4 Tips For Dealing With Frequent Heartburn

Most people will deal with heartburn at some point in their life. Unfortunately, some people deal with more than an occasional episode of heartburn and it becomes a daily problem. Lifestyle modifications and retail medications can provide relief for many cases of frequent heartburn.

Change Your Meal Schedule

Many people eat their heaviest meal late in the day, which can make heartburn worse. Try eating heavier meals early to mid-day and opting for a lighter dinner. It also helps to avoid eating your last meal within a couple of hours before bed. This can give your stomach more time to digest your meal before lying down. If you must eat something near bed time, choose a piece of fruit or small cup of yogurt. Do not consume acidic beverages, such as soda, coffee, citrus juices, black tea, and alcohol late in the day. Drink water, herbal tea, or mild fruit juice, such as apple.

Choose Easy-To-Digest Foods

Some foods are simply harder to digest and the problem may be more noticeable as you age. For example, many people find beef is harder on their digestive system than pork, chicken, or seafood. You may find healthy foods, such as vegetables, work better if they are cooked more, especially if they fibrous. If you prefer to continue consuming beef or raw vegetables, you should pay more attention to how much you chew these foods. Spend extra time chewing them to take more of the workload off your stomach.

Use The Appropriate Medications

If you are using acid reducers or antacids frequently, you should choose a different type of medication. Sometimes relying on antacids and acid reducers can make your stomach produce more acid, leading to an exacerbation of problems. Proton-pump inhibitors are available as over-the-counter medications and may work better for frequent heartburn. A normal course of proton-pump inhibitors is one dose per day for two weeks. You should begin noticing a difference within a few days, but even if you feel better you should finish the full course. If you did not have satisfactory results after the full course or if your heartburn returns quickly, you should speak with your doctor before trying subsequent courses.

Speak With A Specialist

If you have tried everything possible to rid yourself of frequent heartburn and continue to experience problems, it is time to see a specialist. One concern is that frequent heartburn can mimic other problems, such as cardiovascular disease. After any heart problems have been ruled out, the likely culprit is a problem with the esophageal sphincter. The sphincter separates the esophagus from the stomach and is designed to allow food and liquids into the stomach and prevent acid and stomach contents from traveling back up into the esophagus. Conditions such as a hiatal hernia or loosening of the sphincter can prevent it from working properly. Typically an endoscopy is used to view the upper gastrointestinal system and identify the problem.

Some cases of frequent heartburn can be remedied by reducing stomach irritation from foods or medications. If conservative treatment is not enough, having an accurate diagnosis can provide long-term relief. To find out more, speak with someone like Gastroenterology Associates.