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Medicines can cause heartburn
Millions of people suffer from heartburn. The uncomfortable burning sensation in the throat and the acid regurgitation are often triggered by rich fat meals, smoking or stress. But certain medications can also cause heartburn.
Heartburn triggered by reflux Millions of people in this country suffer from heartburn, which is often triggered by the so-called reflux disease (also called reflux). The German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) also points out in its updated guideline "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease" that heartburn, burning throat and acid regurgitation are possible signs of a reflux disease. Accordingly, medication is particularly suitable for the unpleasant acid transfer.
Various medications can cause heartburn. Gastroenterologists should examine those affected because the reflux disease can damage the esophagus and even lead to cancer. "The main cause of the symptoms can be medicinal products that relax the lower esophageal sphincter and thereby promote the reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus," explained Professor Dr. med. Stephan Miehlke from the Gastrointestinal Center in Hamburg-Eppendorf. The expert was instrumental in creating the DGVS guideline. Medications for the treatment of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, asthma, urinary incontinence, as well as estrogen preparations for hormone therapy and psychotropic drugs with anxiolytic effects are considered.
There are better alternatives for some drugs. Some painkillers and rheumatism drugs, as well as medications for the treatment of osteoporosis, iron deficiency and some antibiotics sometimes cause heartburn. "In particular, certain painkillers, namely the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs' or, in short, NSAIDs, can also cause inflammation in the esophagus," explained Miehlke. It is important that both the doctor and the patient have an eye on what the patient is taking. The expert continued: “Of course, medication prescribed by the doctor should not simply be discontinued. But there are better tolerated alternatives for one or the other preparation. ”
At the first signs to the doctor If the backflow of gastric acid into the esophagus causes disturbing symptoms and complications, doctors speak of a reflux disease. Affected people should see a doctor at the first sign. "The disease should be treated if the symptoms appear once or twice a week and the patient feels that this affects their quality of life," said guidelines coordinator Professor Dr. Wolfgang Schepp, chief physician at the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Gastroenterological Oncology at the Bogenhausen Clinic in Munich.
Treatment with medication As a rule, the disease can be treated effectively with medication that inhibits stomach acid production - so-called proton pump inhibitors. However, various studies indicate that this form of therapy often remains ineffective in some patients. If the reflux symptoms persist for several years, a gastroenterologist should examine the mucous membrane of the esophagus with the help of an endoscope, the guideline says. The doctor can identify tissue changes such as the so-called "Barrett's esophagus" (endobrachyesophagus), which is considered a precancer and should be treated early.
Improvement through lifestyle changes Sometimes changes in lifestyle and everyday life can bring about an improvement, especially for people who are overweight or obese. "It is often helpful for overweight patients to lose weight and those who cannot tolerate certain foods and drinks can try to do without them," says Schepp. In addition, patients with nighttime complaints should avoid late meals and raise the head of the bed. The expert advises against sleeping pills, because they also sometimes aggravate the symptoms. Since stress can also trigger heartburn, relaxation exercises to relieve stress, such as yoga, can be used as a preventative measure. Other home remedies for heartburn are methods to stimulate digestion, for example by chewing the food extensively ("fletching"). (ad)