15 Reasons Proton Pump Inhibitors Are a Temporary Fix for Acid Reflux
Did you know that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most effective type of drug presented for the temporary treatment of acid reflux and heartburn? In case you are wondering why, this is due to their consistent and powerful impact on gastric acid secretion.
Here’s more good news. PPIs have revealed an exceptional profile following nearly 18 years of clinical practice. The chances of healing an erosive esophagus with a PPI was more than 90 percent of the time. As for full symptom resolution, patients with Barrett’s esophagus are attainable in nearly 80 percent, but these are just the numbers.
First, let us start with 15 reasons why PPIs are a quick fix for heartburn and stomach acid.
1. Positive Versus Negative: Understanding Chemical Elements and What They Do to Your Body
Understand what the pump in proton pump inhibitors is all about. You are probably wondering what proton pump inhibitors are, so let’s start with the description of the pump. Since you know for a fact that a pump is a mechanism that sucks elements against a concentration gradient, we can easily say that the “pump” in proton pump inhibitors works like your usual water pump, or any other pump for that matter. In other words, it raises the substance up against gravity just like it does with a gas pump or an air pump.
So how does this work with acid reflux? Your stomach lumen comes with membrane linings that have cells. These cells produce acids and then pump them against the concentration of acids formed earlier in the stomach lumen. Since acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into your esophagus, it needs a pump inhibitor to lift acid upwards. This chemical energy is the proton pump inhibitor.
Perhaps by now you already have an idea of the role of proton pump inhibitors on the temporary relief of acid reflux, but there’s much more.
Learn the true purpose of the proton part of PPIs. The positively-charged subatomic particles help form the acids. These particles are what we call proton. Proton comes from hydrogen, the lightest form of chemical element. Basically, these hydrogen atoms come with a nucleus and that nucleus is the proton. A single negatively charged electron attracts the opposite. Since proton is heavier than the electron, the proton therefore makes up the entirety of hydrogen atom.
And how does proton pump inhibitors move this mechanism?
Since protons pile up in the luminal linings of the cells, which also produce the acids, it also inhibits the enzymes that make up the chemical energy synthesis. This process is necessary for the pumping to take place.
2. Why Proton Pump Inhibitors Are More Effective
When there is no acid produced, pumping activity or energy, then there is no accumulation of proton in the surface of the stomach. Otherwise, there are known receptor sites that trigger acid production, such as acetylcholine, gastrin and histamines.
These chemicals are distributed around the cells that secretes acids that are then discharged locally, or through your nerve endings or intestinal cells. As compared to histamine receptors, proton pump inhibitors have long lasting effects in one dosage. Not only that, but PPIs are known to promote healing faster and more effectively.
3. Do You Have Acid Reflux: Find Out Using the Seven Day Test
Having uncertainties about your acid reflux? There’s a readily available diagnostic procedure that not only on saves on costs, but is also non-invasive. Your doctor will prescribe proton pump inhibitors or PPIs both for the treatment and diagnosis of your acid reflux and heartburn. Your doctor, however, may recommend supplemental doses depending on the severity of your case.
In diagnosing acid reflux for instance, they may administer a 40milligram dose of omeprazole in the morning and a dose of 20milligrams once again before bedtime. You should continue with this treatment for at least seven days.
The Results: It later on confirms the diagnosis of acid reflux when your symptoms are relieved after the seven-day test.
4. Reasons Proton Pump Inhibitors Are Selling Like a Hot Pancake
Although some patients may respond differently, proton pump inhibitors are highly effective in relieving acid reflux and heartburn. When receiving treatments, it is essential to take your medicine at least 30 minutes prior to breakfast or with a full meal to ensure its efficiency.
Has your physician prescribed you with proton pump inhibitors before? Let’s find out the commonly used brands of proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux and its generic counterparts:
- Nexium: Esomeprazole
- Protonix: Pantoprazole
- Aciphex: Rabeprazole
- Prevacid: Lansoprazole
- Prilosec: Omeprazole
Another reason why proton pump inhibitors are popular as a temporary fix is that that are not advisable for prolonged use. Any drug perhaps is not designed for long-term usage due to its side effects.
But because of its effectiveness, proton pump inhibitors have become one of the bestselling pharmaceutical products worldwide. In line with this, countless people have also become dependent on PPIs, and therefore have experienced its negative side effects.
5. Prolonged Use: Reasons PPIs Can Be Harmful for Your Health
Using this drug for a prolonged period of time has allowed some bacterial-related diseases to occur in some patients. In case you didn’t know, PPIs inhibit the secretion of acid in the stomach, which leaves it vulnerable to harmful microorganisms.
Along with this, proton pump inhibitors adversely affect the normal digestive process leading to more complicated diseases such as:
- C-Difficile: A type of bacterial infection that damages the colon.
- Bone Fractures: The lack of calcium usually leads to weaker bones.
- Pneumonia: A severe lung infection that can be fatal.
- Diarrhea: Loose bowel movements that can range from mild to severe.
- Calcium Deficiency: A negative side effect that thwarts the absorption of calcium.
According to a recent study, patients with weaker immune systems or those who have been hospitalized are more prone to develop pneumonia and C-difficile due to PPI side effects. The decrease in stomach acidity usually causes this. On the other hand, postmenopausal women with calcium deficiency develop a higher risk in getting a bone fracture involving their spine, hips and wrists.
6. Why Proton Pump Inhibitors Became a Household Name for Acid Reflux Sufferers
While some patients still depend on this type of drug after doctors have discharged them from the clinic, the setback seems to suggest the way physicians administer PPIs needs a closer look. In other words, there has to be stricter policies when it comes to anti-suppressant medicines and prescriptions to avoid patients developing the negative side effects.
It is vital to know of the side effects of whichever drug you are taking. You can start by reading the fine print within the labels or ask your physician about it. Of course, your doctor will still prescribe medicines, but you should incorporate all the necessary measures, including healthy changes in your diet for it to become more successful.
Even though GIs commonly prescribe drugs like lansoprazole, pantoprazole and omeprazole, patients may still deal with the adverse effects in the long run.
7. A Negative Twist: Ways PPIs Guard Against Bacteria
You should also know that there are two major roles of acid in your stomach:
- Acids help in digestion while also keeping bacteria away.
- Acids aid in getting rid of bacteria because of its nature.
In other words, these acids can kill bacteria, whether it’s good or bad. The lack thereof can lead to some imbalances, which in return weakens your immune system.
By this time, you know already that your stomach’s environment is naturally acidic. When acid is inhibited, it will be prone to bacterial infections. When you lay down after a meal, some food particles go up again to your esophagus and trachea. They can even travel all the way to your lungs, which will lead to bacterial pneumonia.
8. Reasons Proton Pump Inhibitors Contribute to Vitamin Deficiency
While taking PPIs, your bone health will likely suffer, as well. When you have too many PPIs in your system for prolonged period, you will develop calcium deficiency syndrome.
Your body will also lose another essential nutrient, such as vitamin B12. This is because PPIs block the absorption of vital vitamins, particularly vitamin B12.
Over time, you slowly use up all your stored vitamin B12. The lack of B12 causes numerous neurological symptoms.
This long term side effect makes your gastric levels go down to a point that your body’s absorption of calcium and other essential vitamins is compromised.
Patients with osteoporosis should take extra caution when using proton pump inhibitors. For this reason, you should only consider PPIs as a temporary fix.
9. Long Term Use: Reasons PPIs Can Your Tummy Troubles Even Worse
Clostridium difficile or C-difficile as mentioned earlier is also extremely dangerous. This bacterium can cause significant damage inside your body just like inflaming the walls of your colon.
We call this Colitis, which is a deadly form of diarrhea. It can be quite challenging as well because this bacterium is transmissible, and you can ingest it orally. We all know we can’t literally watch what we eat most of the time, especially if it is beyond what our eyes can see.
With a strong immune system however, you can guard your body against complex bacteria. This is the usual make up of our bodies, but frequently changing the usual environment can get you in trouble. This is the adverse effect of PPIs, and that is why doctors give them to patients on short-term basis only.
10. Quitting Too Late: When to Ease Yourself Off the Proton Pump Inhibitors
When you are starting to feel better, then it’s time to make certain adjustments with your dosage. Your physician knows this and will definitely suggest something with a lower dose. You have to remember that it’s highly effective and that you don’t have to take it any longer than what your physician has prescribed.
Worse things could happen even if one day you decide to stop your dependence on the drug cold turkey. Quitting the drug without slowly cutting back can even give you dyspepsia or hyperacidity due to the rebound effect.
To prevent rebound reflux, it is best to taper off your PPIs as soon as possible. Usually, professionals suggest a rate of 25 percent per week. If you get rebound acid reflux, lower the dosage and take longer to taper off.
11. Introducing Your Body to PPIs: What You Need to Know
Your body reacts whenever there is something new in your system. It goes the same when taking proton pump inhibitors for the first time. Let’s explore the possible reactions, in case you are new to this type of medicine, such as:
- At the start, PPI may cause diarrhea: This is due to the sudden change in your stomach’s environment.
- You may experience abdominal pain,as well: Anything that runs in your stomach can experience some slight to moderate changes. This makes it vulnerable to pains caused by gas build-up.
- Other times you will feel dizzy: The new chemical in your body is still adjusting, so expect feeling wobbly the first few days.
- Some people will have headaches: When you feel light headed, you will also likely have a headache later on.
- Others will develop fatigue: Your body will feel like riding in a roller coaster when a new substance is introduced for the first time.
- It can manifest in your skin and give you rashes: Others have different bodily reactions and it is not limited inside your body, it can also show on your skin.
- You will also feel nauseated at the beginning: Feeling nauseous is a normal gut reaction when you ingest something potent.
- Anxiety and depression may occur: In some rare cases, patients have developed anxiety and depression while taking the drug. Although this case is uncommon, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Just remember that proton pump inhibitors are just a temporary fix. There is more you can do. Keep on reading.
12. Don’t Rely On PPIs: Other Ways to Solve Your Stomach Problems
If you are constantly suffering from heartburn or acid reflux, you should look at the cause of the recurring condition, rather than finding a way to fix it.
As a matter of fact, a significant change in your usual eating habits can prevent you from being overly dependent on this drug. After all, the culprit lies in what you eat whether it is greasy, spicy or high in fat just like junk foods. Spicy foods can increase the secretion of acids.
Even foods like mint and chocolate can worsen symptoms of heartburn. They relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. If you find that your symptoms exacerbate after you eat a certain food, you should stop including them in your diet to see if you feel better.
13. Home Remedies: You Don’t Have to Depend on PPIs Forever
Acid reflux and heartburn can recur, but that doesn’t mean you always have to start at square one. When you already know the triggers, you also need to help yourself to stay away.
Alternatively, you can resort to home remedies to make you feel better. Depending on your case, natural home remedies are also effective in the treatment of your condition.
Let’s find out about the useful things in your garden or cupboard you didn’t even know would help your acid reflux or heartburn:
- Ginger: You can concoct a juicy treat made out of this and sip it slowly. This homemade remedy can be your quick fix for heartburn and hyperacidity.
- Carrots: Ever tried making carrot juice? This orange-colored veggie can be useful in giving you fast relief against acid reflux.
- Cabbages: If you have had enough of carrot juice, you can also use cabbage as an alternative. You can easily extract juices from fruits and vegetables because of the high performing juicers available in the market
- Baking Powder: Add baking soda to a glass of water to instantly relieve your acid build-up. Use this on occasional basis because baking soda has high amounts of salt
- Aloe Vera: If you don’t have aloe Vera in the backyard, it’s about time to plant it, or buy a plant for your home. Aloe vera extract is good for your tummy and esophagus. Not only does it get rid of the unnecessary acids in your stomach, it also lessens the inflammation around your esophagus, too.
- Gums: Saliva cleans out all the unwanted acids that stay inside your stomach. Chewing gums increases the flow of your saliva. That’s why some people use chewing gums after every meal. That makes a lot of sense, don’t you think?
- Banana: The natural acids contained in banana helps to ease symptoms of reflux.
- Mustard: It is an alkalizing food that is full of minerals. Mustard contains a weak acid in the form of vinegar that helps neutralize stomach acid.
14. The Wonder Antacid: The Restorative Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Okay, you might think this should count among the homemade remedies mentioned earlier. But there is one good reason why apple cider vinegar deserves a spot on the top 15. Since proton pump inhibitors are a temporary fix for acid reflux, the thought of anything acidic in your pantry shelf will definitely eliminate apple cider vinegar on the list of your natural antacids.
Apple cider vinegar after all, is made of acetic acid. So it’s still acid no matter how you try to say it. But acetic acid is a mild form of acid so it won’t change the environment of your stomach drastically.
You know by now how drastic changes in your system can lead to adverse reaction. Thus, apple cider vinegar can help in controlling the acids in your stomach in a conservative way. And just for the record, most over-the-counter antacids have that same principle.
15. Simply Ways You Can Avoid Acid Reflux Along With a Little Perseverance
Now that we have seen the facts and the possible side effects of PPIs, is it safe to assume that there are safer alternatives to relieve acid reflux? Yes, and no. Proton pump inhibitors are still the best medication available to treat your condition. Your doctor can only recommend a healthier lifestyle and give advice on which foods to avoid.
For the sake of knowing, here is a list of the food and drinks that aggravate heartburn and acid reflux.
- Caffeine: Just like sodas, your favorite coffee drink is also high in caffeine. Caffeine whether in soft drinks, tea or in coffee can cause terrible heartburn. This is due to the high amounts of caffeine they put into these types of beverages. As an option, you can always go for a round of decaf next time you order your coffee.
- Alcohol: Your physician will likely advise you not to drink alcohol for some obvious reasons. While it’s safe to assume that it is the sugar content that you are avoiding, there’s more to your favorite drink than sugar.
Alcohol relaxes your esophageal sphincter, so it comes as no surprise why you are experiencing the most horrible acid reflux after sipping something alcoholic.
- Chocolate: Sure you love chocolate, but if you are frequently having bouts with acid reflux after finishing a chocolate bar, it’s time to take it easy. Just like coffee, chocolate contains sugar and caffeine, which are triggers for acid reflux.
You can opt for dark chocolate as an alternative, but since chocolate is basically made of cocoa, you may still experience heartburn one way or another, so if you must indulge, take it easy and eat a small amount at a time.
- Tomatoes and Sauces: Tomatoes contain high amounts of acid, which only makes sense to avoid if you are suffering from acid reflux. But not only you will have to avoid eating them as a whole, you also need to avoid certain condiments that are made of them.
You know the drill, just read the labels or find another alternative for sauces when making your favorite pasta.
- Citrus Fruits: Most fruits contain acid while some of these are made of pure citrus. Citrus fruit means citric acid. By all means it would cause a reflux when your body digests these types of fruit. Some of them include lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges.
- Carbonated Drinks: There are some carbonated products, which are low in caffeine, but the volume of gas in carbonated beverages can accumulate inside your tummy. It’s all about those bubbles, and once you burp, there is a certain amount of space that allows the acid to reflux. So once again, you have another yummy treat to avoid.
- Greasy Foods: Greasy foods when eaten in high amounts or on an empty stomach can cause a high level of stomach acids. It is best to avoid anything fried, for that matter. Instead, go for steamed meats and vegetables.
It’s going to be a long road ahead when it comes to changing your lifestyle. There are food and drinks that are quite impossible to stay away from. Thankfully, proton pump inhibitors can serve as your temporary fix for acid reflux.
But since it’s just temporary and you don’t want to develop negative side effects for the long run, it will help a lot if you just follow your doctor’s advice. When you go on an appointment, make sure to discuss your eating habits and what other suggestions they can give, aside from taking medicines.