Acid reflux disease

Acid reflux disease is a very common condition. It is also referred to as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition is caused when acid from the stomach comes back up the esophagus causing damage or inflammation to the lining of the esophagus. Alongside the acid is the pepsin, which is the enzyme used to start the digestion of proteins once inside the stomach. Unfortunately once you have been diagnosed with GERD it is a battle that you may possibly face for a life time. This is not always the case, but it happens more often than not. Although this is something you may have throughout your lifetime, it is still a manageable condition. Pregnancy may be one of the times in which GERD is a temporary condition due to hormonal changes or a fetus putting pressure on the abdomen.

There are several medications that you can take in order to treat your symptoms of acid reflux, along with some things you can change in your daily routine that may give you quite a bit of relief. Antacids prove to be the best over the counter medication that you can take to control your acid reflux. These can be calcium, aluminum or magnesium based and they work to neutralize the acid that re-accumulates in the stomach after food has been digested. Taking an antacid an hour after eating then one again two hours after a meal will help keep the antacid from building back up into the stomach. Some side effects can be noticed when taking antacids. Magnesium can cause diarrhea and Aluminum can cause constipation. For this reason it is advisable to alternate the types of antacids used.

If your acid reflux becomes severe you will want to discuss what other forms of medications that can be prescribed to help you. Some of the other medications used are histamine antagonists such as, Tagament, Zantac, Axid and Pepcid. Also proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Prontonix and Nexium can be prescribed depending on your symptoms.

Some of the most effective ways of treating acid reflux is by making changes in your lifestyle. You can start by eating smaller more frequent meals. Avoid eating large portions of food at one time so that the food is not sitting in the stomach for an excessive amount of time. This is extremely important for meals that are late in the evening or before bed. You want your food to be digested well before it is time to lay down to rest. Try eating your last meal earlier in the evening allowing more time between digestion and bedtime. If you notice that you have more problems at night when trying to sleep then you should consider sleeping slightly elevated to allow gravity to work in your favor. Once you are laying flat in bed this gives the acid the perfect chance to flow back into the esophagus and sit there causing more and more damage to be done.

Elevating your head on pillows will not be enough to prevent this. You will need to be sure that your entire upper body is elevated to a certain degree. This can be done by using a sleeping wedge or by putting the head of the bed on some wooden blocks. Diet also plays an extremely important role in preventing acid reflux. Some important foods to avoid are fatty or greasy foods, spicy foods, tomato based foods, citris juices, chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, caffeinated drinks and carbonated drinks. If you are a smoker you should stop smoking since smokers have a higher chance of having acid reflux as do people who are overweight. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to suffer from this condition. Also beware if you take pain medications on a frequent basis, such as aspirin or ibuprofen since these can contribute to stomach problems and cause acid reflux to be worse.

Remember, discussing your condition with your doctor is the best option. Your doctor will be able to monitor your symptoms and the severity of your condition and will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.

[quote|tags=stomach acid]

Last updated on Sep 8th, 2009 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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