Solutions, treatments for heartburn

July 6, 2009 5:02:45 AM PDT
On average, more than 60 million Americans get heartburn at least once a month -- the same number of people who suffer from the common cold. And there are different ways you should be treating your heartburn.

Q: What are the causes?

A: Weight Gain, Stress, Overeating, Fatty/Spicy/Acidic Foods, Alcohol, Smoking)

Treatment options:

Antacids: best for occasional heartburn, provide rapid but short-term relief.

The second group of over-the-counter option is called h2 blockers. How are these different? Who should be taking these?

H2 blockers (acid reducers): Decrease acid production, last 6 -12 hrs, can take 1 hr before symptoms.

Finally, if you have more frequent heartburn, which is defined as more than two days a week, should you be taking something different?

Proton pump inhibitors: significantly inhibit acid production, best for frequent heartburn, can provide 24hr treatment with one pill)