Friday, December 28

Are Too Many Babies Taking Antireflux Medications?

Spitting up is a common, albeit messy, part of being a baby. But some little ones have a harder time keeping their early diets down than others. So, infants these days are often prescribed medications to help keep their spit-ups — and the discomfort that can come with them — at bay. But now a new study is questioning whether many of the babies taking these drugs really need them.

Focusing on 44 infants with ongoing spitting up or vomiting problems, researchers used a test to measure the reflux (or regurgitation) of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. What they found: The vast majority of the babies couldn't technically be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that's different from regular old reflux. Reflux is very common in infants, but it usually doesn't cause any health problems and stops before a baby's first birthday. Doctors diagnose GERD when a child's reflux is causing complications, like irritation of the esophagus due to refluxed stomach acid, poor weight gain, or breathing problems due to spit up spilling over into the child's lungs.

Although almost all of the 44 babies tested were on antireflux medications (42, in fact), only 8% of them could be considered to have GERD. And when the babies who didn't appear to have the condition after all were taken off the medications, the reflux symptoms in most of the babies improved or didn't get any worse.

So, why the large number of babies getting antireflux medications? The researchers say the high number of prescriptions could be because:

  • Primary care doctors don't have a simple way to distinguish simple reflux from GERD, so they may prescribe the medication to see if it helps.
  • Parents may become anxious and worried about their baby's ongoing problems and request a prescription. (The researchers note, though, that parents' reports of vomiting and spitting up are often highly exaggerated — often as much as five to six times more than the amount the baby is actually throwing up.)

Monday, December 17

Do You Really Need Acid Reflux Drugs?

If you, like millions of people, suffer from the pain and discomfort of acid reflux disease, your doctor may have suggested medications to help ease your symptoms. Acid reflux, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD, is a painful condition that occurs when stomach contents re-enter the esophagus, due to a weakness of the esophageal sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus. Stomach acids can be dangerous and cause damage to the throat and larynx if left untreated, so it is important to see a doctor to diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Often the use of an acid reflux drug can help to stop the pain and other symptoms almost immediately, bringing welcome relief. Some types of acid reflux drugs cause the production of less acid in the stomach, and some cause the acid to become less strong.

However, while there are many types of acid reflux drug that your doctor may prescribe, prescription medications can be expensive, and sometimes have unwanted side effects. And many people simply want to avoid ingesting chemical medications, preferring a more natural approach wherever possible. Luckily there are many alternatives to acid reflux drugs. Some simple changes in lifestyle may avoid the need for acid reflux drugs. These changes include a special diet to avoid aggravating the acid reflux disease.

One step to take if you wish to avoid taking acid reflux drugs is to eat smaller and more frequent meals. Eating large meals tends to cause the stomach to produce too much acid, while waiting too long between meals can also allow the acids to further irritate the already-sensitive esophageal tissues. You will often notice a bitter taste in the back of your throat in this case.

Eating different foods may also help. Avoid foods that are very spicy, or high in fat. You may also find it helpful to avoid or cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Learn which foods are naturally acidic, such as tomatoes, and avoid them while treating your acid reflux disease.

Finally, lying down after meals can almost always make acid reflux symptoms worse. Avoid after-dinner naps, and do not eat directly before bedtime.

If you follow these simple changes, you may find that there is no need to take an acid reflux drug. However, if our symptoms do not improve, check back with your doctor, as acid reflux symptoms can be damaging in the long run.

Tuesday, December 4

Acid Reflux Relief Can Be Dangerous

Yes, even the very thing that’s supposed to bring you relief from the discomfort and pain of acid reflux symptoms can sometimes hurt you further. You should realize that taking strong prescription medications can have serious side effects, and are not usually made of natural ingredients but of chemicals that can have unexpected impact on the body. As well, they tend to only treat the symptoms, and not correct the problem that is causing the symptoms in the first place. While you may be glad of the temporary acid reflux relief, medications may not be a long-term solution.

The problem in acid reflux is that the body is failing to close off the esophagus from the stomach, so that foods you eat begin to mix with stomach acids as they should, but then sometimes begin to come back into the throat. Most medications taken for acid reflux relief just make the stomach produce less acid, so that it doesn’t hurt the esophagus as much. But you need the stomach acids to digest your foods properly. The natural balance of your digestive system is upset by this, and while you may get some temporary acid reflux relief, in the long run you can create more problems for yourself.

Antacids - Acid Reflux Relief or Not?

Antacids are named to indicate that they are used for acid reflux relief, but are they? They work by neutralizing stomach acids, but then your body ahs a hard time digesting some foods, and also in getting the proper nutrients and vitamins out of the foods you do digest. Antacids make it especially difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B and iron, which are very important for your health. It won’t do you much good to be free of acid reflux symptoms only to get sick from something else.

Antacids are best left for use for occasional heartburn. For permanent acid reflux relief, try changing your diet to include less acidic foods, do not eat large meals, avoid fast foods and any foods that are high in fat or sugar, and avoid very spicy foods. These changes may also help you lose weight, which is great because weight loss is also recommended as a step toward acid reflux relief. Cut down or avoid drinking alcohol and coffee, and stop smoking. These will bring you the acid reflux relief you are looking for