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MATTERS OF FACT

Relieving Reflux

"Heartburn remedies"
By: Jose Maria M. Villarama IIRelieving Reflux

Immediate remedies to acid reflux include standing upright, swallowing water, or taking antacids (preferably liquid variants) whose active ingredient is calcium carbonate. Other remedies that may take time but may alleviate any pain and discomfort in the long term are:

●  Lifestyle changes. If the problem stems from being overweight or obese, or if one is eating or drinking too much of the known heartburn triggers, reducing intake, modifying one’s diet and losing weight are the only remedies to the problem. These include eating smaller meals, avoiding suspect food and beverages, and refraining from stressful activities after eating. Avoid lying down within 3 hours after a meal. If one suffers from night time reflux, elevating the head by propping up more pillows is advisable. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco also helps. Aside from eliminating the incidence of heartburn, losing weight and modifying the diet and lifestyle also cut the risk of developing other diseases.

●  Acid blockers. Luckily, medications are now available in the market that can be prescribed to keep acid secretion at bay. Acid blockers provide more long-term relief than antacids. A class of acid blockers called histamine-2 or H2 blockers decrease the amount of acid the stomach produces. They provide relief of symptoms within 30 minutes and are usually taken twice a day. Another class of acid blockers is the proton pump inhibitors, which prevent the stomach from secreting acid. Taken once a day, usually before breakfast, they are prescribed as the last option if other drugs do not work.

●  Other drugs. If acid blockers do not work, another class of drugs can be used to alleviate heartburn symptoms.

●  Surgery. As a last option, a procedure called fundoplication is performed to tighten the sphincter muscle. The stomach is tied to prevent acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. At least 80 percent of patients who have undergone this procedure report a 100 percent success rate.

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