Prescription medications and also over the counter treatments for indigestion are often very helpful for those who have intense indigestion. And for those who have ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus this might be their sole alternative. However if your heartburn symptoms aren’t so severe, you should consider other alternatives to heartburn medications, because they can come with a host of severe side effects like bone fractures, bacterial infections that require hospitalization, diarrhea, increased risk of Alzheimer’s, kidney disease and high blood pressure.
In numerous instances of GERD, the issue is not that extra gastric acid is being generated; it’s that the gastric acid isn’t remaining in the stomach. Instead, it’s going up the esophagus and aggravating it. Gastric acid is in fact extremely important in guarding you against infection. Germs literally get broken down by the acid before they are able to increase in numbers. Proton pump inhibitors merely turn off the output of acid, rather than function to resolve the actual issue which is holding the acid within the stomach. So whenever you are taking them, you encounter a heightened danger of infection.
Furthermore scientists estimate that up to 40% of the people who take proton pump inhibitors for conditions like acid reflux and heartburn really don’t need to take them. They could get off of them by making simple lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals, not smoking, not drinking and avoiding foods that trigger acid reflux. So if you are one of the 40% you might want to see if you are able to steer clear of medicines by looking into making a few easy lifestyle changes. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this.
You also have to watch out for antacids. They don’t shutdown the production of stomach acid like proton pump inhibitors, but they do lower the amount of acid in your stomach by neutralizing it. So they can cause similar problems. When you reduce the amount of acid, food may not be fully digested. This can cause vitamin deficiencies which ultimately lower your level of health and vitality. The various chemicals used in antacids all come with different issues. Aluminum based antacids may cause Alzheimer’s. Magnesium based antacids may cause diarrhea. Sodium based antacids can aggravate high blood pressure. Calcium based antacids may cause kidney problems. So, all antacids come with potential risks.
Ultimately, you and your physician need to choose what the ideal remedy for you is. Given, you might be one of the individuals who have symptoms so serious that you need medication and in some cases, the advantages of medication might over-shadow the potential risks. But it’s smart to truly analyze if this sounds like the case.
Zeke is a freelance writer who writes about health related subjects like acid reflux.