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Weapon against Heartburn and GERD

The feeling of heartburn is familiar to many millions of people around the world. Though this condition has nothing to do with the human heart and its burning, it may cause rather serious disorder in other vitally important organs: stomach and esophagus. Heartburn, when it occurs very frequently, is the major symptom of the gastro-esophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD.

Probably, the most widely spread remedy to eliminate heartburn is one tables-poon of baking soda per glass of water. Well, we should not completely ignore this recipe because it is based on the scientific principle: soda neutralizes stomach acid, which causes heartburn, when refluxed into the esophagus.

But is it the only possible weapon to fight heartburn and GERD disease? The answer is definitely – “no”. Furthermore, modern pharmaceutics offers much more effective remedies not only to eliminate the heartburn symptoms, but even to heal the consequences of constant acid influence on the esophagus, such as erosion and ulceration.

There is a pretty big list of different prescription medications to treat GERD and heartburn, but the most popular and widely spread are those that belong to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

PPIs are the most popular and widely prescribed medications to fight GERD. They are the real “Hollywood celebrities” among all the others medications, so we will pay maximum attention to this class of medications.

First, you have to know the names of the celebrities. The most popular are Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium. In fact, their mode of action is very similar; the difference is mostly in the dosage, marketing and advertising strategies. Isn’t it like in TV industry? :)

Now the main secret of our celebrities: why they are called “proton pump inhibitors”. Though it may sound like a name of the weapon from the Star Wars, it is not actually so. In fact, proton pumps are the special cells in the lining of human stomach, which produces that very gastric acid, necessary for food digestion and the excess of which is responsible for heartburn feelings and GERD disease.

Consequently, the PPIs medications shut down many of those pumps, so that they stop producing acid for up to 95 percent. As a result, the amount of acid in the stomach decreases significantly and it does not flow back from it.

The profits from PPIs are really hard to overestimate: they do not just temporary neutralize acid, they can heal such complications of GERD as ulcers, erosive esophagitis and other conditions, caused by the excessive stomach acid production and its reflux into the esophagus.

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Of course, there are no celebrities in Hollywood without whims, and there are no medications without side effects. Though, in contrast to some movie stars, the unpleasant consequences, caused by PPIs, are rather mild and disappear when a patient gets used to a medication (usually after 2 week of drugs taking). Most common side effects of PPIs are abdominal pain, headache, diarrhea, dry mouth or headache.

Anyway, the above mentioned medications are prescription drugs, so it is better to consult your doctor if you experience any change in the organism, associated with administration of proton pumps inhibitors.

So, if you suffer from GERD disease or very frequent heartburn, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about the drug celebrities, called proton pump inhibitors and sold in every drug store.

Nick


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