There are can many causes of stomach pain. Acid reflux, constipation, stomach muscle contraction or an ulcer can cause pain your stomach. Depending on what cause your stomach pain, the doctor will recommend appropriate treatment.

Drugs used for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

To treat acid reflux, you can use medication to reduce or neutralize stomach acid, medication to reduce stomach as, or medication to strengthen the esophagus sphincter.

Medication to reduce or neutralize stomach acid

Over-the-counter gas remedies. Drugs that contain the ingredient simethicone may provide some relief by reducing gas. Examples of gas-relieving remedies include simethicone (Mylanta® and Gas-X®).

Medications to reduce acid production. Called H-2-receptor blockers, these medications are available over-the-counter and include cimetidine (Tagamet HB®), famotidine (Pepcid AC®), nizatidine (Axid AR®) and ranitidine (Zantac 75®). Stronger versions of these medications are available in prescription form.

Proton pump inhibitors reduce stomach acid by stopping the acid production or acid “pumps”. Proton pump inhibitors include lansoprazole (Prevacid®) and omeprazole (Prilosec®).

Medication to strengthen the esophageal sphincter

Prokinetic agents reduce stomach pain caused by acid reflux by helping the stomach contain move along the digestive system faster. Thus, the time the food stay in the stomach will decrease and reduce the chance of upper stomach pain. Doctors may prescribe the medication metoclopramide (Reglan®), but this drug doesn’t work for everyone and may have significant side effects.

Drugs used for constipation

You can get laxatives that soften the stool or aid with muscle contraction for bowel movements.

Medication to soften the stool

Laxative to soften the stool work by keeping fluids in your stool, making them less likely to dry out and easier to pass. Laxatives that use this method are called bulk-forming laxatives.

Commonly prescribed bulk-forming laxatives include ispaghula husk, methylcellulose, and sterculia. When taking this type of laxative, you must drink plenty of fluids, and don’t take them before going to bed. It will usually be two to three days before you feel the effects of a bulk-forming laxative.

Another type of laxative to soften your stool is osmotic laxatives. Instead of keeping fluids in the stool, these drugs work by increase the amount of fluid in your bowels. This softens your stools and stimulates your body to pass them. This type is often used when bulk-forming laxatives don’t work.

Commonly prescribed osmotic laxatives include lactulose and macrogols. As with bulk-forming laxatives, make sure you drink enough fluids. It will usually be two to three days before you feel the effect of the laxative.

Medication to stimulate bowel movement

Some people might have the problem with passing the stools because of weak muscle contraction. Even if your stool is soft, you need the contraction from the muscle for the bowel movement. This type of laxative stimulates the muscles that line your digestive tract, helping them to move stools and waste products along your large intestine to your anus.

The most commonly prescribed stimulant laxatives are senna, bisacodyl and sodium picosulphate. These laxatives are usually only used on a short-term basis, and they start to work within 6 to 12 hours.

Drugs used for ulcer related stomach pain

Stomach ulcers, or peptic ulcers, can often be caused by H. pylori bacteria infection. You contact your doctor if you suspect H. pylori infection. This is usually when you have tried and failed other home remedies.

To reduce the acid in your stomach, the following medications can help:

  • Antacids: These drugs work by neutralizing the stomach acid and provide rapid pain relief. Side effects can include constipation or diarrhea, depending on the main ingredients. Antacids can provide symptom relief, but cannot heal your ulcer.
  • Acid blockers or Histamine (H-2) blockers: These drugs reduce the amount of acid by blocking histamine receptors in the stomach. Some drugs may include ranitidine (Zantac®), famotidine (Pepcid®), cimetidine (Tagamet®) and nizatidine (Axid®).
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): These drugs work by blocking acid production from inhibiting the proton pump. These drugs include omeprazole (Prilosec®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), rabeprazole (Aciphex®), esomeprazole (Nexium®) and pantoprazole (Protonix®).
  • Medications that strengthen the lining of your stomach and small intestine.A type of medication called cytoprotective agents can help protect your stomach and small intestine. You can get prescription medications such as sucralfate (Carafate®) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®).

When you doctor have confirmed that your stomach ulcer is caused by an H.pylori infection, you may need to take antibiotics in addition to the drugs mentioned above.  The course of treatment usually ranges from 2 weeks to 4 weeks. You may need to repeat if the bacteria is still detected.

You should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist how to use these drugs, the right dosage and any side effect and interactions with other drugs, herbs or supplements that you’re taking.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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