thing, but to millions of people who suffer from these gastrointestinal disorders, the results can be. For a variety of reasons, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus.
This can cause discomforts, such as heartburn or a burning sensation in your chest, or be more subtle, such as a persistent cough, particularly at night. This article discusses some of the ways to seek relief from these symptoms.
The most effective means of treating the disease is by avoiding the things that cause it. If you are overweight, trimming the extra pounds can help a lot. If you suffer from acid reflux, or GERD, then avoid:
* Eating close to bedtime
* Eating foods known to cause heartburn, like spicy foods, citrus or fatty foods
* Drinking coffee, alcohol or sodas
* Taking NSAIDs on an empty stomach.
Also, there are several drug options for treatment of Acid Reflux. Many of them are available over the counter without a prescription. Some are available only with a prescription after a doctor’s visit, and some have OTC versions and stronger equivalents just by prescription.
A visit to a wellness doctor can help understand the right course of treatment for your particular case.
The easiest and cheapest option and the one many people try first are antacid tablets or liquids. These help neutralize stomach acid before it causes the problem. The liquid versions also coat the esophagus giving it an extra layer of protection.
These may offer temporary relief of minor symptoms, but may not be enough. The other drug options are H2 blockers, Alginates and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs).
Alginates are antacids, but work in a somewhat unique way. They contain calcium carbonate and alginic acid, and they form a barrier to the acid, creating a foamy raft or gel layer that sits on top of the gastric pool preventing the acid from being able to reach the esophagus. H2 blockers are sold under the brand names, Pepcid AC and Zantac and attempt to shut off the production of acid in the stomach. They don’t work as quickly as antacids and are usually recommended for those who only get heartburn occasionally.
PPIs have become the new standard in GERD treatment and not only block the production of acid, but can help heal the damage already done to the esophagus.
If you suspect that you have GERD or acid reflux, you need to consult with your doctor or skilled nurse to determine the best course of action. It will most likely be a combination of lifestyle changes and drug treatment. And as the TV commercials like to say, “Ask your doctor if one of these treatments is right for you.”