What is acid reflux :   common questions answered
4 mins read

What is acid reflux : common questions answered

Contributed by 

Dr. Vipul Agarwal

M.B;B.S  MD(Internal Medicine)

Consultant physician

Maitri Clinic, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

You can find me at-

E-mail: vipul.msrmc@gmail.com

Linkedin/ Instagram/ Facebook / Google Profile

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is when the acid that is normally in your stomach backs up into the oesophagus. The oesophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach

When acid reflux causes bothersome symptoms or damage, doctors call it “gastroesophageal reflux disease” or “GERD.”

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

The most common symptoms are:

Heartburn, which is a burning feeling in the chest

Regurgitation, which is when acid and undigested food flow back into your throat or mouth

Other symptoms might include:

Stomach or chest pain

Trouble swallowing

Having a raspy voice or a sore throat

Unexplained cough

Nausea or vomiting

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better?

Yes. You might feel better if you:

Lose weight (if you are overweight)

Raise the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches – You can do this by putting blocks of wood or rubber under 2 legs of the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress.

Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse – For some people these include coffee, chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, and fatty foods.

Stop smoking, if you smoke

Avoid late meals – Lying down with a full stomach can make reflux worse. Try to plan meals for at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

Avoid tight clothing – Some people feel better if they wear comfortable clothing that does not squeeze the stomach area.

How is acid reflux treated?

There are a few main types of medicines that can help with the symptoms of acid reflux. The most common are antacids, histamine blockers, and proton pump inhibitors

AntacidsCalcium carbonate
Aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, and simethicone (sample brand name: mucaine syrup)
Surface agentsSucralfate (brand name: sucrafil syrup)
Histamine blockersFamotidine (brand name: Famocid)
Ranitidine (brand name: Rantac)
Proton pump inhibitorsOmeprazole (brand name: Omez)
Esomeprazole (brand name: Nexium)
Pantoprazole (brand name: Pantosec)
Lansoprazole (brand name: Lansol)
Dexlansoprazole (brand name: Deltone)
Rabeprazole (brand name: Rabium)

All of these medicines work by reducing or blocking stomach acid. But they each do that in a different way.

  • For mild symptoms, antacids can help, but they work only for a short time. Histamine blockers are stronger and last longer than antacids. You can buy most antacids without a prescription.
  • For frequent and more severe symptoms, proton pump inhibitors are the most effective medicines.

Should I see a doctor about my acid reflux?

Some people can manage their acid reflux on their own by changing their habits or taking non-prescription medicines. But you should see a doctor or nurse if:

Your symptoms are severe or last a long time

You cannot seem to control your symptoms

You have had symptoms for many years

You should also see a doctor right away if you:

Have trouble swallowing, or feel as though food gets “stuck” on the way down

Lose weight when you are not trying to

Have chest pain

Choke when you eat

Vomit blood or have bowel movements that are red, black, or look like tar

What if my child or teenager has acid reflux?

If your child or teenager has acid reflux, take them to see a doctor. Do not give your child medicines to treat acid reflux without talking to a doctor or nurse.

In children, acid reflux can be caused by a number of problems. It’s important to have a doctor check for these problems before trying any treatments.

Join the mailing list!

Get the latest articles delivered right to your inbox!