Many Montrealers suffer from GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease. This disease is chronic, meaning people suffer from it for many years. Perhaps you suffer from it yourself of you know a person or two who is drinking pepto bismal like it is soda pop.
Montrealers will go to their family doctors or walk in clinic if they are concerned about GERD. The doctor will then refer them to a gastroenterologist. If you prefer a private clinic you can try: The Montreal Clinic J.S. Benhamron for Gastroenterology, the consultation is covered by medicare.
How to Treat GERD
When you have heartburn, you reach for the over-the-counter drugs. This is also the first line of treatment for GERD. If these medications don’t work the doctor will prescribe prescription medical or surgery.
Common over-the-counter drugs that are used to treat GERD
Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
We have all had heartburn from time to time and have used various antacids such as Mylanta, Rolaids, Maalux, Gelusil, Pepto Bismal, and Tums. These products are effective for simple heartburn and indigestion. They neutralize stomach acid. However, the cannot repair the stomach, esophagus, or GI tract ,that has been damaged by GERD. Over using these products can have serious side effects such as diarrhea or constipation.
H-2-receptor blockers are medications that reduce the production of acid in the stomach. These medications include; famotidine (Pepcid AC) , cimetidine (Tagamet HB), ranitidine (Zantac 25, Zantac 75, Zantac 150 ), or nizatidine (Axid AR). Even though H-2 receptor blockers do not work as quickly as the antacids, they do provide longer relief. These medications can be purchased in prescription form as well.
Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors block the production of acid in the stomach and allow the esophagus time to repair itself. These over-the-counter medications include: omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) and lansoprazole (Prevacid 24 HR).
Word of caution: If you are using these medications more than twice a week, you must let your doctor know about it. These medications may not be strong enough for your condition or have harmful side effects if taken for an extended period of time.