Your acid reflux struggles might have begun with occasional heartburn, hiccups, and belching. But as your symptoms progressed to chronic GERD, so did your search for relief.
If you consulted a doctor about your acid reflux, more than likely, you received an all-too-common recommendation—medication.
During your visit, your practitioner probably discussed the different prescriptions you could use and perhaps recommended trying an H2 blocker.
H2 blockers (also called H2 antagonists) reduce the painful symptoms of acid reflux. However, it’s important to recognize that relief can come at a cost.
While you may know about the publicized side effects of PPIs, you may be less aware of the side effects of H2 blockers. Before you rely on a regular dose of H2 antagonists to combat your reflux, here are a few things you need to know:
How H2 Blockers Work
Before diving into the drawbacks for this group of medications, it’s helpful to know how H2 blockers affect your digestive system. Here’s a simple explanation from the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders describing how H2 blockers work:
- Your stomach produces hydrochloric acid in response to histamine.
- H2 antagonists block the histamine from the H2 receptors in your stomach.
- The result is your stomach produces less acid for several hours.
While H2 blockers can ease your symptoms, this relief isn’t free from health complications. If you treat your GERD with this medication, here are a few side effects you need to know about.
H2 Blockers and Headaches
If you’re on an H2 blocker and regularly experience headaches, it’s time to consider if you’re suffering from one of the side effects of H2 blockers. While Healthline states only 1.5% of people discontinue H2 blockers due to side effects, it’s important to remember that taking these drugs exposes you to a certain amount of risk.
For the four types of H2 blockers (famotidine, cimetidine, ranitidine, and nizatidine) MedlinePlus lists, headaches appear as a complication for three of the four drugs.
If you consistently battle headaches, begin to keep a journal to see if there’s a connection between your acid reflux medication and your pain.
H2 Blockers and Digestive Troubles
The goal of taking H2 blockers is to ease your heartburn, nausea, belching, and bloating. So it may come as a surprise that the side effects of H2 blockers include gastrointestinal difficulties.
As Healthline explains, taking this GERD medication can result in constipation and diarrhea. While you may find relief from your reflux, H2 antagonists can cause other digestive troubles you didn’t bargain for.
H2 Blockers and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
According to a study released by JAMA, an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with H2 blockers. While this isn’t a causative link (the study didn’t prove that vitamin B12 deficiency is a side effect), any kind of association is serious enough.
Even though these findings were published in 2013, there’s no reason to ignore the very real danger this research implies. In the future, other studies may find further evidence on this risk, so it’s important to recognize the implications of this research now.
While a vitamin deficiency may not sound concerning…it is. According to WebMD, unaddressed vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to symptoms, such as…
- Cognitive difficulties.
- Poor vision.
- Constipation and diarrhea.
- Heart palpitations.
Yet H2 blockers do more than create unnecessary health risks.
In the end, these medications do little to address why you have GERD and what you can do to cure your acid reflux naturally.
The good news is you can stop relying on H2 blockers, PPIs, or other acid reflux medications with the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program.
This program helps you heal your digestive system from the inside out so you’re no longer masking your symptoms with ineffective drugs. Break your dependence on acid reflux medications, and join the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program today.