Medications like Rolaids® and Tums® are available just about everywhere you look. They can provide quick but only temporary relief from heartburn symptoms by neutralizing stomach acid. Other antacids like Mylanta® and Gaviscon® work much the same way, and are preferred by some people because they come in liquid form.
A number of acid suppressing medications that were once only available through a doctor's prescription are now available in lesser dosages over the counter. These incude Zantac 75®, Tagamet HB®, Pepcid AC®, Prilosec OTC®, Prevacid 24 HR® and Zegerid OTC®. These drugs actually stop acid production by the stomach.
Prescription strength proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 Blockers have become the mainstay of medical therapy for the treatment of GERD and related symptoms. These powerful medications can provide significant relief, but side effects and treatment failure may occur, and the manufacturers recommend they only be used for relatively short periods of time for treating most symptoms of GERD.
If the foods and beverages pictured on this page look appealing, but are on your "Must Avoid" list because of your acid reflux, you are not alone. Most people who have GERD have trouble with foods that contain caffeine or alcohol, are high in fat or are highly acidic.
Changes in your day to day lifestyle can also reduce many symptoms of reflux. These include avoiding nicotine, whether from smoking or smokeless tobacco products, losing a few pounds if you are significantly overweight, and avoiding tight restrictive clothing. If your symptoms are more likely to occur at night, you should avoid late night meals, and elevate the head of the bed and allow gravity to help keep stomach contents where they belong.
Avoiding the foods you love may help keep you from having heartburn, but that is not a particularly satisfying way to live. It isn't just what you eat it's also the way you eat that can contribute to reflux symptoms. Smaller meals, eaten slowly, are far less likely to lead to heartburn and regurgitation than are fast foods, eaten on the run.