When To Call Your Doctor
If the heartburn is so severe that its interfering with your daily activities, or if you are unable to eat or keep food down because of heartburn, then its time to call your doctor. There are a few prescription medications that are classified as Class B or safe for pregnancy that your doctor may prescribe for you.
These medicines include Zantac and Tagamet. Your doctor can also check for possible other causes of your heartburn, which can include gallstones. While rare, its important to get checked out, just to be on the safe side.
Also Check: Have Heartburn All The Time
Final Thoughts On Heartburn
About 15 million Americans who are dealing with heartburn daily experiencing the discomfort of burning in your chest or throat and indigestion. Conventional doctors regularly prescribe PPI heartburn medications for heartburn, however, taking heartburn medications long-term doesnt solve heartburn and may lead to serious health issues.
Instead of relying on heartburn medications as a long-term remedy, follow my natural support strategies to improve your stomach acid levels and optimize your digestive health.
If you want to work with a functional health coach, I recommend this article with tips on how to find a great coach. At my clinic, we offer long-distance functional health coaching programs. For further support with your digestive health and other health goals, just reach out and our fantastic coaches are here to support your journey.
Infections Are Clearest Risk
The clearest exception may be infections, which have been consistently linked to PPIs in several large, observational studies over the years.
One three-year study, published in May 2019 in the journal Gastroenterology, randomly assigned more than 17,000 patients to take a PPI or placebo in combination with blood-thinners, and found PPI users were 33 percent more likely to develop enteric infections. These infections develop in the small intestine and are caused by a type of bacteria known as campylobacter. Enteric infections are a leading cause of diarrhea.
More than 900 people would need to take PPIs for over a year for one patient to develop an enteric infection that wouldnt have otherwise occurred, says Paul Moayyedi, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant dean of research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Patients on PPIs in this study were also more than twice as likely to develop Clostridium difficile infections, but there were only 13 cases and this made it impossible to rule out the possibility that the connection might be due to chance.
Of all the potential safety concerns with PPIs, the risk of infections is one that doctors most consistently say changes how they prescribe the drugs.
You May Like: How Can I Cure My Heartburn
Famotidine: Most Effective Heartburn Medication
If youâre in search of a strong relief from heartburn that is relatively cost-effective, Famotidine may be the right option for you. Pepcid is an H2 blocker that works by lowering the levels of acid produced in the stomach. Through this, Pepcid is not only effective in relieving heartburn but also in treating acid reflux.
Pepcid is a viable option in treating heartburn, as it is relatively fast-acting and long-lasting. On average, after taking Pepcid, individuals report noticing relief of heartburn within an hour, and typically, the effects of famotidine last for 10 to 12 hours after an initial dose. Pepcid is also a medication that can be purchased OTC or as a prescription. This unique flexibility of Pepcid allows it to be relatively accessible for all patients while also being capable of coming in higher doses for those who need more intense care. For an OTC pack of Pepcid, the average cost is typically under $10.
Famotidine is best taken with a glass of water. Additionally, it can be taken with or without food. The most common side effects of famotidine include a headache or gastrointestinal pain .
Absolute Risk For Serious Side Effects Is Low
For many other serious side effects associated with PPIs, the absolute risk is low and the evidence isnt definitive, says Dhyanesh Patel, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Center for Swallowing and Esophageal Disorders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
One study examining the link between PPIs and kidney disease found the drugs associated with up to a 0.3 percent greater risk of kidney disease per patient for each year on the drugs.
Another study found the medicines associated with up to a 1.5 percent greater risk of dementia per elderly patient per year.
And, each year on PPIs was associated with up to a 0.5 percent higher risk of hip fractures for older adults taking the drugs in a different observational study.
These links and connections to several other side effects arent strong enough at this point for patients to steer clear of PPIs just because they have other risk factors, several doctors said.
Elderly patients, for example, might be more prone to side effects associated with PPIs because of multiple chronic health problems that are unrelated to the PPIs and might be tied to their use of other medication, Dr. Patel says.
PPI therapy might be entirely appropriate, but yet may be blamed for any subsequent adverse event, Patel says.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Get Rid Of Heartburn Instantly
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Prescription omeprazole is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease , a condition in which backward flow of acid from the stomach causes heartburn and possible injury of the esophagus in adults and children 1 year of age and older. Prescription omeprazole is used to treat damage from GERD in adults and children 1 month of age and older. Prescription omeprazole is used to allow the esophagus to heal and prevent further damage to the esophagus in adults and children 1 year of age and older with GERD. Prescription omeprazole is also used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in adults. Prescription omeprazole is also used to treat ulcers and it is also used with other medications to treat and prevent the return of ulcers caused by a certain type of bacteria in adults. Nonprescription omeprazole is used to treat frequent heartburn in adults. Omeprazole is in a class of medications called proton-pump inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of acid made in the stomach.
What Is Heartburn And How Can Ppis Help
Heartburn happens to lots of us when we have an especially spicy, fatty, or heavy meal. It develops when stomach acid flows up into the esophagus, or food pipe, causing a burning sensation in the chest, often accompanied by a bitter or sour taste in the mouth and throat. Symptoms are especially common among the elderly, pregnant women, smokers, and people who are overweight or obese.
More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million people suffer daily symptoms, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
Sometimes heartburn eases with lifestyle changes, like eating smaller meals and eating more slowly. Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can also help.
Thats where PPIs come in. Sold under brand names like Prilosec and Nexium , PPIs work by curbing production of stomach acid. Doctors prescribe these drugs to treat GERD, a condition that develops when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. PPIs also treat Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that can cause ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. And, the drugs can also halt the production of stomach acid that causes ulcers with long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like aspirin and ibuprofen .
You May Like: 9 Medications That Can Cause Heartburn
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:
Acid Reducers For Heartburn
There are two types of drugs that cut down on the production of acid in the stomach: histamine antagonists and proton pump inhibitors .
Examples of H2 blockers available over the counter include:
Note: The H2 blocker ranitidine, which was in older Zantac products, was removed from the market in 2020 after it was found to contain a cancer-causing agent.
The proton-pump inhibitors esomeprazole , lansoprazole , and omeprazole are sold over-the-counter to treat frequent heartburn for 14 days. These types of medicines are also available as higher-strength prescriptions. Take them according to the directions on the package or as advised by your doctor.
If these medications don’t relieve your symptoms, or if your heartburn symptoms get worse or last for longer than 2 weeks, you should see your doctor.
You May Like: What Can I Take For Heartburn
Opt For A Glass Of Cold Milk
There is nothing better for heartburn during pregnancy than a glass of milk. This is the number one medication prescribed by doctors because it is effective, healthy, and natural. You will likely already have it in the house.
You dont even need to have cows milk. Even soya and almond milk will do the trick. What you want is something thats cold and neutral against the acidic levels in your stomach and esophagus. While balancing the acid, you will get more calcium in your diet to support your growing baby.
Do watch out for the amount of milk you drink. It does have natural sugars and some fats, so you dont want to replace every drink you have with it. Just one glass should be enough for immediate relief. The downside is that it doesnt offer the long-term effects.
Dont add chocolate to your milk to make it taste better. Chocolate is one of the worst offenders for causing heartburn during pregnancy.
How To Use Pepcid Complete
Do not take more than 2 tablets within 24 hours. Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This product contains an antacid which may react with other medications, preventing them from being fully absorbed by your body. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to schedule your medications to prevent this problem.
Stop taking this medication and call your doctor promptly if your symptoms continue after you begin taking it, or if they do not improve after you have been taking this medication for 14 days in a row. Do not take this medicine for more than 14 days in a row without talking with your doctor.
Read Also: Is Green Tea Good For Heartburn
The Problem With Long
While the short-term side-effects of PPIs are pretty minimal, there is a dark side to these drugs. The long-term impact shouldnt be dismissed.
Many doctors and researchers alike admit that decreasing acid production of the stomach over the long-term isnt the ideal way to deal to treat acid reflux. Why? Because your body needs acid. The acid in your gut has some vital responsibilities.
Your body needs acid to break the protein bonds to use the vitamins and minerals in food. Your body needs acid to kill the bad bacteria in your stomach. When you disrupt this delicate mechanism, problems arise.
Bacterial pneumonia is more likely in those taking PPIs long-term. Bacteria proliferates in a less-acidic environment. When aspiration occurs, this can cause bacteria to be carried to the lungs and cause pneumonia.
The bacteria Clostridium difficile , which cause life-threatening diarrhea and colitis, occurs more frequently in those taking PPIs. People get infected with c. diff by swallowing it. Usually the acidity of the stomach ensures the bacteria doesnt take hold, but when acidity level of your stomach is decreased youre at a greater risk of getting sick with c. diff.
There areseveral vitamins and minerals individuals are susceptible to becoming deficient in with the long-term use of PPIs. Body needs stomach acid to uncouple vitamins from the protein in food.
What Is Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn is a common issue for pregnant women which involves acidic stomach contents being regurgitated back up the individuals oesophagus, which can cause burning in the throat and chest. Symptoms are often worse immediately after eating or while lying down.
The reasons for the increase in heartburn in pregnancy are complicated and not completely understood, with multiple factors potentially at play:
You May Like: Can Salt Give You Heartburn
Read Also: What Foods Help Prevent Heartburn
Ppis Can Change The Way Other Drugs Work
PPIs interact with some common prescription drugs. For example, some PPIs can reduce the blood-thinning effect of the drug Plavix , according to the US Food and Drug Administration. This can increase the risk of heart attack and even death. If you take Plavix, talk to your doctor about whether you should take a PPI.
Drink Some Lukewarm Ginger Tea
Hot tea is going to make your heartburn worse. One of the most popular herbal remedies for heartburn is lukewarm ginger tea. The ginger will help to settle the acid and re-balance the body, while the lukewarm water helps to counter against the heat of the heartburn. Get some GingerTea from here best for pregnancy.
Youll also find that the ginger tea balances an upset stomach. Its perfect throughout pregnancy, but do avoid drinking too much. There are concerns that too much can cause a miscarriage, but there are still studies looking into this.
Also Check: What To Take For Heartburn Home Remedy
When To See The Doctor
Let your doctor know how the OTC medicines work for you. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, the doctor may suggest a prescription medicine. If possible, try not to take PPIs long-term. These can increase your risk of certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, kidney disease, and dementia.
Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms. They may be signs of a more serious problem.
- Bloody or black stools.
- Heartburn that has not improved after 2 weeks of treatment with OTC medicines.
- Trouble swallowing or pain when you swallow.
- Unplanned weight loss.
If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain in your arms, you may be having a heart attack. Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.
There Are Two Types Of Surgery: Total Fundoplication And Partial Fundoplication
What does the research say about surgery?
- Fundoplication surgery works as well as only taking medicine to keep you from getting acid reflux and heartburn. However, you may still need medicine after surgery to control your symptoms.
- There are different ways to do the surgery , but they all work about the same.
What are the side effects?
- Fundoplication surgery can cause you to feel bloated and make it hard to swallow. These side effects may last for 30 days or longer, and some side effects may require a second surgery to fix.
- Serious side effects, such as infection and heart attack, may be more common with surgery than with medicine. These side effects are rare.
Recommended Reading: Natural Ways To Rid Heartburn
How Is Gerd Treated
You may need to make changes to your lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, or not eating foods that make GERD worse.
Treatment options for GERD may be different for each person.
- Endoscopic treatments for GERD are newer and are still being studied, so less is known about how well they work or how safe they are.
In the next few pages, you can find more information about these types of treatment.
What Can Trigger Heartburn
Certain foods and beverages can trigger heartburn in individuals. These include but are not limited to spicy foods, onions, citrus products, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, and fried foods. Additionally, individuals who are pregnant or overweight may also have a higher risk of experiencing heartburn.
Also Check: Foods That Cause Heartburn And Gas
Lifestyle And Home Remedies To Treat Gerd
Lose weight. When excess abdominal weight presses on the stomach, it can cause acid to rise up into the esophagus. If you’re overweight, your doctor may recommend that you lose excess pounds through diet and exercise.
Wear loose-fitting clothing. This can reduce pressure on your abdomen.
Avoid certain foods. Foods and ingredients that may cause heartburn include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, fried foods, garlic, mint, citrus fruits, onions, tomatoes, and tomato-based sauces.
Change the way you eat. Try eating smaller meals more often, eat slowly, and chew your food thoroughly.
Dont lie down right after eating. Wait two to three hours after eating before you lie down. Lying down with a full stomach puts increased pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter the ring of muscle that separates your stomach from your esophagus.
Raise the head of your bed. Try to make the head of your bed six to nine inches higher than the foot of your bed. You can do this by placing wood or cement blocks underneath the legs of your bed, or by putting a foam wedge under the upper half of your mattress. This kind of incline reduces pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter and makes it harder for your stomachs contents to enter your esophagus.
Quit smoking. Smoking makes it harder for your lower esophageal sphincter to function properly. Chewing gum or oral lozenges can increase saliva production, which may help clear stomach acid that has entered the esophagus.