Treating Heartburn And Gerd
Heartburn is a feeling of burning pain in your lower chest, behind the breastbone. It comes from acid backing up from your stomach to your throat. You may have seen ads for heartburn drugs, such as Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid. These drugs are called PPIs . They keep the stomach from making too much acid. They have been shown to heal irritation of the tube between the throat and the stomach .
In most cases, you dont need a PPI for heartburn. You can get relief from a less powerful drug. And when you do need a PPI, you should take the lowest dose for as short a time as possible. Heres why:
Heres What Other Mamas Have To Say About Relieving Heartburn During Pregnancy Naturally
I asked the moms on my Facebook page about their go-to natural remedies for pregnancy heartburn, and here is a sample of their responses.
- Apple cider vinegar, pickle juice, digestive enzymes! Katie Keepman
- An apple in the morning and right before bed. Elsa Silva
- It may sound weird, but I would either drink a little pickle juice, or eat a spoonful of peanut butter and within about 5-10 minutes was gone. Jessica Fields
- Baking soda in a little bit of water helped! Was it gross? A little, but still more enjoyable than heartburn! Erin M. Strand
- Maybe not the healthiest, but I always had ginger snaps next to my bed. I ate one or two at night for the heartburn and another one or two in the morning for the nausea. Sarah Gilroy
- I didnt treat my heartburn with any natural remedies, but did learn that bad heartburn can often present itself as nausea/morning sickness! Women who experiences bad nausea/MS should consider your remedies as well! Renee Jillian
- So far, wearing hazelwood helps some. Not perfect, but helps a little. Susan Miller
- I had heard to eat a few green olives. So when a pregnant friend was needing relief, I suggested her to try itand it works!!! Shawna Beaubien
- Liquid slippery elm works instantly! Ashly Burke-Goike
Talk To Your Doctor About Acid Reducing Drugs
The bottom line in picking medicine for persistent heartburn is that no class of drugs should be taken regularly for long periods of time. If your heartburn has persisted past a couple of weeks, and if it is more frequent than two days a week, you should consult with your doctor to get a better idea of what might be going on and what you can do to treat it.
It is especially important to talk to your healthcare provider if you were taking Zantac. This ranitidine-based drug has been pulled from the market by the FDA over the presence of potential cancer-causing agents. If you had been relying on Zantac and now need to search for a new drug to help control your heartburn, seeking medical advice from a qualified gastroenterologist is strongly recommended.
Though it could be tempting to keep taking antacids or other over-the-counter drugs just to manage your symptoms, this is not a good long-term strategy. GERD and other conditions like it can be the result of serious issues in your gastrointestinal tract, and finding the right diagnosis can be crucial. Not only could identifying proper diagnosis and treatment bring lasting relief, but it might save you from more serious issues such as cancer.
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Antibiotics Heartburn Caused By Esophageal Irritation
Antibiotics are one of many caustic pills that cause esophagitis. The more caustic the antibiotic greater the risk of irritation.
What is esophagitis? Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Common causes of esophagitis are acid reflux, medications, and infections affecting the esophagus. The irritation caused by esophagitis can be painful and make swallowing difficult.
Esophagitis is commonly caused by antibiotics accounting for close to half of all reported cases of pill-induced esophagitis. Doxycycline, tetracycline, and clindamycin are a few of many that make up a long list of antibiotics that cause esophagitis.
Heartburn Relief: Simple Remedies To Put Out The Fire
- The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
- Pay attention to the foods that trigger heartburn for you and eliminate them from your diet.
Heartburn occurs when the muscular valve between your stomach and esophagus loosens or doesnt completely close, allowing stomach acid to escape into your esophagus. You may be very familiar with the symptoms of heartburn that burning sensation just below your breast bone, that can rise up into your chest. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
If you experience occasional heartburn, there are simple things you can do to identify the cause, and ways to prevent the burn.
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Daily Habits To Stop Heartburn:
- Stop Smoking: Everyone understands that smoking damages your heart and lungs. However, what about your digestive system? Yep, that also. Nicotine, like booze, may worsen GERD symptoms by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which induces stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
- Head up, Sleep Better: Exactly what does sleep have to do with heartburn? More than you may think. Avoid eating before bedtime and elevate your face 6 to 8 inches while you sleep. This place does not always reduce the frequency of acid reflux, but research demonstrates it helps gut acid drain from the esophagus more immediately. One study reported a 67% increase in acid clearance time.
- Do Not Wear Tight Clothing: Much like extra belly fat, clothing that is a tight fit across the midsection can shove against your tummy and force acid into the esophagus. Sure, those trousers seem adorable, but could it be worth every penny? For those who have heartburn, jump belts, waistbands, hosiery, and undergarments which will be overly tight.
- Lose Weight: Specialists are not precisely certain why. Excessive abdominal fat may put pressure on the belly, but it could likewise cause chemical or hormonal changes which make the body more prone to acid reflux.
- Frequent Smaller Meals: Eat several small meals through the day as opposed to the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Heartburn Relief With Over The Counter Medicine
When it comes to heartburn relief, antacids are the most popular and least expensive choice. These products neutralize the acid in your stomach to help with a sour stomach, indigestion, and other unpleasant feelings that are associated with heartburn. Some antacids also contain an ingredient to help rid the body of excess gas. Be aware that certain products may also contain ingredients that could cause diarrhea, like magnesium. Others could contain aluminum which can cause constipation. Antacids typically come in the form of a tablet or liquid. Take them according to the directions on the package and chew tablets thoroughly before swallowing to get faster relief.
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Take An Acid Neutralizer
When heartburn hits and you need relief, try an antacid like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox. These medications act quickly to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which can reduce your symptoms. Dont have any on hand? Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water and drink to neutralize the acid in your stomach. Just use caution with this home remedy since its high in sodium and shouldnt be used by people on a sodium-restricted diet.
We also like H-2 blockers, also known as Histamine H2-receptor antagonists. These include such brand names a Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Tagamet, and Zantac. These medications dont work as quickly as acid neutralizers, but they are still very fast. H2 blockers should be taken about 30 minutes before you eat or when you typically experience symptoms.
The benefit of H2 blockers is that they work longer than antacids, but they dont have the same medical risks associated with proton pump inhibitors. As is true with all medications we highly recommend that you discuss use with your doctor before you begin any drug treatment, prescription or over-the-counter.
And remember that while these quick fixes may help relieve your GERD symptoms, they dont address the underlying cause of those symptoms. Your goal should be to stop reflux from happening in the first place, which is why we recommend several long-term solutions to cure heartburn.
Eat Smaller Meals Slower And More Often
If youre eating three square meals a day and have heartburn, you might want to mix things up. Too much food at too few sittings may be contributing to your discomfort. Instead, eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day, chewing slowly and thoroughly to maximize digestion. When the stomach is too full or the food is too fatty, the esophageal valve opens and food and acid move from the stomach back up toward your throat, leading to heartburn, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Meals that are more than 500 calories cause more reflux than lower-calorie meals, says Dr. Gabbard, and foods that contain more than 10 to 15 grams of fat tend to increase the amount of heartburn.
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What About Coffee For Heartburn
Get ready for some bad news: For many people, a morning cup of coffee is a strong heartburn trigger. While theres no hard medical research that coffee causes heartburn, theres enough anecdotal evidence that its best to steer clear if you cant identify the source of your discomfort. Or cut it out for a day or two to see how your body reacts. If eliminating coffee eases your symptoms, caffeine may be a trigger. Try decaf instead or one of these caffeine alternatives.
Side Effects From Misuse
Many of the side effects of antacids come from not taking them as directed.
Many antacids including Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums contain calcium. If you take too much or take them for longer than directed, you could get an overdose of calcium. Too much calcium can cause:
Excess calcium can also lead to alkalosis. In this condition, your body doesnt make enough acid to function properly.
If you feel like you need to use a lot of an antacid for relief, that might be a sign of another condition. If youve taken an antacid according to the directions and havent gotten relief, talk to your doctor.
Antacids can interfere with the function of other drugs. If you take other medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using antacids.
Some antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, contain aspirin. The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert about this type of antacid in June 2016. This alert was issued because of reports of serious bleeding related to aspirin-containing antacids.
If you take another medication that increases your risk of bleeding, such as an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug, you shouldnt take these antacids.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking aspirin-containing antacids if you:
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Treat Antibiotics Heartburn Caused By Loss Of Good Bacteria With Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that need to be ingested to rebalance gut bacteria after discontinuation of antibiotics. The reintroduction of these good bacteria will improve digestive function and reduce acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.
The use of probiotics during antibiotic treatment may help restore stomach acid and alleviate gas, bloating, and belching even though antibiotics will continue to kill these good bacteria.
Probiotics rebalance digestive function after antibiotic use and thus reduce the instance of heartburn by:
- Preventing the overgrowth of bad bacteria which produce gas leading to bloating and belching.
- Preventing constipation by eliminating bad bacteria that cause slow, inefficient digestion.
- Promoting optimal stomach acid levels. Stomach acid helps the LES close properly, kills harmful bacteria, improves absorption of nutrients, and reduces the instance of constipation.
- Improving food and nutrient absorption by helping break down food for easier digestion thus reducing the possibility of constipation. Improved nutrient absorption also provides the digestive system needed nutrients for proper function.
- Maintaining muscle activity which moves material through the digestive tract.
- Preventing leaky gut and helping with antibody production which boosts the immune system. A healthy immune system also helps protect against bad bacteria overgrowth.
How to Treat Antibiotics Heartburn from the Loss of Good Bacteria with Probiotics
Good Bacteria Must Be Fed
When To Get Medical Help
See your midwife or GP if you need help managing your symptoms or if changes to your diet and lifestyle do not work. They may recommend medicine to ease your symptoms.
You should also see your midwife or GP if you have any of the following:
- difficulty eating or keeping food down
- weight loss
- stomach pains
Your midwife or GP may ask about your symptoms and examine you by pressing gently on different areas of your chest and stomach to see whether it’s painful.
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So Which Works Best For Heartburn
All of these over-the-counter medicines, to a varying degree, can relieve the symptoms of heartburn. If you have more severe heartburn symptoms that these medications don’t relieve, or if you’ve been using these medicines for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor. You may need a stronger prescription medicine and tests to see what’s causing your symptoms.
Check For Other Diseases
Self-medicating with over-the-counter heartburn drugs can mask underlying health problems. Frequent burning or pain in the upper abdomen or chest can signal an ulcer or even esophageal cancer. Some people mistake pain from gallstones or heart disease for heartburn. So before starting any heartburn drug, see a doctor to rule out other health issues.
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Ginger Can Help Heartburn
If your mother gave you flat ginger ale when you had an upset stomach as a kid, it may have seemed like a treat but there was a good reason behind it. Ginger has long been known to help calm stomach troubles, including stomach bloating and acid reflux. Carbonation and added sugar aggravate the stomach though, so youre better off drinking ginger tea.
Change Your Eating And Drinking Habits
You may be able to control your indigestion with changes to your eating habits.
It can help to eat small meals often, rather than larger meals 3 times a day, and to not eat within 3 hours of going to bed at night.
Cutting down on drinks containing caffeine, and foods that are rich, spicy or fatty, can also ease symptoms.
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Why Do These Natural Methods Work
The natural methods presented here are, in my opinion, actually better for you than PPIs, H2 blockers, or Antacids because most of them actually support your body in working properly. The unnatural options above actually stop your body from doing its job and contribute to ill health.
What do I mean? Well, acid reflux typically happens after eating right? Sometimes it happens right away or hours later when you lay down to sleep.
Most people think it has to do with too much acid but turns out thats a lie weve all been sold for a LONG time and its the same lie that keeps us stuck on drugs to keep the symptoms at bay.
Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
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Path To Improved Health
To find out which medicine is right for you, talk to your family doctor. He or she can tell you about the benefits and risks. Antacids and acid reducers rarely cause side effects. If they do, the side effects usually are minor and go away on their own. These may include headaches, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor before taking antacids if you have kidney disease. You should avoid any antacid that contains calcium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate unless your doctor recommends it.
Talk to your doctor before taking a proton pump inhibitor if:
- You are elderly or have immune system problems. PPIs can increase your risk for pneumonia.
- You are a postmenopausal woman. PPIs reduce calcium absorption and increase your risk for osteoporosis.
- You have been treated for a Clostridium difficile infection in the past. PPIs may increase the risk that your infection returns.
If you are over the age of 55 and require long-term PPI treatment, your doctor may refer you for an EGD . This procedure examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. If you have significant reflux, your doctor also may test you for the bacteria H. pylori prior to trying you on PPIs.
Avoid Food And Drink Triggers
Some heartburn triggers are common while others will vary for each individual.
- Drinking alcohol before, during, or after meals can worsen heartburn because alcohol weakens the LES muscle. In addition, drinking alcohol can result in eating more than you intended and making poorer food choices.
- Avoid foods and beverages that weaken the LES muscle. These foods include chocolate, peppermint, caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, alcohol, fatty foods, and greasy or fried foods.
- Avoid foods and beverages that may irritate the esophagus. These include citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato-based products, chili peppers, and black pepper.
- Create a heartburn-friendly diet by keeping a food diary to record which foods are safer for you and which are more likely to trigger heartburn. You may be able to enjoy some foods occasionally or in smaller amounts, while you will find others need to be avoided most of the time.
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