What I Learned About Heartburn

Over the past several months I had been dealing with some terrible heartburn.  Seems to have come out of nowhere and there were days where it would be so bad to the point where I couldn’t eat and other days where it was mild.  Here are some home treatment remedies that I have tried which helped to some extent, and that you can try for yourself if you are dealing with heartburn.  Not every heartburn symptom is relieved the same way for everybody so try the remedies below and see what works best for you.

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First, eat smaller meals throughout the day and avoid late-night snacks.  You also want to wait 2-3 hrs after eating before you lie down.  Also, avoid food that bring on heartburn, such as citrus, chocolate, mint, fatty or greasy foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and caffeine.

Second, do not smoke as that can exacerbate heartburn symptoms.

Raising the head of your bed at night at a 45 degree angle can help or even sleeping on a recliner.  Simply adding pillows underneath your head doesn’t work.  You will have to put a foam wedge under your mattress to get the best relief.

Try over-the-counter heartburn medications like Maalox, Mylanta, TUMS, Pepcid, or Zantac.  If the OTC doesn’t help after daily use for a week, you may want to speak to your doctor about getting prescription strength antacids.

Do not wear tight clothes around your mid-section as that will put pressure on your internal organs, thereby putting pressure on your stomach, causing reflux.  Try to avoid taking aspirin, Ibuprofen or Naproxen as they can make the heartburn worse.  If you need something for pain, try Tylenol.

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Obesity tends to lead to heartburn in most folks.  Sometimes losing 5-10 pounds can help reduce the symptoms significantly.  So get out and exercise and eat better.

You should call 911 if you have chest pain or pressure or pain in your belly area.  One of my buddies who works as a driver at San Jose Limo Service, thought he had heartburn, but turned out to be a mild case of a heart attack.  You should also call 911 if you vomit a lot of blood that looks like dark brown coffee grounds.  If you see streaks of blood in your vomit, be sure to call your doctor.

If you are losing weight unintentionally or have pain while swallowing or can’t swallow, it’s time to see a doctor.  Sometimes medication have side effects that can cause heartburn, such as antihistamines, anxiety medications, aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil.  And if your heartburn lasts for more than 2 weeks after using home treatments such as what I mentioned above then it’s time to see your doctor.