acid reflux treatment

When you might be experiencing some side effects because of GERD medications, it is best to contact your doctor or pharmacist. Some of these side effects are mild. Conversely, others are more severe. One of the most common side effects associated with acid reflux treatment is stomach discomfort, which can be mild to severe. Moreover, it may depend on the person taking the medication and the type of medication they are taking.

What are the other side effects?

Another side effect may include nausea, which often accompanies stomach discomfort. Additionally, other possible side effects can be-

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

If you are experiencing any serious side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Some people also experience some GERD symptoms even after using the medication. Therefore, it is best to continue taking your medications as directed by your doctor if you are experiencing such a condition. Some people may need an adjustment with their dosage. On the other hand, others may benefit from taking a different medication.

If the side effects become too much for you to handle, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may consider your acid reflux treatment. Accordingly, you may get a new medication or change your current medication dose.

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a digestive disorder that occurs when the stomach’s contents come back up into the esophagus. One more name for this disease is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The esophagus is the pipe that carries food from your mouth to your tummy. It can cause a burning sensation in the chest area (heartburn) or throat. Moreover, the disease can damage the esophagus over time.

Acid reflux occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which opens to allow food into your stomach, does not close well after you have eaten. Eventually, it makes acid from the stomach move up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.

The condition does not lead to severe conditions, such as cancer or other digestive diseases. However, it might have long-term effects on your health. It is vital to consult a doctor and be diagnosed properly. A timely acid reflux treatment can help prevent complications.

What can trigger GERD?

Several things can trigger GERD. Some are simple. On the other hand, others are complicated. Moreover, sometimes it is hard to determine if something, you are eating or doing is causing the condition. Common triggers are-

Certain foods

These trigger factors are different for everyone. However, common food triggers include-

  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • High-fat foods
  • Caffeine in any form or amount
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Spicy meals
  • Alcohol

Lying down too soon after a meal

Food and acid transfer from the stomach to the esophagus when you lie down or bend over. It happens because gravity is not helping keep the food in your stomach where it should be until the digestion takes place. For this reason, your doctor or nurse may suggest eating smaller, more frequent meals. It becomes significant if you typically eat a large meal and then lie down or bend over. Avoid lying down just after meals to support your acid reflux treatment.

Eating too much at one time

It causes food to remain in the stomach longer than it should. The condition can lead to reflux of acid.

Certain medications

Some medications, such as over-the-counter painkillers and some blood pressure medications can cause GERD.


Smoking calms down the sphincter that divides the stomach from the esophagus. The relaxation of LES causes acid to enter the esophagus and cause pain. Nevertheless, quitting smoking can improve heartburn symptoms within two weeks in many people. If you cannot control your nicotine addiction, try to cut it down at least.

Stress and anxiety

Stress can alter the balance of stomach acid, causing reflux. Nevertheless, you can try stress management techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or massage therapy. They may help ease symptoms.

Hiatal hernia

This condition occurs when part of the stomach squeezes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. Moreover, it is a common reflux trigger for many people.


A higher weight increases pressure on the stomach. It can lead to acid reflux. Nevertheless, managing your weight can support acid reflux treatment.

Certain diseases

Some diseases can evoke GERD symptoms. They may include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), scleroderma, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Hormonal changes

Changes in hormones during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause may contribute to heartburn in some women.

Dietary factors

Dietary supplements, which contain calcium or iron, can evoke GERD symptoms. Therefore, take your supplement at least two hours before or after a meal to prevent interaction with food.

Can foods relieve heartburn?

Certain foods can also soothe heartburn. Eating yogurt containing live cultures may help relieve acid reflux. It happens because of its high levels of calcium. Calcium helps neutralize stomach acid. Moreover, foods containing magnesium or carbohydrates with low glycemic index scores can relieve GERD symptoms.

What medications can help treat acid reflux?

The best way to treat any reflux problem is through lifestyle changes. Avoiding foods, which precipitate your symptoms, losing weight, and taking measures to stop smoking, are effective ones. However, when non-surgical methods do not work, doctors consider medications. Here is a list of some medications, which can help in acid reflux treatment-

  • H2 blockers

These medications block histamine type 2 receptors in the stomach. Eventually, it helps control acid secretion into the digestive tract. This mechanism prevents excess acid production and helps with heartburn, sour throat, and chest pain. They are available by prescription or over-the-counter. Moreover, you can take them daily or as needed for symptoms.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

These drugs block acid production in the stomach by inhibiting proton pumps. They are responsible for the secretion of hydrochloric acid into the digestive tract. Moreover, these medications are stronger than the H2 blockers and are available by prescription only. You can purchase some of these medications over-the-counter in a lower dosage. However, it is best to see your physician initially for diagnosis and prescription for more serious reflux conditions.

  • Antacids

These medicines neutralize stomach acid already present in the digestive tract. Eventually, they help with symptoms of heartburn. They are available over-the-counter and are easy to find in drugstores, grocery stores, etc. However, this type of acid reflux treatment is meant for the occasional relief of milder symptoms only once your digestive tract has been emptied (2 hours after a meal). If you need to take antacids often or for longer periods, it is best to see your physician.

When is surgery appropriate?

Surgery is often the last resort when reflux symptoms are persistent and do not respond to other treatments. It helps the disease when the esophagus is severely damaged. Moreover, surgery is appropriate when there are obstructions present that prevent food from moving through properly.

What surgical methods are available?

There are two types of surgery performed for GERD. One is a partial fundoplication. However, the other is a total (or full-fundoplication). The procedures help control symptoms by reducing or eliminating acid and food flowing back up into the esophagus. However, they do not cure GERD. This acid reflux treatment (surgery) has some risks. They include infection, leakage of the stomach contents back into the esophagus, and side effects from anesthesia.

Partial fundoplication

It begins just like a regular fundoplication. However, instead of wrapping around the esophagus, the surgeon only wraps part of it up. Partial fundoplication treats acid reflux. Nevertheless, it does not treat heartburn symptoms caused by food or bile refluxing into the esophagus.

Total (full) fundoplication

This procedure involves wrapping all of the stomachs around the lower esophagus. However, experts perform surgery in two different ways-

  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication

It wraps the top part of the stomach around the lower esophagus. This acid reflux treatment uses three or four small “ports” (incisions) for inserting surgical instruments and a camera to see inside the abdomen. Moreover, some surgeons may also use a small video camera attached to the end of the scope. It helps magnify the operative field. They are the area being operated on in this case, in and around the esophagus.

  • Open total fundoplication

In this procedure, experts make an incision through the middle of your breastbone.

What are the risks of surgery?

The most severe potential problems from GERD surgery-

  • Leakage of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is a condition called dumping syndrome.
  • Food or bile gets into the lungs. This condition is called aspiration pneumonia).

According to the medical literature, the risk of these problems occurring is low. However, complications can occur with any surgical procedure.

How long will it take to recover from this acid reflux treatment?

Recovery time varies depending on the method used for your surgery. In general, following a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, you should be able to go home within one day. You can return to work within about two weeks. However, with an open total fundoplication, your hospital stay will likely be three to five days.

How can you prevent GERD?

Several things can prevent heartburn. However, you must speak with your doctor or health care professional about what level of risk each of these activities presents to your condition. Following things may help-

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight can increase pressure on the stomach, causing food and liquids to flow backward into the esophagus.

  • Avoid large meals

Avoid fatty or fried foods. They stay in the stomach longer. Eventually, they may increase the chance of reflux.

  • Eat smaller meals

Eating smaller meals will decrease the likelihood of the food remaining in your stomach for a long period. Small meals can support your acid reflux treatment.

  • Wear comfortable clothes

Avoid tight clothing around your waist (e.g., tight belts). If you have to wear a belt, loosen it after eating a meal. Tight waistbands push up on the stomach. Moreover, it may increase the risk of acid reflux.

  • Elevate your bedhead

Elevate the head of your bed by six inches if possible. You can do it by putting something under the bed legs, or mattress. Doing so will allow gravity to help keep stomach contents down.

  • Avoid eating late at night

Do not eat for at least three hours before you go to bed. GERD can be worse in the evening. Therefore, you may reduce acid reflux symptoms while sleeping by having an empty stomach.

  • Get moving

Exercise after you eat rather than before. It can cause acid reflux symptoms to become worse. If you have already eaten and are experiencing signs or symptoms of acid reflux, avoid exertion and situations that make your symptoms worse. Exercise can help with your acid reflux treatment.

  • Check your posture

Maintain good posture when standing and sitting to help decrease the chance of GERD. Slouching can put pressure on your abdomen and increase the risk of acid reflux.

  • Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not a great time for heartburn sufferers. However, you can do to help reduce symptoms by doing some things. Eating smaller, more frequent meals may be helpful, and avoiding eating late at night can help.

  • Avoid fatty foods

Stay away from fatty foods and high-carbohydrate, fried, or spicy foods. Such foods tend to increase the production of stomach acid. Moreover, they also stay in your stomach longer, increasing the chances of acid reflux.

  • Stay away from citric fruits

Avoid eating citrus fruits or acidic foods, which have a high acid content. They include tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and pineapple.

  • Do not drink too much alcohol

Limit alcohol consumption to support your acid reflux treatment.  It can contribute to GERD symptoms by relaxing the sphincter muscle between the stomach and esophagus.

  • Quit smoking

Get rid of tobacco products in your life to decrease heartburn symptoms. You can look for treatments, which can help control your nicotine addiction.

These are some preventive measures, which can put the risk of acid reflux away. Consult with your doctor for effective initiatives. He or she may tell you well-working measures while keeping your condition in mind.