Acid reflux is a disorder that occurs when acid contents in the stomach flow back into the oesophagus. There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications available to treat acid reflux.
The main symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which causes the stomach contents to be regurgitated into the mouth, leaving a bitter taste. Other symptoms include pain below or behind the breastbone, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, bad breath and difficult or painful swallowing.
Over the Counter
Antacids are an over-the-counter medication used primarily for heartburn. H2blockers and proton-pump inhibitors, such as Prevacid 24HR, are both available OTC or by prescription; they help reduce stomach acid.
Consuming certain foods and smoking cigarettes can cause acid reflux. Acid reflux can also be caused by medications such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some antibiotics.
Those most likely to be affected by acid reflux are people who are obese, have scleroderma, or have a hiatus hernia. It may also occur during pregnancy.
If acid reflux frequently occurs, it may lead to reflux esophagitis, esophageal ulcer or esophageal narrowing. It can also lead to Barrett's syndrome, which may ultimately lead to esophageal cancer.