Heartburn, Acid Reflux and related disorders

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What is acid reflux? 

Acid reflux is when the acid that is normally in your stomach backs up into the esophagus, tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Another term for acid reflux is “gastroesophageal reflux disease,” or GERD.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux? 

The symptoms include:

Burning in the chest, known as heartburn

Burning in the throat or an acid taste in the throat

Stomach or chest pain

Trouble swallowing

Having a raspy voice or a sore throat

Unexplained cough

Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my symptoms? — Yes. You might feel better if you:

Lose weight (if you are overweight)

Raise the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches (for example, by putting blocks of wood or rubber under 2 legs of the bed or a Styrofoam wedge under the mattress)

Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse (examples include coffee, chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, and fatty foods)

Cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink

Stop smoking, if you smoke

Avoid lying down for 3 hours after a meal

What treatments can help with my acid reflux? — There are a few main types of medicines that can help with the symptoms of acid reflux: antacids, surface acting agents, histamine blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. All of these medicines work by reducing or blocking stomach acid. But they each do that in a different way.

Antacids and surface acting agents can relieve mild symptoms, but they work only for a short time. Histamine blockers are stronger and last longer than antacids and surface acting agents. You can buy antacids and most histamine blockers without a prescription.

Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective medicines in treating GERD. Some of these medicines are sold without a prescription. But there are other versions that need a prescription. If you want a prescription by Dr.Paul Kattupalli, please contact us.

Sometimes acid reflux medicines are less expensive if you get them with a prescription. Other times nonprescription medicines are less expensive. If cost is a concern for you, ask your pharmacist how you might reduce the cost of your medicines.

Red Flags that must make you see a doctor immediately:

Alarm features that are suggestive of a gastrointestinal malignancy include:

New onset of dyspepsia in patient ≥60 years

Evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding (hematemesis, melena, hematochezia, occult blood in stool)

Iron deficiency anemia

Anorexia

Unexplained weight loss

Dysphagia

Odynophagia

Persistent vomiting

Gastrointestinal cancer in a first-degree relative

If you need treatment for reflux disorder or any other gastrointestinal disorders, you can start your care with Dr.Paul Kattupalli 

Image Credit: By BruceBlaus – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44923646

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