Seems like everyone suffers from either acid reflux or heartburn at one time or another. Most of the time, it’s considered to be not serious and can be effectively neutralized with over the counter medication.
On the other hand, if you suffer from chronic heartburn, you should pay a visit to your doctor for a much more aggressive approach. Your health care provider will analyze your individual situation and be able to prescribe the proper heartburn medication for you. Also, only a qualified medical professional will be able to diagnose any permanent damage that may have already occurred to your esophagus. Your comfort is your main goal and the best heartburn medication for you is the key.
Over the Counter Heartburn Medication
As mentioned before, most common heartburn symptoms can be effectively treated by your everyday over the counter acid reflux remedies. Antacids such as Tums or Maalox, as well as many others, are among the most common treatments that have fast and effective success with providing heartburn relief. What antacids do is act as an acid neutralizer in the stomach. The act of neutralizing the acid provides the relief from the pain. However, as good as these over the counter drugs are, they cannot cure the damage to the esophagus, should that have occurred, from the re-occurrence of over exposure to the stomach acids.
For most people that experience heartburn symptoms, there are particular foods that cause your heartburn to flare up. If this is the case, an H-2-receptor blocker is probably the right choice for you. These heartburn medications are most commonly known by names like Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac. These used to be only by prescription only, but recently have been released in lesser doses over the counter. They work by reducing the amount of acid that the stomach produces rather than fighting the acid that already has been produced. As a result, H-2 -receptors are highly effective at getting you a longer lasting relief however, they take a longer time to kick in.
If your chronic heartburn has already caused permanent damage to your esophagus, there is another group of over the counter heartburn medication that may be your solution. A proton pump inhibitor (or Ppi), like Prilosec, will actually block production of stomach acid, so your esophagus has time to heal correctly. However, if you think you would benefit from this type of heartburn medication, I would suggest that you visit your doctor so a proper assessment of the damage can be made.
Acid reflux and heartburn can be uncomfortable conditions to contend with, especially if you experience heartburn symptoms on a regular basis. The good news is that there are many great over the counter heartburn medication that can give you safe and effective relief from the pain of heartburn.