The Right Acid Reflux Medication For You
Acid reflux patients know how painful it is when acid backs up. There is a burning sensation at the base of the throat that no amount of water will relieve. Acid seems to defy gravity, seeping upward into the esophagus. Sufferers would do anything to make the pain stop, but there seemingly is nothing they can do.
Acid reflux is caused by a loosening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. The stomach has a heavy, acid-proof lining, but the LES is lined with soft, sensitive tissue that is susceptible to damage from stomach acid.
Fortunately, help is available in the form of acid reflux medication.
Over The Counter Acid Reflux Medication
Old-fashioned over the counter medications like Tums and Rolaids can provide temporary relief for the mild acid reflux symptoms that occur after eating spicy foods. If acid reflux is a rare occurrence for you, and you have only occasional episodes of acid backup, you may find that the relief these antacids offer is sufficient to alleviate your symptoms. Although these drugs are also touted as a safe source of calcium, they also contain aluminum and sodium, so they should not be taken with abandon.
Newer, more effective over-the-counter medication includes drugs like Zantaz and Prilosec.
H2 Blocking Acid Reflux Medication
H2 blocking acid reflux medication works by reducing the amount of acid that the stomach produces. These medications provide relief for longer periods of time than the relief generated by antacids, which neutralize acid already produced by the stomach.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
The most serious kind of acid reflux medication is the proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, family of drugs. These acid reflux medications prevent the stomach from producing acid. They should only be taken for a limited period of time, no more than eight weeks, because the production of stomach acid is a natural function of the human body and kills bacteria in the stomach.
Side Effects Of Acid Reflux Medication
All these medications are not without side effects. Some of these drugs are relatively new, so their long-term effects over decades have not been researched or assessed. The side effects of which medical science is now aware may include headache, dizziness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Treating Acid Reflux Disease
If acid reflux medication is not effective, some patients may resort to surgery to correct the closure of the LES. Before resorting to surgery, patients should try changes to their diet and habits. Avoiding certain foods, like chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and the like can help, as can wearing looser clothing and not eating three hours before bedtime.