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Facing Acidity During Winter? Here’s The Solution!

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Have you lately felt that your joints ache when the temperature drops? Even though the science behind this relationship isn’t clear, flare-ups, when the weather turns, are quite real for most people with joint pain. This may sound like migrating to a warmer climate is the only remedy. However, here are a few ways to help reduce your joint pain:

  • Keep yourself warm. Take warm showers/baths. Dress in layers during the day.
  • Ask your doctor about pain medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Keep a healthy weight and stay active. Try exercises that are gentle on the joint, like yoga or swimming.
  • Don’t strain your joints if you don’t have to.
  • Take care of your health with good nutrition and get enough sleep.

You find yourself in pain as the weather changes and consider taking a pain killer known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which will give you temporary relief. But wait!! Did you experience heartburn post popping that painkiller??

How do NSAIDs work and how do they cause stomach problems?

NSAID medications decrease the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which contribute to pain and inflammation in the body. NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can cause ulcers by interfering with the stomach’s ability to protect itself from gastric acids. Although stomach acids are vital for the digestive process, they can cause damage if the protective barriers of the stomach are compromised. 

The step-by-step process of how NSAIDs work:

Step 1: NSAIDs reduce pain by blocking the enzymes that are involved in the production of certain prostaglandins.

Step 2: Prostaglandins are protective in the mucosal layer of the stomach and when they are depleted, there can be a break in that layer.

Step 3: The suppression of the body’s natural defences against gastric acids can lead to inflammation in the stomach lining.

Step 4: Over time, this can cause the break of a capillary blood vessel, causing bleeding and ulcer in the mucosal lining.

Painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause acidity and heartburn

Painkillers or NSAIDs slow the production of the protective mucus and change its structure. Following are some of the effects of painkillers on your body:

  • Increase acid production in the stomach.
  • Stop formation of prostaglandins that have a protective effect on the digestive tract.
  • Damage protective layer of the stomach allowing acid to enter the cells, causing inflammation.

Regular use of anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, increases the risk of ulcers up to five-fold.

Few tips to keep your stomach safe from acidity and heartburn

  • Use painkillers for short term
  • Take medicines with food and water
  • Stop smoking and consuming alcohol
  • Take painkiller during afternoon /evening
  • Know trouble symptoms: Abdominal pain, dark stools, bright blood stools, passing out

If you need extended relief from ongoing pain, consult your doctor. There may be something more serious ailing you. Your doctor may advise you about some over-the-counter medication that will relieve you from these symptoms.

Cooldown the burn with these medicines:

It’s important to treat heartburn, especially if you experience frequent symptoms. Over time, acid reflux can actually damage your oesophagus. Talk to your doctor about which prescribed or non-prescribed heartburn medicine is right for you.

  • Antacids that neutralise stomach acids: They provide quick relief but don’t heal an inflamed oesophagus damaged by stomach acid. E.g. Calcium carbonate.
  • H2-receptor blockers that reduce acid production:  They do not act as quickly as antacids, but provide longer relief and may decrease acid production from the stomach for up to 12 hours. E.g. Famotidine or Cimetidine.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that block acid production and heal the oesophagus: They are stronger acid blockers than H2-receptor and provide time for damaged oesophageal tissue to heal. E.g. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole and Esomeprazole.

For serious acid reflux, proton pump inhibitor like Omeprazole is the most effective treatment and shows the highest published evidence regarding safety profile. All PPIs show similar efficacy. However, since the past 25 years, Omeprazole has remained a valuable treatment for clinicians owing to its efficacy and safety in acid reflux and heartburn and remains the most used PPI globally with more than 40% prescription share worldwide. 

Know more about Omeprazole 

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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