Millions of people have acid reflux (known as heartburn or GERD) symptoms.
Data shows that almost 20% of the United States’ population suffers from heartburn– at least once a week.
Before I explain how to get rid of acid reflux and heartburn, let’s talk about the symptoms.
Acid reflux symptoms
Many people refer to acid indigestion as heartburn.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the stomach and behind the chest area. And taking acid-lowering medication could help to manage heartburn symptoms.
Acid-lowering medications suppress acid production and consequently reduce the unwanted heartburn symptoms.
Have you ever had any heartburn? Do you remember experiencing a sour or bitter taste in your throat or mouth?
How to get rid of acid reflux and heartburn
Things to avoid
2) Large meals
3) Eating too late at night
8 foods and beverages you should avoid or at least limit
1) Citrus fruits
4) Carbonated drinks
5) Fatty foods
One more thing
Did you know that exercising and bending forward could worsen the heartburn symptoms?
Indeed, exercise and bending forward increase the pressure inside the stomach. Furthermore, this pressure could flow up the stomach acid into your esophagus.
Medications that could worsen your heartburn
1) Aspirin and all other NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Exedrine, Aleve)
2) Anticholinergic drugs: These drugs suppress the action of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Most prescribed anticholinergic drugs are as follows,
- Meclizine (Antivert)
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan)
Following are few medications with mild anticholinergic effects,
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
3) Nitrates (used in a patient with chest pain)
4) Calcium channel blockers (e.g. verapamil), this group of medication treats high blood pressure and/or fast or irregular heart rate.
Remedies for acid reflux symptoms
Certainly, the primary management of heartburn is to find the causes of acid reflux.
Frequently, how and what you eat cause or worsen acid reflux. Other contributing factors are smoking, alcohol and often, stress.
Furthermore, eating a smaller amount of foods, chewing well and avoiding food intake at least four hours before bedtime could help managing acid reflux symptoms.
On the other hand, elevating the back of the bed when lying down can reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
and learn more.
Medications that are used to treat acid reflux symptoms
There are three common anti-acid medications,
1) Anti-histamines or histamine 2 blockers (e.g. ranitidine, famotidine, cimetidine)
2) PPIs or proton pump inhibitors (e.g. omeprazole/Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid, …)
3) Aluminum hydroxide (e.g. Maalox)
Did you know that to get the most from PPIs (such as omeprazole, Nexium, Prevacid) you should take them 30 to 45 minutes before a meal?
How do the histamine 2 blockers work?
Histamine stimulates acid production in the stomach. Consequently, suppressing histamine production can lead to reduced acid production.
Finally, lower acid production will result in the improvement of heartburn.
How do the PPIs work?
How does aluminum hydroxide work?
This medication reduces the exposure of the stomach tissue to acid. In other words, aluminum hydroxide protects the stomach lining from getting damaged.
That said, this medication doesn’t reduce or limit the acid production.
How to get rid of acid reflux?
Now, that you know more about heartburn and acid reflux disease, you might want to try the following recommendations. These steps should help you to improve the unwanted symptoms and prevent future heartburn attacks,
1) Look for causes of your acid reflux.
2) Find out which behavior or foods make your symptoms worse.
3) Familiarize yourself with the acid-reducing medication you are planning to take.
4) Make sure that you contact your doctor if the indigestion symptoms don’t improve despite being on an acid-reducing medication.
5) Last but not least, don’t disregard the effects of stress on your stomach health.
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