Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Classic heartburn is described as a burning sensation in the upper abdomen
that may radiate to the upper chest and may be associated with a bad taste in the
back of the throat. It is important to note that many of these symptoms also are
associated with heart
attack or angina. Unless the diagnosis of heartburn is well established,
individuals with chest pain should consider seeking emergent medical care. This is
especially true in those with significant risk factors for heart disease
including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a family
history of heart disease or stroke.
Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) is an
OTC liquid medication
recommended by many for the treatment of
nausea, and diarrhea.
The bismuth often will cause
black stools (usually
this is not a concern). The compound has anti-secretory, antibacterial,
and anti-acid properties, but should not be used in infants, young children, or
women who are breastfeeding
to avoid the chance of causing Reye syndrome. Bicarbonate
tablets (for example, Alka-Seltzer, Bromo-Seltzer) are recommended to relieve
heartburn and indigestion because they reduce stomach acidity.
Phazyme) is an OTC medication used to
reduce/relieve gas and the feeling of stomach bloating.
Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) may be
taken to control nausea and vomiting. It
is also recommended for motion sickness and
dizziness. It should not be used
with sedatives as it may increase drowsiness.
Emetrol is an OTC medication that relieves nausea and vomiting. It is a mixture of
carbohydrate-rich sugars that is also relatively safe for children and
women (with a doctor's approval). People with diabetes should not use this
medication because of the high sugar content. Continued nausea and vomiting may
result in dehydration, and
these symptoms may signal a more serious illness. If
the symptoms persist, it is reasonable to contact you health care practitioner.
A variety of OTC medications are now available to help treat
indigestion. They include H2 blockers (a type of antihistamine that helps
control acid secretion in the stomach) such as
cimetidine (Tagamet) and
ranitidine (Zantac). Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) decrease acid production
through a different pathway and include medications such as
(Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid).
Calcium carbonate (for example, Caltrate 600, Os-Cal 500, Rolaids, Tums),
aluminum hydroxide (for example, ALternaGEL, Dialume), and
(Phillips Milk of Magnesia) are antacids that work immediately to relieve acid
indigestion and heartburn. They are available in both chewable tablets and liquid forms.
Aluminum based antacids may cause
constipation, and the magnesium
based products may cause diarrhea. Maalox is a combination of the two types of antacids.
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