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GERD: Health Information and Treatment

If you eat spicy foods or have a late night dinner, you are probably already familiar with the burning pain in your chest known as heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Itís a common problem among Americans. Fortunately, several effective treatments and easy lifestyle changes can relieve the symptoms of GERD. A prescription medication like Nexium is a great choice for anyone that suffers from frequent pain and discomfort due to GERD.

What is GERD?

GERD is a disorder that causes stomach acid to travel up the esophagus. It happens when the stomach valve doesnít close properly, allowing stomach acids to travel the wrong way. The stomach acid causes the familiar pain associated with GERD. Everyone gets heartburn occasionally, but if you suffer from pain and discomfort more than two times per week, itís likely that you have GERD.

What causes GERD?

A variety of factors can cause GERD. Being overweight increases your risk. A condition called hiatal hernia, where the stomach valve physically moves upward, increases the risk of GERD. Spicy, high fat, and acidic foods can trigger the condition, along with alcoholic beverages. Even your morning coffee or afternoon soda can trigger GERD. Finally, certain medications, including over-the-counter pain medications, high blood pressure medications, and muscle relaxers can induce a painful episode.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

A burning pain in the chest is the most common symptom of GERD. Some people also feel pain and discomfort in the abdominal area. Additional symptoms include a bitter taste, hiccups, burping, indigestion, coughing, sore throat, and a hoarse voice.

How can I treat GERD?

Between lifestyle changes and medications, there are many ways to treat GERD. First, try eating your last meal approximately 3 hours before bed so that you have time to digest your food. Plan to have a smaller dinner and donít rush. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly to aid the digestion process. If youíre having problems with GERD, itís best to quit smoking. Nicotine can weaken the stomach valve. Weight loss can also reduce the severity of GERD.

Over-the-counter medications are frequently used to treat GERD. Popular medications include Rolaids, Mylanta, Alka-Seltzer, and Maalox. These treatments combat stomach acid. While they are generally well tolerated, side effects can include digestive upset, diarrhea, and constipation.

There is also a class of medications called H2 blockers, which can prevent acid reflux. However, these drugs cannot treat inflammation in the esophagus caused by GERD.

Is there a prescription medication to treat GERD?

If you suffer from the symptoms of GERD more than two times per week, you might need a prescription medication. Inflammation in the esophagus can lead to serious medical complications. A prescription medication like Nexium blocks acid production and reduces inflammation in the esophagus.

In fact, if your esophagus is already damaged, Nexium can help you heal in a few as 8 weeks. If you suffer from severe heartburn, surgery is a possible option. As with all surgical procedures, there is always the risk of infection and post-surgical complications. Why not try Nexium first?

Visit your doctor to determine if Nexium is the right treatment choice for you. You shouldnít have to suffer from the pain of GERD. AccessRX carries the products you need to live a healthy, symptom-free life.