Medwatch-What to do for heartburn

Medwatch-What to do for heartburn

Many of us have that favorite meal that leaves us with an unpleasant burning sensation in your chest we all know as heartburn and there are several options to help ease the pain.

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid moves up to the esophagus. Lifestyle changes— like not smoking, losing weight and reducing the amount of spicy and fatty foods—can help lower your risk of heartburn. If that doesn't help, there are three types of over-the-counter medications you can take.

"Antacids, the histamine antagonist receptor, and the proton pump inhibitors. Antacids usually would help if you have less than one incident a week. So, if you have heartburn very rarely, especially people who have heartburn associated with certain foods, they take antacids," Naadede Badger-Plange, a pharmacist, explained.

For longer-lasting relief, pharmacists recommend H2 receptor antagonist medications, also called H2 blockers. Although, they might take two hours to ease the pain or discomfort. If you're still having heartburn episodes after more than two weeks, proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, might help.

"These medications act by preventing the acid secretions in the stomach. You want to make sure that you take it every single day, unlike the antacid and the H2 receptor antagonist," Badger-Plange said.

If the pain is severe or won't go away, seek immediate help. It could be a symptom of something worse.

In other health news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a smoking cessation course to help smokers quit. The free seven-week course will begin on Tuesday, January 5, at 5:30 p.m. in Maple Conference Room. To sign up, call 580-585-5527.