Is this Reflux or GERD?

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I sometimes get heartburn during my monthly cycle. But this time, right before my cycle I caught a stomach virus from my 2 year old and this of course triggered terrible reflux for me. I get burning in my chest. Discomfort in my arm and sometimes my back. Can a stomach virus make heartburn symptoms worse? I am currently prescribed Ranitidine but it doesn't seem to help. I take pepcid every once in a while and it helps a little. Any thoughts?

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  • Posted

    Hello, the proneness you had to heartburn before this virus will likely have been increased by any vomiting acid/pespin irritation and burning of your oesophagus, so your tissues maybe need to heal a bit. Perhaps you could take your pepsid a bit more until, hopefully, things settle? If it persists then obviously a visit to your doc would be wise.

    You could also stick to some of the usual ways for minimising the aggravation of these troubles - smaller, frequent meals rather than large ones, avoidance of foods that are high-fat, high-salt, onions, peppers, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol. minty things. etc. And take care not to squash your stomach by bending and exercise. Don't eat too soon before bed, if you're suffering at night as well. Stress, too, won't help, though your child might put paid to your effort in that department! Best wishes.

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    • Posted

      Thank you, Paul for your insight. I figured it must have been the excessive vomiting that caused this irritation because of all the times that I've had heartburn it has never behaved so badly. What heartburn medicines have been the most effective in your opinion? I have tried Prilosec and Ranitidine and they don't help. I'm just now trying the Famotidine but just like everything else, it'll prove to be useful at first and then quit working.
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    • Posted

      Hello, in my case with the heartburn through gastritis, that is now generally only now and then, I have found simple strawberry gaviscon tablets have helped with the initial burn. But obviously where burning is more frequent and over a long time a person might want or be better off with another medicine as well. If you could do ok with something as basic as that, or maybe another variety of gaviscon, that would be good.

      Pepcid and ranitidine are are h2-blockers, which, similar to PPI medicines, also lower the amount of acid your stomach produces. Prilosec is a PPI. These are the kind of meds your doctor should tell you are needed, rather than you use them perhaps unnecessarilly. Famotidine, by the way, is pepcid. If you have a reflux event, then to take an antacid like gaviscon could help with that. But the use of these other meds is for your doc to judge really, depending on how troubled you are and how frequent the reflux. Are your pains constant? After meals?

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    • Posted

      No this has only occurred like this since the virus. Prior to that I would get it occasionally during "that time" (sorry). But it is never anything that the Ranitidine and or Gaviscon couldn't fix. I try to experiment with what I feel helps but since I've never had it do this before I had no frame of reference.
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    • Posted

      No apology needed. Perfectly natural. Bear in mind that the h2-blockers and PPIs are meant to work over time, being taken regularly to lower acid production. They are not for using after a reflux event or burning. Antacids, like Gaviscon, are for them.

      If an acid-reducer is going to be helpful this time for use longer term, then your doc would advise, unless you choose to see how Pepcid or something else helps without your doc's involvement. That is up to you, but I think it would be best to have the doc's advice.

      If you do use such a med, hopefully when you reach the point you want to stop using it, don't just suddenly stop. You need to come off an h2-blocker or PPI slowly, like, say, if you were having two pills per day, drop down to one a day for a week or so, then to one every other day and so on, using an antacid if need be for any reflux events. This slow process is to try to prevent acid rebound, where more acid is produced than what used to be normally.

      But the other measures I mentioned about meal-size and so on are worth trying too, and worth sticking with even if you get well again. And I hope you do.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your help and resourcefulness. I will try the tips you provided. I guess I just need to exercise patience with trying these meds. My conclusions of "this one didn't work" is usually after inconsistent trials. I always expect immediate relief.
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    • Posted

      You're welcome. Yes, patience is definitely needed with these troubles, and even then eliminating them entirely isn't common. Best wishes to you.
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