If you experience heartburn two or more times a week and need medication, your heartburn is considered chronic acid reflux. In the 1980s a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors were approved by the FDA for treatment of chronic reflux by reducing the acid production in the stomach. Today many PPIs are available over the counter without being prescribed by a doctor. Despite the ease of access, it is important to talk with your doctor about all over the counter medications you take, especially when taking them long term.
Long term use of proton pump inhibitors may have serious side effects. Recent studies have shown that long term use of PPIs can lead to chronic kidney disease. The kidney cleans the blood from waste and toxins in the body and then excretes them in the urine. When the kidney starts failing, toxins and waste build in the blood. This is treated with medications or eventually dialysis.
It is important not to self medicate for treatment of chronic conditions. While some people really need to be treated with medication, it may be possible to control your reflux without medications by changing your diet or sleeping with the head of the bed elevated to keep acid in your stomach while sleeping. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and decide together the treatment option best for you. The doctors at Associates in Digestive Health are here to help you control your chronic acid reflux. Don’t suffer in silence!