What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
While Trying To Sleep
The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders note that 79% of individuals with GERD experience symptoms after bedtime.
As many as 75% of those with the condition say the symptoms have an effect on their sleep, and 40% claim the loss of sleep affects their ability to function when they get up.
While GERD influences sleep, sleep deprivation also has an impact on GERD. A lack of sleep can cause increased sensitivity to acid in the esophagus.
A person with acid reflux after bedtime may have more acute symptoms than a person experiencing it mainly during the day.
This combination of sleep disturbances and more severe symptoms means that experiencing acid reflux while trying to sleep can worsen the quality of life for people with the condition.
Preparing For Your Appointment
To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- What are your main symptoms? Report any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, or vomiting.
- How long have you had heartburn?
- Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated? How did you respond to that treatment?
- Have you had any signs of bleeding from your digestive system?
- Have you had any difficulty swallowing when you eat or drink?
- How much tobacco do you use? How much alcohol do you drink? How much caffeine do you drink?
- Has your weight increased or decreased more than 5 lb recently?
- Have there been any changes in your diet? Are you eating certain foods more often?
- Have there been changes in your daily schedule, such as when you eat and when you go to bed?
- Are you taking any nonprescription or prescription medicines? Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to your appointment.
- What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help? Be sure to include lifestyle changes you have made.
- What nonprescription medicines have you taken or used to treat your heartburn? Did they help?
- Do you have any health risks?
Remember to take your heartburn symptom record to your doctor visit. Be sure to note any lifestyle changes you have made or nonprescription medicines you use.
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How To Get Rid Of Heartburn
June 27, 2018 By Sara
Here you finish your meal, and there you get that burning pain in your chest. This is the dreadful feeling of heartburn truly justifying its name. You feel as if your heart is burning along with that very painful feeling just behind your breastbone. And if you think you can get some relief by lying down or bending over, you are just making it worse.
What To Do When The Pain Wont Stop
Even if youre doing well on PPIs, its a good idea to have a backup plan to cope with breakthrough symptoms.
About 73% of people with GERD taking prescription PPIs say theyre satisfied or very satisfied with the medication, according to a 2009 survey of 617 patients published in Current Medical Research and Opinion and funded by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Prevacid. Nevertheless, more than half56.7% of patients on once-a-day PPI therapy and 65.9% in the twice-a-day grouphad heartburn in the week before they took the survey.
Overall, 40% said they resorted to other medications for acid reflux, mostly over-the-counter antacids or histamine-2 blockers.
The most common reason that they were using the over-the-counter medicationis related to incomplete relief of their heartburn, explains lead author William D. Chey, MD, a professor of internal medicine and the director of the gastrointestinal physiology laboratory at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor.
Patients werent reaching for additional heartburn soothers on their own. It turns out that roughly 60% were advised by their doctors to take antacids or H2 blockers to help with residual reflux symptoms, he says.
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What Else Should I Know
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own
For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.
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Serious Side Effects Of Heartburn
Even if its not a heart attack, heartburn can be serious. Dangerous side effects and complications can result if you dont seek treatment. Some common side effects include:
- Awaking from sleep, especially if youve eaten within two hours of going to bed
- Esophageal cancer: if Barretts esophagus is not treated
- Esophagus erosion: scarring, ulcers and narrowing of the tube
- Barretts esophagus: precancerous condition from chronic acid reflux
- Esophageal strictures and dysphagia: swallowing difficulties due to esophagus damage
Diagnosing H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:
- a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
- a breath test
- a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria
Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.
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Asthma Associated With Gerd
Nearly half of the patients with asthma have been seen to be having some element of acid reflux from their stomach. Its a common observation that asthma worsens after large meals, when we expect more acid reflux due to increased chances of back flow.
How acid coming from the stomach leads to asthma symptoms can be explained in more than one ways. Firstly, the acid irritates a nerve lying close to the lower esophageal sphincter. This nerve supplies the muscles controlling breathing. On being irritated, it tightens the muscles, narrowing the breathing spaces.
So, the patient starts wheezing.
Secondly, the acid may directly irritate the inner linings of the breathing tubes. Inflammation occurs there. The tubes get swelled from inside and produce copious mucoid secretions. This narrows their lumen, giving wheezing.
Try Slippery Elm To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Slippery elm has been traditionally used by Native Americans for treating various conditions including wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, skin inflammation as well as coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach problems. The herb has mucilage, a component that converts into a slick gel when it is mixed with water. It gives slippery elm its demulcent property due to which it coats and soothes the area where it is directed. In case of heartburn, it coats the layer of mucous that lines your stomach and thus creates a barrier against acid that could not find its way up to your esophagus.
- Add the slippery elm powder to water or milk whatever you are comfortable with.
- Stir it well to mix the powder completely into the water.
- You may have it 1-3 times a day depending upon the severity of your heartburn.
- Have this herbal drink after your meals and at bedtime.
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Heartburn Or Heart Attack
Symptoms of severe heartburn and those of a heart attack can often overlap, but you can usually tell you have heartburn if you experience a burning sensation in your upper abdomen and chest, accompanied by a sour taste in your mouth. The most common and similar symptom of heartburn and a heart attack is the chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms that may be a more likely indication of heart attack are listed below:
- Cold sweat
- Sudden lightheadedness
- Pressure or pain in your chest, arms, neck, jaw or back
With heartburn, you may feel like food is coming up into your mouth. Its a different sensation than vomiting, but severe heartburn can also cause you to vomit. If youre not sure if youre experiencing heartburn or a heart attack, seek immediate medical care.
How Is Heartburn Treated
In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.
Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.
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How Is Indigestion Diagnosed
Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may order tests to determine the cause of indigestion. Those tests can include blood work, urine/stool tests, or an X-ray or ultrasound. Sometimes your doctor may perform an upper endoscopy to see inside your stomach. Your doctor will insert a thin tube with a camera on the end into your esophagus. This will be done after youre given medicines to go to sleep.
What Should You Know About Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .
Do most people get heartburn?
Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.
What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?
How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
How can you get rid of heartburn?
Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,
- eat a healthy diet,
- sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
- Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.
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Is Gerd Dangerous Or Life
GERD isnt life-threatening or dangerous in itself. But long-term GERD can lead to more serious health problems:
- Esophagitis: Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the stomach acid causes in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in your esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and trouble swallowing.
- Barrett’s esophagus: Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that develops in some people who have long-term GERD. The damage acid reflux can cause over years can change the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.
- Esophageal cancer: Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two major types. Adenocarcinoma usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. This type can develop from Barretts esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
- Strictures: Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, causing narrowing of the esophagus. These strictures can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach.
Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.
Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
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How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
When To See A Doctor
If heartburn becomes chronic, it can lead to respiratory problems, inflammation, and narrowing of the esophagus.
If you have symptoms that include the following, you should contact your doctor.
- The heartburn wont go away.
- You have serious wheezing.
- The symptoms of heartburn are more frequent and severe.
- You have consistent hoarseness.
- There is unexpected weight loss.
- You have been taking over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks, and you still have heartburn symptoms.
- Vomiting occurs because of heartburn.
- Prescription medicine doesnt relieve heartburn.
It is important to keep in contact with your doctor about your symptoms and progress. They can help you with any questions and concerns related to your specific condition.
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How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
Symptoms Of Gerd And Palpitations
The link between heartburn and GERD is well known, but can GERD actually affect the workings of your heart? As opposed to an actual stinging pain, heart palpitations involve a speeding up in the beating of the heart, often accompanied by irregular beating patterns.
Its quite unlikely that any palpitations youre experiencing are the direct result of GERD.
However, what may be happening is that a certain food youre eating or substance youre taking is setting off both your palpitations and GERD symptoms at the same time , giving the impression that one is causing the other.
For example, drinking caffeine can be linked to both heart palpitations and symptoms of GERD.
Another approach has suggested that heart palpitations and GERD symptoms may be experienced together because the feelings of anxiety that can come with GERD pain can set off heart problems.
In any case, heart palpitations are certainly a good reason to contact your doctor for a check-up, but they are probably not a direct physical symptom of GERD and are most likely an indication of another health problem.
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Causes Of Antibiotic Pill
Numerous issues can lead to esophagitis through extended contact with antibiotic pills.2
The causticity of antibiotic pills can cause injury if pills remain in contact with the lining of the esophagus.
Poor posture can cause pills to get stuck in the esophagus.
Conditions or medication that lead to decreased amounts of saliva causing dry mouth can cause pills to get stuck in the esophagus when swallowed.
Number of Pills Swallowed
Taking a number of pills at the same time can cause them to get stuck in the esophagus.
Antibiotic Pill Size
Larger antibiotic pills can potentially get stuck when swallowing.
Lack of Water
Not drinking enough water when swallowing pills can cause them to get stuck in the esophagus.
Esophageal Motility Disorder
Esophageal motility disorders make swallowing both solids and liquids difficult.
Repeated exposure to refluxed acid in patients with GERD can form a ring of scar tissue called an esophageal stricture. Esophageal strictures make swallowing difficult allowing the prolonged contact of antibiotic pills with the lining of the esophagus.
Cardiomegaly is the enlargement of the heart. When the left atrium is enlarged, it can compress the esophagus causing swallowing issues.
The muscles weaken with age. This includes the muscle in the esophagus and LES. The weakening of these muscles can make swallowing pills more difficult and lend to the reflux of medication.