How Can I Get Heartburn Relief?

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Whether you've been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a hiatal hernia, peptic ulcer, or some other digestive disorder, it's important to know how to treat the condition. Treatment can range from lifestyle modification to medication to surgery in severe cases that don't respond to any other treatment.

Lifestyle Modification

One of the first steps doctors advise their patients to take when treating chronic heartburn is to make lifestyle changes.

For example, this can be done by doing such things as changing what and how you eat, and when you go to bed.

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Diet Modification

Anyone suffering from heartburn may need to modify what and how they eat. While some studies haven't found a link between food and heartburn, many people, myself included, can trace some of their heartburn to certain foods they eat. Of course, if you rarely suffer from heartburn, food may not be a issue. Food by itself will may not cause heartburn if you don't have an underlying cause of heartburn, such as GERD. Find resources on creating your acid reflux diet, foods that are safe or those that should be avoided in an acid reflux diet, and recipes that are heartburn-free and ideal for the acid reflux diet.

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Antacids

Perhaps prompted by television ads about their effectiveness, or the advice of a friend, you reach for an over-the-counter antacid.

But is this the best way to handle your heartburn? When used properly, antacids are useful in relieving the occasional heartburn and indigestion. The active ingredient in antacids neutralizes stomach acid, which is what is causing the pain.

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H2 Blockers

H2 blockers, also called H2-receptor antagonists, are medicines that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces by blocking one important producer of acid: histamine 2. These products are available over-the-counter. However, you should discuss using one of these with your doctor first, before you use any of them for your heartburn relief.

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Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors are a group of medications that decreases the amount of acid in the stomach and intestines. They work by completely blocking the production of stomach acid. They do this by inhibiting (shutting down) a system in the stomach known as the proton pump.

Several of these medications have both an over-the-counter and a prescription version. As stated before, you should discuss using one of these with your doctor first, before you use any of them for your heartburn relief.

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Surgery

There are surgical options that may be used to treat chronic acid reflux that doesn't respond well to other treatments. You and your doctor will discuss if and when this surgery is an option for you.

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