Acid Reflux Medication Not Working – What Can I Do?

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acid reflux medication not working

I often hear people saying things like their prilosec is not working or whatever medication they may be taking like zantac, tums and nexium to name just a few. Luckily though if your medication is not working for treating your acid reflux there are still a host of things you can do to get relief and even prevent and cure symptoms from happening again. 

Of course the first thing people may think of is changing their medication to another type and while of course this is possible it often isn’t the best solution. Below I am going to talk about the options you have available to you and why you should consider each of them.

Diet

It might not be what everyone wants to hear but diet is often the trigger of acid reflux for a lot of people. Often for people it can just be a matter of eliminating trigger foods, whereas for others they may need to follow a more strict acid reflux diet plan like the Wipeout Diet. What I would always recommend is to start eliminating the most troublesome foods and drinks that can trigger acid reflux in the first place. Here are the most common triggers foods/drinks for acid reflux – 

  • Spicy food
  • Fatty food / deep fried food
  • CItrus fruits
  • Soft drinks / fruit juice etc.
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Tomatoes, onions, garlic

These foods and drinks are the most common triggers. Often for a lot of people simply eliminating these foods is the best course of action to prevent and stop any acid reflux problems. For more information on these trigger foods and why they aren’t good check out my complete guide on acid reflux.

Lifestyle Changes

Just like diet some lifestyle changes can bring on acid reflux. Below I am going to mention some of the most prominent changes that can bring on and worsen acid reflux. Often rectifying these will lessen symptoms and even for some can completely stop problems.  

Overeating

When you overeat this puts more pressure on the stomach and more importantly the valve above the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This pressure makes the valve more likely to open up and cause acid reflux in the first place. The easy and simple solution to this is to eat smaller meals – ideally about the size of your fist. You can eat the same amount throughout the day but more frequent smaller meals per day is always better than fewer larger meals.

Sleeping After Eating

One important thing to not do is to sleep soon after you eat. The similar principle applies to adding more pressure to the LES which in turn makes acid reflux much more likely. 

The simple piece of advice is wait a least 3 hours before laying down after eating. The reasoning behind this is because you don’t have the added advantage of gravity keeping the food and acid down in the stomach so this puts more pressure on the LES thus increasing the likelihood of acid reflux.

Being overweight – just like with overeating when someone is overweight, particularly in the stomach area this gives added pressure to the LES because of the added weight pressing down on the stomach and LES. This added pressure as you may have guessed makes acid reflux more likely. For some people who are overweight this could be the main contributing factor and if they were to lose weight then perhaps that would be enough to eradicate their acid reflux altogether. 

Medication

Some of the most popular medication for acid reflux include standard antacid tablets like tums. Then you have stronger options called H2 blockers like ranitidine and also PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) like omeprazole which are considered one of the strongest options. All these tablets focus on making the stomach contents more alkaline using different techniques. 

In terms of medication changing the medication to another variation may prove helpful but usually it would be better to change from one variety to another. Going from one version of PPI to another version of PPI likely won’t be that helpful, though it’s not impossible of course.

In terms of medicine I would recommend Gaviscon advance ideally the uk version. The reason I like Gaviscon is because how it works is slightly different to the alkalizing effect of the other medicines. You still get that effect alkalizing effect here but you get another important added bonus. 

That being that gaviscon helps create a foam like barrier on top of the stomach contents. This barrier helps acid from refluxing up into the esophagus and even the throat(silent reflux). The reason I suggest the Gaviscon advance (uk version) is because of the high content of an important ingredient called alginate which is the ingredient which helps create the raft, you can read more about it here – why gaviscon advance is the best gaviscon for acid reflux.

Alternative Medicine

Baking Soda 

Probably one of the more well known alternative options is baking soda. You simply add some baking soda to water and mix it well. Basically what it does is it makes a highly alkaline mixture which makes for an effective mixture to neutralize acid in the stomach. You can read more about it here and how to make the mixture yourself – baking soda for heartburn.

Melatonin

For people with normal acid reflux or GERD there has been studies like this melatonin study that have been shown that melatonin is effective for treating acid reflux symptoms. 

If you didn’t know melatonin is usually taken to help people sleep. It is a hormone that is found naturally in the body and is produced in the pineal gland in the brain to help us sleep. Though importantly here it is also produced in high quantities in the digestive tract which is part of how it can help with the healing of the tract and the function of the LES etc. The one issue with using it is that it can take 1-2 months to see improvement. You can read more about it here – melatonin for acid reflux.

Acid Reflux Medication Not Working – Conclusion

Overall there are a host of reasons why you can have acid reflux in the first place – you can read more about that – acid reflux / GERD – the ultimate guide. Always consider what can be causing my acid reflux in the first place and if that is easily fixable before considering if you want to help your naturally or with medicine.

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