What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), happens when stomach acid moves into your oesophagus, he tube connecting your mouth and stomach. Acid reflux can cause irritation within the oesophagus and is a main symptom of heartburn.

Mild acid reflux can be treated with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medicines. More severe cases of acid reflux may require attention from your GP.



Symptoms of acid reflux


The most common symptoms of acid reflux include:
  • Heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest
  • Regurgitation of liquids
  • Unpleasant tastes in your mouth

Symptoms are often heightened after eating or at night when lying down.

Milder symptoms of acid reflux include:
  • Recurrent coughing or hiccups
  • A hoarse voice
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Nausea

How to treat acid reflux


Speak to your pharmacist


If you have severe or frequently recurring symptoms of acid reflux, speak to your local pharmacist for advice.

They can recommend over the counter relief to help acid reflux and associated symptoms.

If you have already consulted your pharmacist, made recommended lifestyle changes, and still have severe symptoms often, see your GP.



Relieve reflux yourself


Lifestyle changes can help you to relieve symptoms of reflux such as:

  • Eating smaller portion sizes at mealtimes
  • Avoiding food for a few hours before bedtime
  • Using an extra pillow to raise your chest and head above your waist when sleeping
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Avoiding triggering food
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Wearing loose fitting clothes


Omeprazole


Taking medicines containing omeprazole, like Pyrocalm Control, can help to relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Your GP can also prescribe medicines containing omeprazole.

Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid your stomach makes and should be taken once a day in the morning.

Common side effects of omeprazole include headaches, diarrhoea and stomach pain. These tend to be mild side effects and dissipate when you stop taking the medicine. Do not take omeprazole for longer than 2 weeks without checking with a doctor.

Omeprazole can be taken by adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.