Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Acid Reflux Treatment
You have received our advice about healthy habits that reduce reflux and medications that relieve reflux symptoms.
Using these strategies, most individuals can have complete symptom relief.
Reflux can be a temporary problem, but for most people it is a long-term one. Four years from the start of symptoms, more than three out of four people with reflux have recurring symptoms if they stop treatment.
If you are not having side effects from your treatment and if you require continued medicine to keep your symptoms in check, it is reasonable for you to continue your anti-acid medication for months or years.
There are several concerns for you to be aware of if you plan to use your anti-acid medicine long-term. Acid in your stomach is able to kill many different bacteria, viruses, and spores. If you block your acid production, research suggests that this may increase your chance for developing certain infections, such as pneumonia and certain diarrhea infections. You also may digest one necessary vitamin less efficiently if you don't have acid in your stomach. This is vitamin B12, a deficiency of which can cause anemia (a low blood count) or neuropathy (numbness and tingling from nerve damage).
If your reflux persists for five years or longer, you may be at risk for developing esophageal cancer. If you have long-term symptoms, you and your doctor might consider scheduling a procedure to check for pre-cancer changes in the esophagus, known as "Barrett's esophagus."
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