Heartburn Medication - Which One Is Right for You?There are several methods for treating heartburn including natural cures, over-the-counter medicines, and prescribed medication. The challenge is in finding what works best for you.
The reason some of us get heartburn is that excess stomach acid gets back out of the stomach into our esophagus. The esophagus gets irritated by the acid, hence the pain which can manifest itself as chest pain. (Heartburn side-effects are often mistaken for heart attacks, but thankfully they are not!)
Before you begin taking heartburn medication, it's best to address the cause of your heartburn, namely your diet. Monitor what you eat and identify the foods that may be causing heartburn. Food types that typically cause heartburn are fried, spicy, and citrus in nature. Perhaps a heartburn cure is as simple as changing diet.
Heartburn Medications: where to start
If you do decide to pursue medication, let's state the obvious. Assess the frequency of your heartburn and if its occurring regularly, go and see your doctor. At the very least it will put your mind at ease.
If you decide to self-medicate make sure to read and learn about the medications first of all. Also, be aware that what works for your friend may not work for you. So be cautious.
Heartburn Medications: the choices
There are several types of heartburn medication. Understand each type, including any side effects, before taking them..
As the name suggests, they are "anti-acids" and their job is to neutralize the stomach acid that causes the problem. Brands such as Tums are antacids. If you find you are taking a lot of them, then that's probably a sign of a bigger problem. So take them sparingly and keep a note of how frequent your use is of them.
2. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
Proton-pump inhibitors lower the production of acid in your stomach. This is accomplished by "inhibiting" the enzyme in the stomach that produces acid from doing its job. As a result, there's less acid and so less heartburn, Examples of PPI include PrevAcid. PPIs are generally well received although there maybe side-effects such as diarrhea, constipation or headaches.
3. H2 Blockers
What an H2 blocker does is to block the production of the acid, thereby reducing how much is released in the stomach. There are several over-the-counter H2 blockers from companies such as Zantac. These are lower in dosage than the prescribed versions which are use to help with Gerd (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)..
4. HCL related medications
Heartburn is often associated with too much acid, but in fact the opposite can occur causing heartburn. When we eat food, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid(HCL). One of its goals is to help with digestion. But if there is not enough HCL produced, then food ferments, putrefying in the stomach and the resulting "mixture" can result in heartburn. HCL for heartburn supplements can help resolve this issue.
What should be clear from the above is that understanding your heartburn can be fairly complex and what was said earlier is worth repeating. That is, talk with your doctor before embarking on any heartburn cure. That way all the options will be laid out before you and you can confidently choose a method that will cure your heartburn.
Frank Thornton writes regularly on health and fitness related subjects. http://www.relieveyourheartburn.com