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Acid Reflux Treatment
Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acids back up into the esophagus. Some acid reflux can be a regular occurrence and is part of normal digestion, but when it frequently occurs (twice a week or more), it can lead to more serious conditions.
People often experience heartburn as a consequence of acid reflux. It can be managed by avoiding triggering foods such as fatty foods and spicy foods. Bloating, stomach pain, regurgitation, burping, and nausea are also symptoms of acid reflux. Symptoms are also aggravated by lying down or having a big meal. Smoking also aggravates the condition. During pregnancy, acid reflux may occur more often and even may occur in women who have never had the condition before.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) describes these options for Anaheim acid reflux treatment:
Three main types of medicines to treat acid reflux are antacids, H2RAs (histamine type 2 receptor antagonists), and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors).
- Antacids are fast-working treatments for acid reflux
- They work by weakening stomach acids so that they cause less irritation than might have occurred
- Antacids are for mild acid reflux symptoms and are available over the counter
- Brand names of antacids you may know are Mylanta®, Rolaids® and Tums®
- Histamine type 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) come in the form of pills
- They work by lessening the amount of acid your stomach produces thereby decreasing the incidence of heartburn
- Prescription and over the counter options are available and include Pepcid AC®, Zantac® and Tagamet®
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) come in pill form
- They prevent heartburn because they cause the stomach to produce less acid
- PPIs are available both over the counter and by prescription
- Brand names you may know are Prilosec® and Nexium®
USDHHS reports that the esophagus heals better with PPIs than H2RAs. Also, taking a small amount of a PPI may work as well as a larger dose in some cases while taking a PPI every day seems to be more effective than taking the medication only when symptoms appear.
- Surgery can be an option for some people who need acid reflux treatment.
- Fundoplication is the name of the surgery that strengthens the barrier that comes between the esophagus and stomach.
- The muscle that keeps food and acid from reentering the esophagus is made stronger by surgically wrapping and attaching a portion of the top part of the stomach around the bottom of the esophagus.
- A doctor will know if this surgery is indicated for your acid reflux condition.
- Endoscopic treatments are new procedures that may aid in the treatment of acid reflux.
- An endoscope is inserted through the mouth and down the esophagus to administer treatment to the affected area.
- As these procedures are relatively new, not enough research has been done as to the efficacy of endoscopy. Your doctor will know if this procedure is right for you.
A change in lifestyle may be indicated to help treat acid reflux conditions. Among these, keeping a healthy weight, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding certain foods (spicy foods, fatty, foods, chocolate, mints, tomatoes, citrus, and coffee) and not eating for three hours before lying down can aid in the reduction of acid reflux symptoms. Many doctors recommend that people with acid reflux elevate the head of their bed or sleep on a foam wedge to help alleviate the discomfort of acid reflux.