Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, or otherwise known as hearburn can be experienced sporadically or if experience more frequently, can be diagnosed as GORD (gastro oesophageal reflux disease).

What is it / Presentation

GORD or reflux occours when there's been excessive acid production 

When this valve becomes loose or is prevented from tightening around the top of the stomach the stomach contents can travel back up the oesophagus to the mouth again.  This results in an acid taste in the mouth from the stomach acids, and vomit from the partially digested food and fluids.

Certain foods, medicines and medical conditions can make this worse, either temporarily or permanently, and may result in damage to the oesophagus if not treated effectively.   


  • Large meals 
  • Lying down after a meal
  • Overweight
  • Snacking close to bedtime
  • Eating certain foods such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods
  • Drinking certain beverages such as alcohol, fizzy drinks, coffee or tea
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant
  • Taking aspirin, ibuprofen, certain muscle relaxants or certain blood pressure medications.


Common Symptoms:

  • Heartburn – a burning pain or discomfort felt behind your breastbone that may move up into your throat
  • Regurgitation – a metallic or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat or mouth

Other Possible Symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing or a sensation of food being stuck in your throat
  • Hiccups
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness or chronic sore throat

Often the condition is worse at night, when lying down, or after a large, rich or spicy meal, or when feeling tired or stressed.

Non-Pharmacological Management 

  • Weight loss if over weight
  • Avoid smoking and/or alcohol 
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than three large meals a day can help. Make sure you have your evening meal three or four hours before bedtime
  • Identify and avoid triggers - These may include: alcohol, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, or fatty or spicy food 
  • Stress management 
  • Elevate the head of the bed


  • Antacids (Mylanta, Gaviscon) - Rapid onset, short duration of action helpful for mild, intermittent or breakthrough symptoms
    For best results take 1–3 hours after meal
    Available Over The Counter (OTC) 

  • H2 Antagonists (Famotidine, Ranitidine, Nizatidine) - Onset takes 30-60 minutes, longer duration of action than antacids, useful for mild and/or intermittent symptoms

         Available on Prescription 

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (OTC: Esomeprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprazole) - Symptom relief is not immediate additional treatment with an antacid may be required. Longer duration of action and symptom control useful for moderate to severe symptoms and for patients who are unresponsive to other treatments. 

         Available Over The Counter (OTC) 


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