John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Antacids, acid blockers, and perhaps surgery may provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into more serious disease.
Heartburn Foods and Remedies
For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications can help
provide relief of symptoms.
Avoid large meals.
Avoid caffeine (coffee, teas, soft drinks).
Avoid foods or drinks that reduce pressure on the
lower esophageal sphincter such as chocolate, peppermint,
caffeine-containing beverages, alcohol, and fatty or fried foods.
Avoid foods that damage the esophagus such
as spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces.
After eating, beware of activities that force acid
back into the esophagus. Such activities include lifting, straining,
coughing, and wearing tight clothing.
Use gravity to your advantage. Avoid lying down
within 3 hours of meals. If you suffer from nighttime heartburn, elevate the
head of your bed when sleeping. Place 6-inch blocks underneath the head of the
bed, or place a wedge under the mattress. Simply using more pillows under your
head will not help and may worsen heartburn by increasing
pressure on the stomach.
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Limit alcohol intake.
Antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids
can also provide relief. Antacids work by neutralizing acid. They should be taken
1 hour after meals or when heartburn symptoms occur.
Low doses of drugs that block the production of stomach acid are available over-the-counter
including cimetidine (Tagamet),
ranitidine (Zantac), and