Heartburn And Gerd: How To Treat Nausea And Stomachaches
If you ever feel a burning sensation rise from your stomach into your chest and throat after a meal, youre far from alone. More than 60 million Americans experience the discomfort of heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
We created this guide to better help you understand what heartburn is, and most importantly, how you can fix it. The good news is, there are plenty of effective treatment options available to help ease and prevent the burn and discomfort. Be it using over-the-counter or prescription medications, or making a few lifestyle changes, weve got you covered.
Taking Antacids With Food Alcohol And Other Medicines
It’s best to take antacids with food or soon after eating because this is when you’re most likely to get indigestion or heartburn.
The effect of the medicine may also last longer if taken with food.
Antacids can affect how well other medicines work, so do not take other medicines within 2 to 4 hours of taking an antacid.
You can drink alcohol while taking antacids, but alcohol can irritate your stomach and make your symptoms worse.
What Is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is quite a common and irritating medical condition. Also called heartburn, it occurs when stomach acid and other stomach contents back up into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter . It is estimated to affect up to 20% of Americans. Frequent acid reflux may be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease a more severe type of acid reflux that, if left untreated, may lead to serious health implications.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Proton Pump Inhibitors
Like H2 blockers, the common side effects of proton pump inhibitors are mild and include:
However, concerns have been raised about serious side effects from using PPIs long term. These concerns have led the FDA to issue several warnings about PPIs. Side effects that may be associated with long-term use include:
Risk of fractures
Hypomagnesemia low level of magnesium in the blood that can lead to convulsions, fatigue, and muscle weakness
Increased risk of Clostridium difficile bacteria infections
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Increased risk of dementia
Lupus-like syndrome that causes lesions on the skin
Importantly, most studies on these effects are observational and havent established a direct link between the medications and the effects. But nearly all the effects were seen in people who took these medications long term.
Be sure to work with your healthcare provider to figure out how long you should be on PPIs and whether the risks outweigh the benefits of taking them for more than a few weeks.
The Safest Acid Reflux Medication Over The Counter
Enjoying a big holiday dinner is always mouth-watering but the heartburn that gets associated with it makes whole thing painful! GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is quite common among many people out there. They mainly suffer from regurgitation and heartburn.
It is caused because the acidic content of your stomach flows back to your oesophagus. This backflow happens continuously, and it irritates the lining of the oesophagus, thus you have a feeling like burning.
When someone is suffering from such problem, they need to make simple changes in their lifestyle, but always it may not be possible. In that case you need to know about medication.
There are many and what you require for yourself is the safest acid reflux medication. Lets learn about them so that you may use one which is safest acid reflux medication for your health.
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How Much Do H2 Blockers Cost
H2 blockers are available in brand and generic versions. Generics tend to be cheaper than brands.
Generic appears to be more affordable than . The lowest GoodRx price for the most common version of generic famotidine is about $7, which is 59% off the average retail price of $17.08. The lowest GoodRx price for the most common version of cimetidine is around $17.80, which is 67% off the average retail price of $54.48.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like
Common symptoms of heartburn are described as a feeling of burning pain or discomfort that moves up from the chest toward the neck and throat. In some cases, people experience a bitter or sour taste in the back of their throats. Despite the name, it does not have anything to do with your heart. Rather its the sensation of acid irritating your tissues.
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A Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
Do you know your body mass index ? If not, start now by entering your weight and height into a BMI calculator to use the NIH calculator and find your current BMI.
A healthy BMI is between 19 and 25, but anyone with a compromised LES should not be at the high end of normal. We recommend a BMI of 24 or less. Why is this important? We wrote a cornerstone article titled How is your excess weight destroying your LES , which we highly recommend you read if you have a BMI greater than 24.
This excess weight does two things that will increase your GERD symptoms. First, it distends the stomach, pulling down on the LES and stretching it out. Over a long-term, this will reduce the effectiveness of the LES to act as an effective barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus.
Second, it puts added pressure on the diaphragm, potentially pushing stomach content into the esophagus. Many research studies have proven that a reduction in BMI will reduce GERD symptoms. In an NIH published paper researchers concluded the following:
In summary, our findings suggest that, beyond being overweight or obese, the risk of GERD symptoms rises progressively with increasing BMI, even among normal weight individuals. This appears true for all degrees of symptom severity and duration, as well as for nocturnal symptoms. Notably, weight loss was associated with a decreased risk of symptoms.
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Antacids For Quick Relief
H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors work better than antacids, but if you need something for very quick relief, antacids are an option. Antacids dont do anything to prevent GERD, but they can be used on demand for symptom relief. They are cheap and available over the counter.
Common antacids contain and/or magnesium , and provide relief of heartburn within 5 minutes. However, they only work temporarily for 30 to 60 minutes tops.
Side effects of antacids are mild and include constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. Dont overuse them: Some brands contain calcium, and too much calcium can lead to kidney stones.
If your symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks with an antacid, you may need a stronger medication.
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Best Heartburn & Acid Reflux Medications In 2021
Heartburn is a condition that 60 million Americans experience at least once per month. The main causes of heartburn include acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic form of acid reflux. The best medication for heartburn includes classes of heartburn medications: antacids, histamine-2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors .
To avoid these symptoms, you can take various kinds of medicationsâ from over-the-counter to prescription. To obtain access to some of these prescription forms of heartburn medication, consider signing up for Mira, an affordable alternative to health insurance that allows you to get up to 80% off on prescriptions.
Best For Silent Reflux: Gaia Herbs Over The Counter Medication For Heartburn
Gaia Herbs line of medication comes in a pretty wide variety of styles, so you can definitely find one that suits your individual preferences and needs. The gaia herb over thecounter medication forheartburn is great for immediate, it works great and it worked great. The manufacturer says: We are committed to using only non-gmo ingredients. And, the medication tastes good and it is designed for rapid relief.
The medication tastes wonderful, has reduced heartburn and it is highly recommend. Above all, the Gaia Herbs Over The Counter Medication For Heartburn includes 1 gaia herbs reflux relief, herbal indigestion tablets.
Most buyers quickly discovered that the medication is ideal for long term healthy digestion, since you need acid for proper digestion of foods. And, they strongly agree that the medication is great for quick-acting relief, brings down the heat and pressure right away, no side effects. Moreover, a few strongly agree that the medication is made with more natural ingredients. In short, at the price, they believe that they got a steal of a deal with it.
Top Customer Quotes:
- This is made with sodium bicarbonate and it works quickly.
- This is a very pleasant surprise. haha.
- These make prescription reflux medication for kids.
- Manufacturer says: our industry-leading validation process ensures authentic, safe ingredients and products.
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How Should I Take A Proton Pump Inhibitor
PPIs include , , , and . They are all now available with a prescription. You can also find them over the counter, with the exception of pantoprazole.
PPIs should be taken on an empty stomach about 30 minutes to 1 hour before you eat breakfast, once a day for 14 days unless otherwise directed by your doctor. It can take 1 to 4 days for full effect but some people get complete symptom relief within 24 hours.
If you need to take a PPI for more than 14 days, your doctor may have you continue taking it for 4 to 8 weeks. Youll want to let your doctor know if your reflux continues or worsens.
Acid Reflux And Proton Pump Inhibitors
What is acid reflux or GERD?
The stomach makes acid to help you digest food and remove bacteria. This is a natural process. In some people, the stomach makes too much acid, which can cause discomfort. When your stomach makes too much acid, you may have symptoms like:
- Burning in your chest
- Chest pains
These symptoms may mean you have acid reflux and heartburn, which can usually be relieved by antacids and no medical treatment. If symptoms become serious and happen more than once a week, it could mean you have gastroesophageal reflux disease . If thats the case, your healthcare provider may suggest changes to your diet and lifestyle.
What lifestyle and diet changes can I try?
For many people, simply changing your diet and lifestyle is enough to relieve symptoms. This may include:
- Removing foods from your diet that could trigger symptoms of heartburn and/or acid reflux. To name a few:
- Greasy and high fat foods
- Not eating 2-3 hours before bedtime
If diet and lifestyle changes are not enough, your healthcare provider may put you on a type of medicine called proton pump inhibitors .
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain laboratory tests before and during your treatment, especially if you have severe diarrhea.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking omeprazole.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. If you are taking prescription omeprazole, ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Types Of Otc Drugs Used For Heartburn And Their Mechanism Of Action
A number of medicines are available over the counter to treat heartburn. They are characterized based on their mode of action on the gut to reduce acid reflux.
They are usually safe to take but again might pose problems to some people with allergies or with any other medical condition.
The prescribed dose for each OTC drug is given on the label which should be followed strictly and the drugs should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Heartburn OTC drugs are usually grouped in 2 broad categories namely antacids and acid blockers. The acid blockers are again divided into two subtypes which are proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers .
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Which Medicines Can I Take
If lifestyle changes dont provide you with relief, you may want to consider taking a medicine to help with your heartburn. Its always important to check with your pharmacist or GP before taking any medicines during pregnancy.
Some types of antacids can be taken in pregnancy. These help neutralise excess acid, relieving symptoms. You can find antacids as chewable tablets or in liquid form. Check with your pharmacist which antacids are most suitable to be used in pregnancy.
If youre still getting symptoms, or youre vomiting frequently because of heartburn, its best to speak with your midwife or GP who will be able to offer you further advice.
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Follow A Low Carb Diet
Growing evidence suggests that low carb diets may relieve acid reflux symptoms.
In fact, some researchers suspect that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflux (
Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you experience heartburn, limiting your alcohol intake might help ease some of your discomfort.
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What To Do If Heartburn Is Severe Or Frequent
For mild, occasional heartburn, over-the-counter medications such as antacids and histamine blockers can help relieve symptoms. Always read the product label before taking an antacid or histamine blocker and never take a larger dose or take doses more frequently than directed.
If youre experiencing heartburn frequently, consult your doctor before taking heartburn medications regularly since these drugs can interfere with many other medications and affect underlying health conditions you may have.
If you have severe heartburn, as well as if it persists or worsens after taking steps to relieve it, consult your doctor. In some cases, heartburn can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , or possibly a side effect of a medication youre taking.
For Stronger Relief H2 Blockers
H2 blockers work by decreasing stomach acid and blocking histamine one of the bodys inflammatory agents from causing the stomach to produce acid. H2 blockers act more slowly compared to antacids and typically kick in within an hour of taking them. However, this also means they provide long-lasting symptom relief for up to 8 to 12 hours.
H2 blockers are available both over the counter and by prescription. They usually work better when taken 10 to 60 minutes before eating food or drinking beverages that cause reflux. If your symptoms still arent alleviated, you can take another dose within 24 hours.
Common H2 Blockers
- Muscle aches and abdominal pain
As with antacids, H2 blockers are only suitable for short-term use. Unless directed by a medical professional, its not advised to take the maximum daily dose for more than 2 weeks. Its also important to note that over time, the effectiveness of any H2 blocker will wear off due to the stomach adjusting to the medication.
If your acid reflux symptoms occur more than twice a week, or if the severity of your symptoms increases, you might have GERD a severe form of acid reflux. In this case, your doctor may increase your H2 blocker dosage or will suggest a proton pump inhibitor .
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How To Cure Heartburn Four Quick Fixes And Long
How to cure heartburn you ask? Well, theres no easy answer to that question.
If youve been struggling with acid reflux for any length of time, then you know there isnt a quick fix to this disease as a whole. GERD has many symptoms, one of which is heartburn. At the crux of this disease is the lower oesophageal sphincter . Located at the junction of the oesophagus and the stomach, the LES can weaken and no longer function as an effective barrier, allowing the acidic contents of the stomach to back-flow up into the oesophagus. When this happens, heartburn often follows. This weakening of the LES is progressive, so the more often you reflux, the more frequent the episodes become.
Learn more: GERD explained: The role of the LES
Medications can help relieve acid reflux symptoms by making the contents of the stomach less acidic however, they dont stop reflux from happening. Thats why managing GERD requires commitment and diligence: Watching what and how you eat and making lifestyle choices aimed at minimizing reflux can reduce your symptoms AND help stop the progression of the condition.
But sometimes, despite your best efforts to manage your GERD, heartburn strikes and you need relief . So though we cant provide a definite answer to how to cure heartburn? We can offer four quick fixes to help you cool the burn.
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Ease Off The Drugs Gradually
Quitting heartburn drugs can be difficult because you might get rebound symptoms. They cause your stomach to produce less acid, and stopping suddenly can cause it to overproduce acid. If youre taking a PPI or H2 blocker once a day, ask your doctor about cutting back, perhaps to every other day, and then every few days.
For more detailed information on drugs to treat heartburn, GERD and acid reflux, see our free Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Report on these medications.
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