I suffer from acid reflux on an almost daily basis. Finding some effective remedies for acid reflux has been a personal quest of mine over the last several years. Acid reflux is a very uncomfortable condition that can in the long run lead to serious health conditions. People who suffer from regular acid reflux are at a much higher risk for developing certain esophageal cancers. Even with the risk of cancer aside, acid reflux can be debilitating just by the constant and unrelenting pain.
Remedies for acid reflux fall into a few different categories. The oldest and most popular remedies for acid reflux are the antacids. Antacids are usually chewable or liquid medicines that neutralize the acids in your stomach. They’re the fastest acting remedy for acid reflux, but also the most temporary. The most common ingredient seems to be calcium carbonate, which not only tastes like chalk, but is chalk. More recently, aluminum hydroxide has become a popular alternative antacid, and I much prefer it over calcium carbonate. It tastes better, upsets my stomach less, and works just as well as calcium carbonate if not better.
Acid reducers are another popular group of remedies for acid reflux. Like antacids, these are sold over the counter. Acid reducers take longer to start working, but once they kick in you can count on relief from heartburn for several hours or longer. My two favorite acid reducers are Zantac and Pepcid AC. The drugs in Zantac and Pepcid, ‘ranitidine’ and ‘famotidine’ respectively, are also sold in generic forms which are much cheaper and seem to work just as well.
Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are the third group of remedies for acid reflux. Most of these are available by prescription, but the earliest PPI, sold under the brand name Prilosec, is now available over the counter. PPIs can take days to produce their maximum effect, but if taken daily they are an extremely effective remedy for acid reflux. They can also be taken safely with acid reducers.
Lastly, there are some non-drug remedies for acid reflux. Although all the drugs used in acid reflux are safe and have a very low occurrence of side effects, it’s always a good idea to investigate what non-pharmaceutical steps you can take to compliment your treatment. Elevating your bed, avoiding large or greasy meals, and waiting at least three hours before lying down after eating are all remedies for acid reflux that don’t require taking a pill, and may be enough in themselves to prevent the heartburn you are having.