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Ask Dr. Gott 8/20
Acid reflux responds to several treatments
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: My doctor is treating me with Prevacid for acid reflux, but I feel no heartburn at all. I just cough up phlegm. Do you have a better idea?
    DEAR READER: There are numerous ways of dealing with this condition. You can place blocks under the legs at the head of your bed; modify your diet to avoid spicy foods that trigger an attack; or take an over-the-counter medication, such as Prilosec or TUMS.
    As a first step, the blocks, coupled with the Prevacid you are taking, might reduce or eliminate the phlegm. If you remain dissatisfied, speak with your pharmacist for a suggestion. If that fails, return to your physician for a change to another prescription medication that might eliminate the cough. Also, you might consider a consultation with a gastroenterologist.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Hiatal Hernia, Acid Reflux and Indigestion.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: My daughter has been using Excedrin Migraine for about 20 years now, and I fear it is damaging her kidneys.
    She is a very active 44-year-old who lives and works in an office as an attorney. She takes the Excedrin whenever she has her menstrual cycle, which cures her of the accompanying headaches. Is there an alternative solution?
    DEAR READER: Acetaminophen and salicylates combine to relieve pain and reduce fever. Several reports have indicated the duo may cause kidney damage or cancer of the kidneys or bladder. The side effects can occur if large doses are taken over a very long time. Taken according to recommended dosing and for short periods, these unwanted side effects are unlikely.
    If your daughter takes Excedrin Migraine once a month during her menstrual cycle, she may not be overdoing it at all. However, if she has headaches on a regular basis and pops a pill or two regularly, that is another story.
    Migraines appear, in part, to be caused by changes in serotonin levels in the brain and intestines. When levels are high, blood vessels shrink. When levels fall, blood vessels swell, causing pain and other problems. Reasons for variations in serotonin include estrogen and blood-sugar levels and certain foods. MSG, soy sauce, aspartame, excessive caffeine and beverages that contain alcohol are common migraine triggers for some people.
    Your daughter might consider keeping a journal to determine what precedes each migraine. Stress, food and family history will come into play here. Other than her regular cycle, she might be able to avoid situations that trigger attacks. Once the culprit is identified, she might be able to avoid it and have fewer headaches.
    Pure lavender oil and clove oil have been found effective. Place a drop or two of either oil on the ends of a wet washcloth. Place the cloth in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove and wrap the cloth around your neck. Aromatherapy will lessen the tension, easing a headache.
    Migrelief is an over-the-counter drug available in most pharmacies. The riboflavin in the product will change the color of your urine to fluorescent yellow, but this causes no physical harm.
    Alternative options are available. Try suggesting them to your daughter.
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