Options for Relieving Heartburn

07. 21. 2017

When it comes to managing heartburn, one size doesn’t fit all.

Acid reflux is one of the most common digestive complaints, but that doesn’t mean it affects everyone the same way. Different people may experience reflux in different ways, with a variety of symptoms that vary in frequency and severity.

Because acid reflux varies based on the individual, it requires much more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Some patients may be able to control their reflux episodes with small changes to their lifestyle habits, while others may require a more aggressive form of treatment. The following are some recommended treatment options based on the severity of your symptoms.

Mild reflux

  • Diet changes – Avoiding high-fat or spicy foods and eliminating heartburn triggers from your diet may be all that is needed to control mild heartburn. Steer clear of common trigger foods such as citrus, tomatoes and onions, and try to identify any other foods that affect you personally.
  • Lifestyle Modifications – Overeating, smoking, wearing tight clothing, and eating late at night are all major contributors to heartburn. Try to eat smaller portions at mealtimes, opt for loose-fitting clothing, give up smoking, and allow food to digest for two to three hours before lying down.
  • Antacids – For occasional bouts of reflux, antacid tablets or liquid can often alleviate your symptoms.

Disruptive reflux

  • Weight loss – Excess weight is a common factor in persistent heartburn. Losing even just a few pounds can significantly reduce the occurrence of reflux.
  • Over-the-counter medications – For short-term management of disruptive heartburn, over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers may be sufficient. Be sure to read all packaging inserts and guidelines before proceeding. These medications are recommended for a 14-day course of treatment and are not meant to be taken long-term without a doctor’s orders.

Severe reflux

  • Prescription medications – When conservative treatment options have been unsuccessful, prescription medications may be necessary for long-term management of acid reflux. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of anti-reflux medications with your doctor, and stay current with all follow-up visits.
  • Surgery – Anti-reflux surgery is a more permanent form of treatment for patients who have not found relief with lifestyle changes and medication. As with all types of surgery, some risk is involved, but minimally invasive techniques have made anti-reflux surgeries safer and more effective than ever.

Acid reflux affects everyone differently, and you deserve a treatment plan that’s as unique as you are. Use our Find a Specialist tool on the MoreThanHeartburn homepage to find a qualified gastroenterologist in your area. Working side by side with your doctor is the safest, most effective way to find complete relief from your digestive issues.


Related articles:

Anti-Reflux Surgery Is Safer with Minimally Invasive Technology

Four Signs of Serious Heartburn You Shouldn’t Ignore

Previous | Next