Heartburn can be a painful and aggravating problem. Many people experience heartburn, or acid reflux now and again. But for some, it becomes a chronic problem. Before finding the right heartburn treatment, you must first understand why the problem is happening. Because there are different causes of acid reflux, there are also different ways to treat it.
One of the most frequent causes of acid reflux or heartburn is the diet. Often, people experience the burning sensations and discomfort after eating. What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat can all be factors in the occurrence of heartburn symptoms. There are a variety of foods that can lead to the problem, including spicy foods, fat-laden foods, tomato products, citrus fruits, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Eating three large meals as opposed to smaller, more frequent ones can be another cause. Also, eating close to bedtime can cause heartburn to occur. Writing down what you eat, when you eat, and when you experience symptoms can help you determine if the problem is dietary in nature. Smoking can make acid reflux worse, so if you smoke, do your best to kick the habit.
There are also a variety of disorders and conditions that can cause uncomfortable acid reflex. Hiatal hernia, peptic ulcer, gastritis and GERD are all examples. GERD is one of the most common, and is an acronym that stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. While the symptoms of GERD are very similar to regular heartburn, GERD is a disease that can last a lifetime. There are a variety of prescription medications that are commonly prescribed to GERD sufferers, including Prilosec and Prevacid.
The best course of action when seeking a heartburn treatment is to see your doctor first. Many people find that over the counter antacids, such as Tums or Mylanta, can help. However, you should ask your doctor before using them because they can interact with certain prescriptions. Your doctor will determine why your heartburn is occurring before deciding what the best course of action is. Sometimes the solution is as simple as making some dietary and lifestyle changes. Cutting out foods that aggravate the problem, watching how much you eat and when you eat, and trying soothing remedies like ginger tea can often provide relief. If dietary changes don’t work, your doctor may recommend a prescription.