GERD Relief: When Prilosec and Pepcid don’t resolve your heartburn

What do Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day all have in common? For me, there are the obvious good times with family and friends! But, do you know what else these types of celebrations can cause? Heartburn. While occasional heartburn from party favorites like alcohol, fatty foods and sodas is very common, chronically experiencing this symptom could signify a more serious condition. 
 
If you have frequent symptoms of heartburn, acid indigestion, chest pain or regurgitation (wet burps) you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). And, you wouldn’t be alone. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of Americans have GERD on a daily basis; many live with GERD, treating it with over-the-counter medications and antacids. Despite this, GERD continues to remain a frustrating disease. 
 
Medications have always been the primary and first line treatment for patients with GERD. These include antacids, H2 blockers (Zantac, Pepcid) and proton pump inhibitors or PPIs (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix). In particular, PPIs are heavily marketed as providing 24-hour relief. But, as many folks have come to realize, they don’t control all of the symptoms, with as few as 50 percent of patients getting complete 24-hour relief. In addition, some of the symptoms, such as heartburn, may improve, but not other symptoms, such as chest pain and regurgitation. Some of these are also associated with severe side effects with long-term use, such as osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), colon infections, heart disease, kidney disease and even early dementia.
 
What can you do if over-the-counter heartburn treatment doesn’t address all of your symptoms? Consider meeting with a GERD specialist. At Prevea, we have a dedicated Heartburn Treatment Center with state-of-the-art equipment to provide a comprehensive evaluation for GERD and other related diseases. We are the only center of its type in Northeast Wisconsin. 
 
And as a minimally invasive foregut surgeon, I see and treat patients with GERD. While you may think surgical intervention is drastic, I assure you it’s an effective option for treatment; almost 90 percent of those that undergo surgery are able to come off their GERD medications and consider themselves GERD-free. When a patient is considering surgery, I counsel patients on surgical treatment options and I work closely with our gastroenterologists and other providers at the Heartburn Treatment Center to make sure surgery is the best option.
 
So just remember, the next time you’re regretting having all those brats and drinks the night before, know that there are more options than just living with GERD, you can potentially fix it, permanently.
 
To get connected to a GERD specialist in Green Bay call (920) 429-1700 or in Sheboygan call (920) 457-4400.
 

About the Author

Hassanain Jassim, MD is a fellowship-trained minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon with Prevea Health. He completed medical school at Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and a general surgery residency at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Dr. Jassim completed his fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. As a specialized surgeon in the Green Bay area, Dr. Jassim is passionate about providing patients with the best care possible and forming strong relationships with patients.