One of the many negative side effects of our high-stress, fast-food lifestyle is digestive distress in the form of heartburn or acid reflux, often symptoms of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Very often, as a result of our fast-paced lifestyle, we instinctively look for a quick fix – usually an over-the-counter drug ranging from calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, etc.) to omeprazole, an effective proton pump inhibitor (PPI) now available without a prescription.
You should know several things before considering self-treatment of GERD. As with nearly all minor ailments, your first choice should be to consider diet and lifestyle changes that could eliminate these symptoms with no negative side effects. Try reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine (coffee, sodas, and chocolate) and spicy foods. Eating smaller meals can help, as can losing weight.