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Medication for Treating Acid Reflux and Heartburn

It is not uncommon for people in Singapore to experience acid reflux or heartburn. Acid reflux is a common condition that occurs when the stomach acids back up into the esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation and discomfort. Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medications as an easy solution to treat the symptoms of acid reflux. But do these OTC medications really work?

In general, there are 3 types of medication for the treatment of heartburn:

Antacids For Acid Reflux / Heartburn

Antacid medications are commonly used to treat acid reflux in Singapore. These medications work by neutralizing the stomach acids, thus providing relief from heartburn and other symptoms associated with acid reflux. Antacids are typically available in both liquid and tablet forms and can be easily purchased in your local pharmacies.

When taking antacids, it is important to follow the instructions carefully. Avoid taking more than two doses per day as this may result in side effects such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these side effects while taking antacids, stop using them immediately and consult a doctor for further professional advice.

The bottom line is that these OTC medications may offer some temporary relief from acid reflux by blocking the action of an enzyme in the wall of the stomach. It is important to note that antacids are not a long-term solution for managing acid reflux and it’s best if used in conjunction with a doctor’s treatment plan. If you experience frequent episodes of heartburn or other symptoms of acid reflux, it would be best to consult a doctor or specialist as soon as possible so that he can assess your condition and provide the appropriate treatments. When taking antacids, remember to monitor your progress carefully and seek medical attention if there are no improvements after taking them for two weeks or more.

Histamine-2 (H2) Blockers In Treating Acid Reflux and Heartburn

Histamine-2 (H2) blockers are a type of medication commonly used to treat acid reflux and heartburn. H2 blockers work by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical messenger that signals the body to produce more stomach acids which can lead to irritation in the esophagus. By reducing this response, H2 blockers help relieve symptoms of acid reflux such as burning sensations and discomfort. H2 blockers are available in both prescription and non-prescription forms.

When taken as directed, H2 blockers can help prevent and reduce acid reflux symptoms. They are generally safe and well-tolerated but may cause side effects in some cases such as headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhea. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your doctor.

Additionally, it’s important to note that H2 blockers do not treat the underlying causes of acid reflux. For long-term relief, lifestyle changes such as avoiding trigger foods and losing weight may be necessary. If you have moderate to severe heartburn or acid reflux, talk to your doctor about additional treatment options.

What Happens If These Medications Don't Work for My Acid Reflux

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of medication used to treat heartburn and acid reflux. PPIs work by blocking the action of an enzyme in the wall of the stomach that causes it to produce acids. By reducing the amount of acid, PPIs help to reduce symptoms such as burning sensations, chest pain and regurgitation.

Although PPIs are generally safe, they can cause side effects such as headaches, nausea and constipation. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of these side effects or if your condition does not improve after taking the medication. Additionally, PPIs are designed to be used for short-term relief and should not be taken for more than 8 weeks without a doctor’s approval.

Overall, proton pump inhibitors can provide effective long-term relief from acid reflux when used properly in combination with lifestyle changes and other treatments recommended by a doctor.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) In Treating Acid Reflux and Heartburn

If you’ve tried using over-the-counter antacids for your acid reflux or other prescribed medication by your doctor without seeing any improvement, it’s time to consider other treatment options. It is important to note that medications such as antacids are not a long-term solution for managing acid reflux and if used for extended periods of time, can actually make the condition worse.

There are several steps you can take if medications don't work your acid reflux:


Change Your Diet

Making dietary changes can help reduce the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Avoid foods that trigger the symptoms of heartburn such as spicy or acidic foods, fatty and fried foods, tomatoes and citrus fruits, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate. Eating smaller meals more frequently and avoiding large meals before bedtime can also be beneficial.


Lose Weight

If you are overweight, it is important to start a weight loss program as obesity can aggravate acid reflux symptoms. Eat fewer calories and plan your meals around healthy food choices such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Exercise regularly to help burn off excess calories.


Elevate Your Bed

Prop up the head of your bed or place a wedge between the mattress and box spring so that your body stays in an upright position during sleep. This will help keep stomach acid from coming back up into your esophagus while you're sleeping.


Avoid Smoking

Nicotine increases stomach acid production, which can worsen acid reflux. Quitting smoking can not only help reduce your risk of other health problems, but improve your acid reflux symptoms as well.



In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct the underlying problem with the oesophageal sphincter and prevent food and stomach acids from going back up into the oesophagus. This procedure is called fundoplication. Dr Kan is experienced in performing this type of surgery and can help you determine if it's a viable treatment option.

He has extensive experience in treating GERD and can help you find the best course of action to take in order to get lasting relief from your condition.

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Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.