What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced in the chest, which is caused by the backup of stomach acid in the food pipe. Usually, the burning sensation is felt in the central and upper parts of the chest. Pregnancy and laying on the side or back can aggravate or worsen heartburn.
Most popular treatment
Most individuals will experience heartburn at some point, and there are a variety of over-the-counter medications, such as Zantac 75, that can be used in the management of heartburn. However, you need to see a medical professional if you experience heartburn often or several times a week. Severe heartburn can sometimes be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.
What causes heartburn?
The esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach, is blocked at the lower end by a tight muscle called the sphincter, which opens and closes when food enters the stomach. It also works to prevent the stomach contents from getting into the esophagus. However, when the sphincter is weakened, and/or relaxes at a wrong time, then the stomach contents or acid reenters the esophagus, leading to heartburn.
What are the symptoms of heartburn?
The most frequently experienced symptom of heartburn is a burning sensation experienced in the chest and sometimes it can be accompanied by:
- Feeling of food stuck in the throat;
- Sour taste in the mouth or back of throat.
You should seek a medical professional immediately if your heartburn is accompanied by symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath;
- Radiation to the neck or arms;
- Cold sweat or dizziness.
What to avoid during heartburn
There are certain food or beverages that can aggravate your heartburn such as:
- Alcohol, which can relax the sphincter;
- Fatty food;
- Oranges or other acidic foods;
- Spicy food.
Individuals react differently to certain types of foods and you should take note of those that make your heartburn worst.
What are the treatments of heartburn?
Heartburn is treated with the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, depending on the severity of the condition.
Lifestyle changes can be used to prevent/treat heartburn.
- Smoking has been known to inter with the functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, so quitting can help avoid this.
- An increase in pressure on the stomach due to excessive weight in obese individuals increases the risk of heartburn. Maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent heartburn.
- Make sure to avoid any food or beverages that can aggravate or trigger your heartburn.
- Try to elevate your head up if you experience heartburn while laying down.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat heartburn
There are a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications available for the treatment of heartburn and they fall into one of the following categories:
Antacids (medications that neutralize stomach acid)
These medications provide quick relief as they help to decrease the acid in the stomach. They do not heal or prevent future heartburn episodes but offer a relief at that moment. Examples of such medications include Rolaids, Mylanta, Tums, and Maalox.
Protein pump inhibitors
Medications in this category help reduce acid by blocking the production of acid in the stomach. Examples of such include lansoprazole, Prevacid, omeprazol, and Prilosec. This helps heal the damage of the esophagus.
Medications that reduce acid production
This medication lasts longer than antacids in reliving symptoms of heartburn; however, it takes a while for them to start working when compared to antacids. They block certain receptors in the body to reduce the production of stomach acid, examples include Zantac, Tagamet, and Pepcid, and are available over the counter depending on strength.
Heartburn medications are available as tablets, liquids, powders, and capsules.
What over the counter products can you buy from us?
Below is a list of some of the heartburn medications that you can obtain over the counter.
Prescription or over the counter
Over the counter
Over the counter
Over the counter
- Abdominal pain
The use of any heartburn product is contraindicated in any patient who is hypersensitive to any ingredients used in the formulation.