Acid reflux, also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux, happens when contents from your stomach come back up into your esophagus. If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, it might be because you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
As stated by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), GERD affects around 20 percent of individuals in America. If not treated, it can potentially lead to severe complications.
GERD’s primary symptom is acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause a burning feeling in your chest, which may move up into your neck and throat. This feeling is called heartburn. If you have acid reflux, you might also get sour or bitter taste at the back of mouth or regurgitation of food/liquid from stomach to mouth.
Some other symptoms of GERD include:
- chest pain
- pain when swallowing
- difficulty swallowing
- chronic cough
- a hoarse voice
- bad breath
GERD treatment options
To reduce GERD symptoms, your doctor will likely recommend some lifestyle changes, such as:
- maintaining a moderate weight, if applicable
- quitting smoking, if you smoke
- avoiding big, heavy meals in the evening
- waiting a few hours after eating to lie down
- elevating your head during sleep (by raising the head of your bed 6-8 inches)
The medications below can all be taken over-the-counter (OTC), but they also come with potential side effects. Talk to your doctor to see which one is right for you.
Antacids, such as Tums, are usually taken for only mild and infrequent heartburn or acid reflux. However if you find that you need them frequently, it might be time to get a stronger medication from your doctor.
H2 receptor blockers
Acid reducers, such as Pepcid AC, prevent your stomach from making too much acid. H2 blockers come in both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription forms. The FDA recalled ranitidine, which is also known as Zantac, for containing N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), an ingredient that can cause cancer.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs like Prilosec also lower the amount of acid your stomach makes. Because they tend to work better than H2 blockers, they’re more helpful when it comes to healing the esophageal lining — which can become damaged when someone is dealing with GERD for a while.
For individualized guidance from an expert pharmacist and a 10% discount on your next order, schedule a free consultation now! For more health tips, check out the rest of our glossary. In the meantime, the Gaspar’s Best family wishes you and your family happiness and health.