Why Do I Get Heartburn?
Heartburn and acid ingestion are common problems that occur when strong acid from your stomach backs up into the esophagus causing irritation.
What Can I Do for Heartburn?
Occasional heartburn is often addressed with antacid medications. These products work by neutralizing the acid and provide quick relief that lasts a short period of time.
For longer-lasting relief, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter H2 blocker like ranitidine or famotidine. Typically, these medications take effect in about an hour and work by reducing the amount of acid produced by your stomach.
How Is GERD Treated?
If you suffer from chronic heartburn due to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, your doctor may suggest that you use a stronger over-the-counter medication called a proton pump inhibitor that can dramatically decrease stomach acid production. These drugs include omeprazole and lansoprazole.
Solutions for Bowel Troubles
Constipation and diarrhea can both interfere with your daily life. If your symptoms are not caused by an underlying medical condition, your doctor may recommend that you use over-the-counter drugs to manage them when they strike.
How Do Laxatives Work?
Laxatives are products that are used to alleviate constipation and help you move your bowels more regularly. Some work by increasing stool size by adding bulk or water. Others stimulate the reflex to go, soften stools or make them more slippery.
Your doctor can discuss the various types with you and help you choose the right option.
What Works for Diarrhea?
There are two over-the-counter drugs that may be recommended for diarrhea: loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate. Loperamide can help slow down the movement of food through the digestive system to help stools form properly. Bismuth subsalicylate can help control how much fluid enters your stools and can help fight inflammation in the intestines.
What Can I Take for Nausea?
Often, vomiting and nausea are signs of illness that clear up once the infection passes. However, in some cases you may benefit from an over-the-counter medication to soothe your symptoms. If you experience nausea due to motion sickness, an antihistamine like dimenhydrinate or meclizine hydrochloride could help to alleviate your symptoms. These medicines can help to block some of the nerve signals sent from the inner ear to the area of the brain that controls nausea and vomiting. In some cases, bismuth subsalicylate may ease nausea symptoms caused by conditions other than motion sickness by easing irritation in the stomach.
Natural Solutions for Digestive Health
Doctors sometimes recommend supplements to promote ongoing digestive health. Probiotics are the most popular of these natural remedies for the digestive system. A probiotic supplement may help to replenish the body's natural supply of healthy bacteria that assist with digestion and immune system function. back to top »