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Is There a Cure for Heartburn?

By

Updated June 26, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Is There a Cure for Heartburn?
If you do a search on the Internet, you will be able to find many websites that will tell you they have a cure for heartburn.

When talking about a disease or other health condition, people most often think of a cure as the putting a permanent end to that disease or condition and making a person healthy again. With that in mind, can anything cure heartburn?

Answer: For some individuals, making some lifestyle modifications and changing their diet can improve their symptoms of heartburn. Others will be able to find relief by taking prescribed medications, such as H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). There are also those individuals who use a home remedy in their treatment plan to control their heartburn.

However, while their heartburn may appear to be cured, this elimination of heartburn lasts only as long as the treatment plan is followed. Once an individual returns to habits or diets that led to heartburn before, or stop taking their medications or other remedies, the heartburn returns.

In some situations, a physician may suggest surgery to treat severe heartburn. This surgery, called fundoplication, is not ideal for all patients who suffer from chronic heartburn or GERD. Fundoplication surgery can be very effective in the treatment of severe heartburn, but it doesn't have a 100 percent success rate. For some patients, the surgery doesn't completely eliminate their heartburn, and they will need to continue taking medication. There are other patients who are heartburn-free for a period of time after surgery, only to begin to suffer from heartburn symptoms again months or years later.

The Bottom Line

Despite advertisements to the contrary, no immediate cure, with the ability to get off all medications and never suffer from heartburn again, has been shown to work in the typical person with heartburn.

Before investing in any of these proposed treatments, you should investigate them thoroughly. You can learn more about false health product claims from About's Guide to Patient Empowerment. You should also discuss any new treatment with your doctor.

Related Resources:

Sources:

"Heartburn Or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)" American College of Gastroenterology

"Information You Can Stomach - Heartburn and GERD FAQ." The American College of Gastroenterology

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