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Acid Reflux/Heartburn - Simple Steps to Relief
ACID REFLUX/HEARTBURN - Effective Strategies to Stop the Burning. by Andrew
You've seen the advertisements: Acid reflux is a horrible disease that can cause damage to the
oesophagus and lead to cancer. Are these claims realistic, or simply exaggerated to sell over
the counter medications? The fact is that doctors don't even agree on the causes, treatments,
and long-term risks related to heartburn, so you can believe what you want about the ads.
Heartburn is the uncomfortable feeling resulting from acid reflux, or GERD, gastroesophageal
reflux disease (try saying that out loud a few times). It can feel like a burning sensation
(hence, the name), but can also feel like pressure in the chest, which is why it is sometimes
confused with feelings associated with heart attacks.
Acid reflux occurs when the muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus gets weak or
at the wrong time. The result is that the stomach contents, including the acid, move up into
the oesophagus. Because the oesophagus doesn't have the protective lining that the stomach
does, the acid literally burns the oesophagus.
Several non-prescription drugs may be effective for mild to moderate acid reflux,
such as antacids, which neutralize stomach acids. These include well-known over the counter
medications such as Tums and Rolaids. Another option is H2 receptor antagonists, which reduce
the production of stomach acids. These include Axid AR, Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, and Zantac
Pepcid complete is the only of these that combines an antacid with an H2 receptor antagonist.
Which is the best treatment? One study found that Pepcid complete performed better than either
an antacid alone or an H2 receptor antagonist alone.
Prescription drugs prescribed to treat acid reflux are called proton-pump inhibitors. These
include Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix. While