Common Causes of GERD (Acid Reflux)

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Acid RefluxGastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is an incredibly common digestive issue. According to one recent study, one in five people in the western world suffer from GERD at least once a year, and one in ten suffer from acid reflux on a regular (sometimes daily) basis.

The symptoms of acid reflux are worse in older people. Acid reflux is common during pregnancy, and people who are overweight, obese, or a smoker are at a greater risk of experiencing symptoms.

However, even if you do not belong to one of those at-risk groups, you could still find yourself suffering from acid reflux. The condition can be aggravated by certain lifestyle choices, and there are some medications that can cause acid reflux too.

How Acid Reflux Happens

In most cases of acid reflux, the cause is an issue with the lower esophageal sphincter. If this sphincter is weak, or is relaxed when it should not be, then it will allow stomach acid to escape from the stomach and move into the gullet. This acid then damages the esophagus, causing the sensation that we refer to as heartburn.

doctorDoctors are unsure why some people have weak lower esophageal sphinter muscles. People who are pregnant can suffer from GERD because the growing fetus puts pressure on the stomach, and the contents of the stomach are allowed to escape when the LES acts like a valve.

People who eat high fat diets can suffer from GERD because the fat in their diet takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.This means that there is a greater build up of food in the stomach, creating more pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, and therefore increasing the likelihood of acid escaping.

Smoking, drinking alcohol and eating or drinking things that contain caffeine can weaken or relax the lower esophageal sphincter and causes of GERD (Acid Reflux) . In addition, people who suffer from a hiatus hernia can experience GERD because the stomach is pushed up through the diaphragm. This can force the hole in the lower esophagus to enlarge, allowing stomach acid to escape more easily.

Medications That Can Cause GERD

There are several medications that can cause symptoms of GERD, either by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter or increasing gastric acid secretions. Medications that can cause GERD-like secretions include caclim-channel blockers, non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, bisphosphates, nitrates and some antidepressants

Can Fluoxetine Cause Acid Reflux?

fluoxetineFluoxetine is an SSRI – a form of antidepressant. Some people do experience GERD as a side-effect of taking SSRIs, however not everyone will experience this side effect.

Tricyclic antidepressants can also cause GERD, so you should talk to your doctor closely and work with them to decide what to do next.

What To Do If You Think Your Medication Is Causing Heartburn

If you think that taking fluoxetine is causing heartburn, or you are experiencing unpleasant side-effects from other medications such as SSRIs, then you should talk to your doctor as quickly as possible.Do not stop taking prescription medications without speaking to a doctor first. Stopping taking medications without checking with your doctor first could be very dangerous.

Always read the label on the medication that you are taking, and do not take more than the recommended dose. In addition, make sure that you are taking the medication in accordance with the instructions provided. This means that you may need to time your medications carefully because some medications should be taken on an empty stomach while others should be taken with or after food.

VitaminsWhen you contact your doctor about your issue with medications, make sure that you tell your doctor about everything that you are taking – not just prescription medications but also over-the-counter products, vitamins, minerals and other supplements.

Even herbal medication can interact with your prescription medications and cause undesirable side-effects. In some cases your doctor may be able to change the delivery method of the medication.For example, NSAIDs can be taken in both pill format and cream format, but creams tend to cause fewer side effects.

One thing that many people do not realise is that it is not a good idea to lie down immediately after taking certain types of prescription medication. Anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids, for example, can cause heartburn if you lie down after taking them. Simply staying upright for 30 minutes after taking the medication can ease your symptoms.

Fluoxetine is an important medication, and you should not stop taking it just because of heartburn. Talk to your doctor about medications that can treat your heartburn, and ask them if there are some lifestyle changes that you could make that would both improve your overall health and help to prevent heartburn and acid reflux. You may be able to find a way to stay on your medication while also lessening the symptoms.

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