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Video:How to Relieve Heartburn and Gas

with Dr. Matt Foster

Heartburn and gas sometimes work in tandem to create annoying, uncomfortable symptoms. Watch this About.com video to learn how to relieve heartburn and gas.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Relieve Heartburn and Gas

Hi, I'm doctor Matt Foster and I'm here to talk about how we treat heartburn and gas for About.com.

Symptoms of Heartburn

Suffering from heartburn and, or gas can cause a range of symptoms from annoying to very painful.  These are both very common, but cause problems when they are too frequent or a cause of great discomfort.  Heartburn is caused when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation.  Gas is created by both swallowed air and from certain foods breaking down in the digestive track.  There are several things that you can do if you want to relieve heartburn

Preventing and Treating Heartburn

Taking time to eat your food slowly can reduce both heartburn and gassiness.  This is especially true with your largest meal of the day.

A cup of peppermint tea after dinner can prevent gas and bloating, but it should not be used if you are experiencing heartburn as peppermint is a trigger for many sufferers.

Candied ginger can prevent both heartburn and gas.  Many people find eating two pieces a day makes a difference. 

Watch your diet, many foods cause heartburn and gas.  Making small changes such as switching from raw vegetables to cooked can make a dramatic difference.  Also, if you are overweight you may need to lose weight in order to alleviate your symptoms.

Smoking and alcohol both lead to heartburn.  Eliminating these can make a huge difference.

Medications for Heartburn

Finally there are medications available both over the counter and by prescription.   An H2 blocker will work by reducing the acids in your stomach, but take about an hour to start working.  H2 blockers do not work well for everyone. Proton pump inhibitors are a very effective option; they work by completely shutting down acid production. 

The most common medicines used to relieve heartburn and gas are antacids.  These work by stabilizing your stomach acids.  For heartburn some also provide a protective foamy block above your food to prevent stomach contents from rising back up into the esophagus.   Make sure to chew up your tablets completely and see your doctor if you are experiencing constant heartburn as over the counter antacids are not made for daily use.  In fact they can make things worse over time by allowing the LES to lose tone. 

Something like Beano can be useful for preventing gas with certain foods, like beans and some vegetables.  This will not help with other problem foods however.  You should find a large array of heartburn  and gas medications at your local pharmacy. When choosing medication don't be afraid to ask a healthcare professional any questions you may have.

If you have a very persistent gas or heartburn you need to see a doctor. You and your physician may consider a prescription medication, or even surgery.  Chronic heartburn has serious consequences including cancer, and should not be ignored. Your doctor can help you get to the root of the problem, and can get you the treatment you need.  

Good luck with your heartburn, and for more information check us out on the web, at health.about.com.

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