About one in 10 Americans will suffer symptoms of heartburn once a week or more. Different things can cause heartburn, or acid reflux, including certain foods, stress, obesity, and some medications. If you suffer from acid reflux, it is important for you to find remedies which are safe and effective to keep the condition from getting worse.
Acid reflux treatment may include dietary changes, medications, or home remedies. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when acid splashes upwards from the stomach into the esophagus. Normally, a tight seal is in place to prevent this from happening.
However, different conditions can create a faulty seal, allowing stomach acids and contents back up the throat, causing pain and irritation. If the condition becomes a chronic one, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux.
This type of reflux can lead to further medical conditions and complications, including cancer. One possible cause of acid reflux is a condition known as a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper section of the stomach moves above the diaphragm- this is the wall of muscle separating your chest from your stomach. When functioning normally, the diaphragm prevents acid from spilling out into your esophagus.
Avoiding Trigger Foods
Acid reflux treatment can take many forms. There are a number of things one can do to prevent, or at least manage, the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. One is not going to bed with a full stomach. Be sure to eat meals at least 3 to 4 hours before going to bed- this gives food time to digest and acid levels to reduce before one lays down.
Another acid reflux treatment involves not overeating. Cut down on the size of meal portions or try to eat four or five small meals instead of a few large ones. Avoid foods which trigger gastrointestinal reflux. Foods such as chocolate, tomatoes, citrus juices, coffee, alcohol, high-fat foods, and onions may trigger acid reflux symptoms. One should try quitting smoking as well to help with gastroesophageal reflux.
The main ingredient in cigarettes, nicotine, can weaken the seal between the esophagus and stomach, allowing the irritating stomach acids to spill back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and pain. Acid reflux treatment may involve raising the head of one’s bed if acid reflux worsens when lying down. Blocks can be placed under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Do not use pillows to achieve the same effect.
Acid Reflux Medication
If the acid reflux symptoms warrant treatment, the doctor will make the best decision regarding what that treatment will entail. If the acid reflux symptoms are relatively mild, a sufferer may opt to use one of many over-the-counter medications for symptom relief.
Antacids are the most common choice. Antacids neutralize stomach acidity by increasing pH. Common antacids include alka seltzer, maalox, tums, rolaids, pepto-bismol, and gaviscon. One type of drug which a doctor may recommend for acid reflux symptoms is a proton pump inhibitor or PPI. PPIs are a class of drugs which provide a very long-lasting attenuation of acid secretion in the stomach.
These drugs have become very popular and are among the most widely-sold drugs available today for acid reflux symptoms. PPIs have been shown to have relatively few side effects. The side effects do not appear to be any more common with any particular PPI, but rather evenly distributed amongst the class of drugs as a whole.
The most common side effects include nausea, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness, and fatigue. They also increase the risk of bone fractures.