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Top Treatments for Heartburn

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Updated July 08, 2014

When you suffer from chronic heartburn, whether it's caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or some other digestive disorder, it's important to know how to treat the heartburn. Untreated acid reflux may lead to complications, including esophageal cancer. Listed below are the ten most often used treatments for acid reflux. It's important that you discuss any treatment options with your doctor.

1. Lifestyle Changes

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One of the first steps doctors advice their patients to take when treating chronic heartburn is lifestyle changes. Heartburn symptoms can often be relieved if sufferers make a few of these lifestyle changes.

2. Diet

Approximately 94 percent of sufferers can link their heartburn symptoms to specific foods. Therefore, it is important that heartburn suffers manage their diets as a way to treat their heartburn. There are foods that are usually pretty safe for heartburn sufferers to eat, that have little risk of causing acid reflux, while other foods should be avoided as they are major heartburn triggers.

3. Histamine Receptor Antagonists - Over-the-counter Remedy

This type of drug works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces, and is used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid and conditions in which acid comes up into the esophagus and causes heartburn, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or (also known as acid reflux disease).

4. Antacids - Over-the-counter Remedy

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

5. Proton Pump Inhibitors - Prescription Medications

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 (acid reflux), ulcers of the stomach or intestine, or excess stomach acid (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome).

6. 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. They may also be used for patients with GERD when therapy with H2 blockers or PPIs does not work

7. Alternative Treatments

For many chronic acid reflux sufferers, they want an alternate, natural way of treating their acid reflux. These range from folk and homeopathic remedies to healthy diets to lifestyle changes.

8. Fundoplication

The laparoscopic surgery for treatment of GERD, fundoplication, involves constructing a new "valve" between the esophagus and the stomach by wrapping the upper portion of the stomach (the fundus) around the lowest port of the esophagus. This site details that procedure, and it's aftermath.

9. Stretta Procedure

The Stretta procedure is an approved technique for acid reflux disease. The Stretta procedure uses radiofrequency energy delivered to the lower esophageal sphincter and gastric cardia (uppermost part of the stomach) which inproves the function of the LES.
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