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Heartburn Treatments

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Updated June 24, 2014

Man making a smoothie at home.
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If you are one of the millions of individuals who suffer from chronic heartburn, you want, and need, a method of heartburn treatment.

When you suffer from chronic heartburn, whether it's caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or some other digestive disorder, treatment is important. This can include lifestyle modifications, medications or surgery. Your doctor will discuss various treatment options with you.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle Changes
One of the first steps doctors advise their patients to take when treating chronic heartburn is making lifestyle changes.

Heartburn and What You Eat
Approximately 94% of sufferers can link their heartburn symptoms to specific foods. Therefore, it is important that heartburn sufferers treat their heartburn through their diet. There are foods that are usually pretty safe for heartburn sufferers to eat and have little risk of causing acid reflux, and other foods that are major heartburn triggers and should be avoided.

Medication

Histamine Receptor Antagonists
This type of drug works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces, and is used to treat conditions where the stomach produces too much acid or where acid comes up into the esophagus and causes heartburn.

Antacids
Antacids work by neutralizing acid in the stomach on contact to provide heartburn relief.

Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of prescription medications that prevent the release of acid in the stomach and intestines. Doctors prescribe PPIs to treat people with heartburn, ulcers of the stomach or intestine, or excess stomach acid.

Promotility Agents
Promotility agents are used to improve GERD symptoms for patients with slow gastric emptying. They speed digestion, which prevents acid from staying in the stomach too long. A doctor may also prescribe this medication for patients with GERD if H2 blockers or PPIs do not work effectively for them.

Surgical Options

Fundoplication
Fundoplication is the standard surgical treatment for GERD. The purpose of the surgery is to reduce heartburn due to acid reflux.

Radiofrequency Treatment
A minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that's performed on an outpatient basis, the Stretta Procedure is used to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Sources:

"Heartburn, Hiatal Hernia, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." NIH Publication No. 03–0882 June 2003. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Accessed on 12 Feb 2007. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/#5

Peter J Kahrilas, MD, Anne Charette, RN, MSN, ANP. Patient information: Gastroesophageal reflux disease. 2006. UpToDate.com. 12 Feb 2007. http://patients.uptodate.com/topic.asp?file=digestiv/7771

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