Common But Dangerous Side Effects Of Heartburn Associated With Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis

A viewer stated on the Facebook Fan Page, "I have been on Dialysis for several years now and I have been suffering Chronic Heartburn and nothing seems to work. If the heartburn is bad enough I will have extreme nausea and start vomiting until my whole body aches from throwing up so much. Please help and tell me what is a safe over the counter medication to take?"

Recommended Reading: Link Between Heartburn, Acid Reflux, Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes That You Should Know About

Although about half of American adults experience some form of heartburn at least once a month, many Chronic Kidney Disease patients especially those who conduct regular Dialysis Treatments suffer with Chronic Heartburn more frequently likely due to stress or water removal during Dialysis. Hence, the stomach and esophagus become irritated and that is partially what causes heartburn. What most find surprising is that heartburn has absolutely nothing to do with the heart.

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Heartburn, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a condition in which gastric (digestive fluid formed in the stomach) contents and acid flow up from the stomach into the esophagus ("food pipe"). The hallmark symptoms of GERD are heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest and throat),  regurgitation (a sensation of acid backed up in the esophagus) of bitter or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, and excessive clearing of the throat. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "Obesity contributes to GERD, and it may increase the risk for erosive esophagitis (severe inflammation in the esophagus) in GERD patients."

Recommended Reading: Does “Healthy Obesity” Really Exist For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Who Conduct Dialysis?

Chronic Kidney Disease patients can relieve or prevent their Chronic Heartburn symptoms by avoiding coffee, greasy or spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint, tomatoes and tomato products, and of course alcoholic drinks. Treatment for their symptoms may include Over The Counter (OTC) medication such as Antacids, H2 Blockers, Protein Pump Inhibitors, but talk to your Nephrologists before starting any OTC drug. 

1. Antacids: Typically available as chewable or dissolvable tablets. Antacids are recommended as initial treatment to help soothe minor heartburn. While Antacids can help reduce acid reflux symptoms by neutralizing stomach acid, these types of medications often combine three different basic salts. Some common OTC Antacids include: Alka-Seltzer, Gelusil, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepto-Bismol, and Rolaids. 

2. H2 Blockers: According to the Temple University Digestive Diseases Center, these drugs are effective for about half of those with GERD symptoms. H2 Blockers also reduce acid production in Chronic Kidney Disease patients' stomachs which help to lower their chances of getting heartburn. H2 blockers do not act as quickly as antacids (they start to work within an hour), but they can provide relief from symptoms for a longer time period. H2 blockers include: Cimetidine (Tagamet HB), Famotidine (Calmicid, Fluxid, Pepcid AC), Nizatidine (Axid, Axid AR), Ranitidine (Tritec, Wal-Zan, Zantac 25, Zantac 75, Zantac 150)
3. Protein Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): The most powerful drugs for reducing stomach acid production. PPIs are usually the most effective treatment for GERD. While many PPIs are available by prescription only, there are a few PPIs available over the counter. These include: lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR), Omeprazole (Losec, Omesec, Prilosec OTC), Omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid).

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Although some Chronic Kidney Disease patients have noted success using Omeprazole, Tums, Zypan 8500, Lansaprazole, and Prevacid, OTCs have been associated with several side effects such as: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, upset stomach, headache, increased chance of pneumonia and bone fracture. Thus, Chronic Kidney Disease patients should take these and any other insights about how they can reduce their Chronic Heartburn and discuss them with their Nephrologists. What's more, for more Daily News and Information about how Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients can better manage and improve their lives, visit every day; and do not forget to pick-up a copy of the Fight Kidney Disease and Diabetes Life Management Guide. 

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"Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Heartburn." Http:// University of Maryland Medical Center.