Heartburn Health (cont.)

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Heartburn Treatment

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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.
  • Stop smoking.
  • 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 famotidine (Pepcid).

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