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Acid Reflux Treatment: Understanding Your Options

Acid Reflux Treatment

Experiencing a burning sensation in your chest after a meal is a familiar discomfort for many and often signals a condition known as acid reflux. For some, acid reflux is a minor nuisance, while for others, it can cause chronic symptoms that are a major disruption to everyday activities. Learn more about acid reflux treatment options.

Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?

At its core, acid reflux is a digestive issue where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus — the tube connecting your mouth and stomach. This backward flow of digestive juices can irritate the lining of your esophagus, leading to bothersome symptoms.

Heartburn is the most well-known acid reflux symptom and can be described as a discomfort or burning pain in the middle of your chest. It often happens after eating a large meal or when lying down at night. Other symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid into the mouth
  • Throat irritation
  • A chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • Disrupted sleep

Occasional reflux is normal, but frequent reflux, typically more than twice a week, may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more severe form of acid reflux. Persistent GERD can escalate into more serious complications, such as esophageal damage, strictures, Barrett’s esophagus, or even an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

It’s crucial to listen to your body and consult your doctor if your symptoms are chronic or worsen.

Options For Symptom Relief

For occasional acid reflux, several options can help improve your symptoms.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications refer to changes in daily habits and routines that can positively impact health. Lifestyle modifications are highly effective and are often the first line of defense against acid reflux symptoms. Here are a few examples of lifestyle changes you can make to manage your acid reflux.

1. Weight Management
Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on your stomach, pushing stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Losing weight can reduce this pressure and the occurrence of reflux.

2. Dietary Changes
Certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the muscle that acts as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Common triggers include:

  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits

3. Eating Habits
Large meals can overfill the stomach, causing reflux. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce your chances of experiencing acid reflux.

4. Sleep Habits
Avoiding lying down soon after eating will minimize stomach contents backing up into the esophagus. Elevating the head of your bed or using a wedge pillow creates a slight incline, which can also help.

5. Quitting Smoking
Smoking can weaken the LES, impairing its ability to function properly. This can allow stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Stopping smoking can strengthen the LES and reduce reflux.


Medications can offer additional relief when lifestyle modifications aren’t enough to manage acid reflux. Here are three types of medications that may work to treat your acid reflux.

1. Antacids
Antacids are over-the-counter medications that provide quick relief by neutralizing stomach acid. They work by directly counteracting the acidity in the stomach, which can help stop the burning sensation associated with heartburn. Common antacids include Mylanta and Tums.

2. H2 Blockers
H2 blockers are medications that reduce the amount of acid produced by the cells in the stomach lining. They do this by blocking histamine, a substance in the body that promotes acid production. Common H2 blockers include Pepcid and Tagament.

3. Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are a more potent class of acid-suppressing medications. They work by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. This results in a more pronounced and longer-lasting reduction of stomach acid. Common PPIs include Prilosec and Nexium.


In cases where both lifestyle modifications and medication are insufficient to manage reflux, surgical options may be considered. These procedures are typically reserved for patients with severe symptoms, complications of GERD, or those who wish to avoid long-term medication use.

Get Rid of Uncomfortable Symptoms and Find the Right Treatment for Your Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a common yet manageable condition. Talk to your doctor for personalized advice and treatment if your symptoms persist or worsen. Proactive management is important to prevent complications.

Don’t live with chronic acid reflux – schedule an appointment today!

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