Using Acid Reflux Medicine to Get Rid of the Annoying Heartburns by ArtasArina


									        Using Acid Reflux Medicine to Get Rid of the

                           Annoying Heartburns

Alcohol lovers would often love to match their drink with spicy dishes and greasy and

fatty foods. The perfect combination makes the drinking perfect to the palate.

Unfortunately though, this is bad for the esophagus and the stomach. The alcohol, the

spicy dishes and the greasy and fatty foods causes acid reflux or also known as

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Other causes of acid reflux are pregnancy,

genetic influences, presence of infection in the gastrointestinal tract, and the Non-

Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

The Gastrointestinal System of the body is composed of the following: the oral cavity,

the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and the anus. The main

function of the Gastrointestinal System is to digest food particles, absorb digestive

juices and eliminate undigested materials which are of course the feces.

The acid reflux affects the stomach and the esophagus. This occurs when the liquid

from the stomach which contains pepsin, an irritating substance produced by the chief

cells goes up to the esophagus passing through the cardiac sphincter. The cardiac

sphincter is the opening to the stomach from the esophagus. Its function is to prevent

reflux of the substances in the stomach because these substances cause esophageal

irritation and ulcer. If the cardiac sphincter fails to close after receiving food from the

esophagus, acid reflux occurs.
Acid reflux is a chronic condition. Once a person suffers from it, it becomes a life-long

ordeal. Injury in the esophagus also is a chronic condition. Even if the esophagus has

healed with treatment and it is being stopped, the injury will return in most patients

within a few months. Once treatment for said illness is begun, it usually needs to be

continued indefinitely.

Normally, liquid reflux in the stomach occurs to a healthy individual. However, people

with the acid reflux or GERD, has more acid in the liquid. This may be caused by the

genetic influences, specifically, an increased number of parietal cells which produce

pepsin in the stomach.

The body has mechanisms to protect itself from the harmful effects of reflux and acid.

Most reflux happens during the day when individuals are upright. In said position, the

refluxed liquid is more likely to flow back down into the stomach due to gravity.

Moreover, while individuals are awake, they continually swallow, regardless if there is

reflux or not. Each time individuals swallow the reflux liquid slide back into the stomach.

The last body defense to reflux is the salivary glands in the mouth. These glands

produce saliva, which contains bicarbonate. Every time an individual swallows, the

bicarbonate-containing saliva slides down the esophagus. The bicarbonate neutralizes

the small amount of acid that remains in the esophagus.
Basically, acid reflux medicines inhibit the production or release of pepsin produced by

the chief cells and hydrochloric acid produced by the parietal cells in the stomach. Other

medicines may not totally inhibit the production but they neutralize the acid.

The acid reflux medicines are the Histamine Blockers or the H2 receptor antagonists.

Histamine stimulates a pump in the stomach that releases hydrochloric acid. The H2

receptor antagonists prevent the histamine from stimulating this pump. They block the

production of the hydrochloric acid thereby reducing secretion and concentration into

the stomach.

One of the acid reflux medicines is the Cimetidine which was introduced in 1975. It has

a short half-life and short duration of action. The three most popular H2 blockers are

Ranitidine, Famotidine and Nizatidine. They are more potent than Cimetidine because

in addition to blocking gastric acid secretions, they also promote healing of the ulcer by

eliminating its cause. They also have longer duration of action.

As the cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, you can avoid

having an acid reflux or GERD by avoiding too much smoking and alcohol, and by

eating less of spicy and greasy food. When taking NSAIDs, be sure you take it after

meals. Lastly, avoid stress because it stimulates the release of the deadly acid.
        Acid Reflux Medication: Keeping Heartburn at Bay

In a normal digestive process, the partially digested food is being forwarded by

muscular movements from the stomach to the intestines. However, for some people, the

stomach contents travel back to the esophagus from the stomach. This condition is

known as acid reflux.

Common symptoms of this disease include heartburn, difficulty in swallowing,

regurgitation, chest pains, dental erosion, hoarseness, asthma, dyspepsia, vomiting,

and many others.

If not properly treated, acid reflux can last for several months. But drug treatment can

play an essential part in the treatment process of a patient.

The most common medications used include the following:

Antacids. These drugs are used to neutralize the acids in the digestive tract and are

primarily taken in for relief of mild symptoms, such as occasional episodes of indigestion

and heartburn. They also act to incite the defensive mechanisms of our stomach by

building up the secretion of mucous and bicarbonate. Most antacids can be bought over

the counter even without a medical prescription. Moreover, these drugs are one of the

first to be recommended by professionals to lessen the pain brought about by heartburn
or mild symptoms. The three basic ingredients of antacids are magnesium, calcium, and


Acid suppressants such as histamine blockers are also commonly used. Histamine

blockers obstruct the production of stomach acids by alienating the actions of histamine.

Histamine is a chemical in the body that promotes the production and secretion of acids

in the stomach. Anti-histamines are available even without prescription and offers relief

of symptoms in most of the patients with frequent acid reflux. Patients have to wait for

30 to 90 minutes for these drugs to take effect. But their effect also lasts six to 24 hours.

In cases of severe symptoms, a patient may have to take two dosages a day. In some

researches, histamine blockers have shown to improve asthmatic symptoms in those

who endure from both acid reflux and asthma.

However, in a study dated 2001, it was suggested that histamine blockers occasionally

impart complete relief of symptoms for dyspepsia and heartburn.

Proton pump inhibitors are also employed as a medication. They act to trim down the

production of stomach acids by reacting with the cells found in the stomach wall which

produce and release acids into the stomach. However, researches have revealed that

the use of proton pump inhibitors poses some concerns. Side effects, although
uncommon, include diarrhea, headache, itching, and nausea. Moreover, these drugs

should also be stayed away from by pregnant and breast-feeding mothers.

Another medication that is generally handled is the use of agents which protect the

mucus lining in the gastrointestinal region. This kind of drug acts by attaching to an

ulcer crater so that it will be guarded from damage caused by digestive acids. It is

advisable for people undergoing maintenance therapy with mild or moderate acid reflux

conditions. Likewise, it has minor side effects, including constipation.

Anti-spasm drugs are also utilized to prevent acid and even non-acid reflux. A gamma-

amino acid butyric acid agonist, an anti-spasm drug is generally used to abate the

spasms in the muscles. Unlike most medicines used for acid reflux, it can also lessen

non-acid refluxes and amplify the pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle

that separates the esophagus from the stomach and prevents backing up of stomach


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