How To Treat Your Heartburn Symptoms
You’re doing research about heartburn symptoms, trying to determine if you have heartburn. You’ve determined that the symptoms match what you’ve been experiencing. Now, how do you treat your heartburn? You should make some dietary changes, but if that is not enough, you may want to consider something over-the-counter – a treatment that will provide relief. So, let’s figure it out. There are many types of treatments to take depending on your heartburn symptoms. Are you experiencing heartburn frequently (two or more times a week)? Then you might be a candidate for a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) like Prilosec OTC. Getting heartburn occasionally after some indulgent meals? Antacids might be the answer. Keep reading to learn more about heartburn and what treatment could be right for you.
How Heartburn Occurs
Heartburn involves a ring of muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. It acts like a one-way valve allowing food into the stomach. When the LES stops functioning properly and loosens, strong stomach acid refluxes or backs up into the esophagus, irritating its sensitive lining. This can cause you to feel a burning sensation in your chest or throat, which can be painful and uncomfortable. You might also have this weird, acidic taste in your mouth that’s unpleasant and surely doesn’t mix well with the chocolate cake you’re trying to eat for your cousin’s birthday.
Types of Heartburn
There are a few types of heartburn, depending on the frequency and intensity of the episodes. Episodic or occasional heartburn refers to infrequent flare-ups that can often be predictable. For example, after going to an all-you-can-eat-buffet and indulging a little too much, you might expect to experience some heartburn on the ride home. This type of heartburn is usually treated with antacids. Treating your heartburn with antacids can work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach, however antacids only provide short-term relief of 1-3 hours.
At the other end of the spectrum is severe or persistent heartburn. This describes painful, long-lasting episodes of heartburn and may occur most days if not all the time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been eating healthy and avoided caffeine and alcohol. Persistent heartburn should be assessed and treated by a doctor.
For many people, it’s frequent heartburn that’s the problem. This means you’re experiencing heartburn symptoms at least two or more days a week. You may have made some adjustments to your routine and monitored your food intake, which helped, but if your heartburn is still bothering you, those adjustments might not have been enough. If you’re having symptoms that often, antacids will neutralize your stomach acid but then the heartburn can return a few hours later. To treat frequent heartburn, you could consider trying a medicine that can reduce the acid in your stomach.
Acid Controllers (H2 Blockers) vs. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
There are various heartburn medications available to treat frequent heartburn. But there are key distinctions between two main groups: acid controllers/H2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs).
Acid controllers/H2 blockers partially reduce the amount of acid produced by the millions of tiny pumps in your stomach. They can take up to 30 minutes to begin working but they may only be effective for up to 12 hours. If you’re looking for 24-hour relief, you’ll probably need to take more than one dose to achieve this.
PPIs like Prilosec OTC work differently.* They reduces stomach acid production, blocking the heartburn.* PPIs like Prilosec OTC are the most commonly recommended product for frequent heartburn. Though they may take 1-4 days to reach full effect, PPIs will block the acid that causes frequent heartburn for a full 24 hours. The best part is you only have to take one pill in the morning.*
Prilosec OTC is a PPI that can block heartburn all day and all night.* With just one pill in the morning, the unique-delayed release formula reduces acid production.* Prilosec OTC is to be taken for 14 days, up to 3 times a year, unless directed by your doctor. Frequent heartburn can get in the way of daily activities and take away from fun memories you’re making with friends and family. Why choose the hassle of treating your heartburn with medicines that you’ll need to take multiple times a day? Prilosec OTC allows you to take one pill in the morning and live with less worry about when your heartburn flare ups will return.* Talk to your doctor about Prilosec OTC – it might be the right over-the-counter medicine for you.
Other Ways to Treat Your Heartburn
Over-the-counter medicines can provide the relief you’re looking for but making lifestyle changes can also help improve daily life. It could be something simple like wearing a looser pair of jeans or eating dinner an hour earlier every night. Try some of these easy remedies to help with your heartburn.
*It’s possible while taking Prilosec OTC. Proton Pump Inhibitors like Prilosec OTC work differently to treat frequent heartburn for 14 days. Compared to how antacids and H2 blockers work for heartburn. Use all heartburn medications as directed. Do not take for more than 14 days or more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor. Not for immediate relief.
†^IQVIA ProVoice™ Survey, Jan 2005 – Mar 2020
**PG Calculation based in part on Buying Households reported by the Nielsen Company through its Homescan Panel service in the US for Prilosec OTC for the period of 8/31/03 through 6/25/16