How to Relieve and Prevent Heartburn

businessman with heartburn pain

Statistics from the Florida Hospital System estimate that 40 percent of adults experience heartburn—the uncomfortable condition that causes a burning sensation in the chest—at least once a month. Luckily, there are several ways that you can minimize the symptoms to get rid of heartburn and prevent it from coming back in the future.

Over-The-Counter Treatments

When you’re experiencing burning pain in your torso, your best option to get rid of heartburn is to take an over-the-counter treatment. The Mayo Clinic explains that there are several treatment options available at most pharmacies, including:

  • Antacids, which provide quick relief for your heartburn symptoms.
  • H2RAs, which take longer to act but suppress symptoms for longer.
  • Proton pump inhibitors.

Talk to your gastroenterologist to figure out which treatment option is best for you.

Pinpoint Offending Foods

However, once your bout of heartburn has passed, you’ll want to take steps to prevent it from happening again. One of the main ways to stop heartburn is to pinpoint the foods that may have caused it—according to Florida Hospital, 95 percent of heartburn sufferers can link their symptoms to a specific food.

Some people experience heartburn after drinking alcohol, eating spicy or greasy meals, or consuming acidic foods, but many foods can trigger the condition. Some of the most typical food triggers are coffee, tomato-based products, and chocolate, but some people are also triggered by common foods like onions, garlic, or pepper. Consider keeping a food diary to track the potential causes of your heartburn—this way you can avoid those foods in the future.

Prevent Heartburn With Lifestyle Changes

In addition to pinpointing and avoiding foods that cause heartburn, you can also make a few simple lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms again.

First, if you are overweight, it is often beneficial to lose a few pounds if you want to get rid of heartburn problems. The Mayo Clinic notes that excess weight puts “pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.” In the same vein, portion control can help - smaller portions cause fewer problems!

Further, you can sleep with a foam wedge to elevate your upper body. This helps to prevent stomach acid from making its way into your esophagus.

Finally, adjusting your eating habits can be beneficial in preventing nighttime heartburn. Try not to lie down until a few hours after you eat and avoid late night snacking before bed.

If you’re still experiencing heartburn, you may want to consider making an appointment with a local gastroenterologist to discuss treatment options.