By Cheryl Alker
If you are one of them this statistic will not come as a surprise to you. According to the American College of Gastroenterology more than 60 million Americans have symptoms of heartburn each month and an estimated 15 million people struggle with a burning sensation every day.
The absolutely best way to manage your pain will depend on your symptoms. Does it plague you during the day or more at night? Does eating a particular type of food trigger the burn? Or do you believe your overall lifestyle is responsible?
The most important thing to remember about heartburn is that you should certainly not reach for medication immediately. Making lifestyle changes is your first point of prevention. Finding your trigger point is key, then you can make adaptations as necessary.
Examples are losing weight, stopping smoking, not eating within three to four hours of bedtime, avoiding heavy meals, reducing stress, taking regular exercise, switching to a mediterranean diet can seriously help reduce symptoms. See one of our previous articles https://24sevenwellness.com/2018/09/11/are-you-suffering-with-silent-reflux/.
Maybe your symptoms are brought on by certain foods, i.e. caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges, tomatoes, garlic onions, peppermint and spicy food. Reducing or eliminating trigger foods can definitely keep heartburn at bay.
If making lifestyle modifications isn’t working for you then it may be time to look towards medication. There are so many different options on the market these days that choosing the correct one can be downright confusing and difficult to say the least!
Choosing a milder medication such as an antacid would be the best place to start. Antacids have minimal side effects and offer immediate, short-term relief.
The next step would be medications called histamine-2 receptor agonists or H2HRAs which inhibit stomach acid release.
The last resort would be proton pump inhibitors for severe heartburn.
It goes without saying that taking advice from your doctor of pharmacist is paramount when choosing medication. Self prescribing can be dangerous and ineffective.