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An Overview of How Acid Reflux Medications Work

Aug 17, 2007
If you experience heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, you should check them out with your doctor they persist for more than 3-4 days. Upon examination, your family doctor may you to a gastroenterologist. This more specialised doctor will be able to help with acid reflux medications and diet advice so that the condition can be effectively controlled.

Only in the event that the prescribed medications are found to be ineffective, will surgery be suggested. However, in most circumstanstances, lifestyle changes, coupled with medications, are enough to combat the painful symptoms.

The most common type of acid reflux medications are the antacids i.e. Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol etc. As the name suggests these work by reducing the acidity of the stomach contents. Often these types of medication contain one or a combination of the salts of magnesium, calcium and aluminium and some form of bicarbonate. The salts act to neutralize the acid and stop the painful acid reflux. Unfortunately the effects are relatively short lived and so antacids are best used for infrequent bouts of acid reflux.

Gaviscon works in a different way. This foams up in the stomach and prevents the harmful acid from attacking the stomach walls and travelling up the oesophagus. Both antacids and foaming remedies can be bought over the counter.

There are two main types of acid reflux medications however that are not available without consulting a doctor first. Proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, Protonix and Nexium slow down the rate at which acid is secreted in the stomach by shutting down the pumping mechanism in the walls of the stomach cell walls. This type of medication is used to treat even the most severe cases with very good results.

H2 blockers such as Zantac, also slow down the production of acid from by the stomach however the effect is not as strong as that of proton pump inhibitors and so H2 blockers are used to treat slightly milder cases.

Before giving you a prescription, the gastroenterologist will suggest a number a ways in which the condition can be controlled naturally. For example he may suggest that you eat smaller meals and on a regular basis to help eatin reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. In addition, he may also suggest that you monitor your diet so that foods which stimulate the secretion of acid in the stomach are kept to a minimum. The doctor may also suggest you lose weight if you are above the recommended target for your age and size.

You will also be advised to quit smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. Both nicotine and alcohol stimulate the stomach to produce the harmful acid that causes the painful symptoms associated with acid reflux.

Only if these preventative measures do not help will your doctor prescribe the appropriate acid reflux medications for you. The appropriate acid reflux medications will largely depend on the severity of the symptoms and any other illness you may also suffer from.
About the Author
Acid reflux symptoms and indigestion are treatable. For more information and resources, please visit this site http://www.treat-acid-reflux.com.
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