Heartburn pain, manage your heartburn

The American diet seems designed to create digestive problems. We love fast food, which is low in fiber and high in processed carbs and fat. We also eat on the run. As a result, many people suffer from indigestion. How do you manage your heartburn?

Medications to Manage Your Heartburn:

Medicines to treat acid reflux or indigestion are extremely popular. Drugs like esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec) are big sellers. Other acid-suppressing drugs such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac) are also highly successful.

Are there other ways to manage your heartburn? Many readers have found simple remedies that help. But what works for one person may be totally ineffective or even harmful for another.

People are different. We share the following approaches with that in mind. You may need to experiment to find something that helps ease your symptoms.

Home Remedies to Manage Your Heartburn:

One reader reports:

“I have great success with a few slices of apple or a tablespoon of vinegar in 16 oz. of water.”

Another takes a slightly different tack:

“This is hard to believe, but I totally stopped my heartburn by drinking a cup of warm water or two until the pain was gone. I have also stopped eating dinner late. Instead, I now eat at 5 pm and leave a five-hour time slot before I go to bed.”

Another agrees:

“When I get heartburn I have a mug of hot water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I sip it slowly over about 10 minutes and it fixes the problem.”

We are not quite sure why the water needs to be warm, but that seems to make a difference for these folks.

Carbonated Drinks to Manage Your Heartburn:

Many readers find that carbonated beverages of one sort or another can help ease heartburn.

One person wrote:

“I take a couple of swallows of 7 Up to make me burp.”

Another recalled:

“My grandfather from Italy used Brioschi. I haven’t seen it recently, but I take 6 oz of water with one or two ounces of vinegar. Then I stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and watch it foam. I drink it while it is still bubbling, and it works, just like the crystals of Brioschi.”

Brioschi is still available. The main ingredient, along with flavoring and sweeteners, is baking soda. Other readers just use plain baking soda, as it is more economical. It is a time-honored indigestion remedy, but it should be used judiciously. Sodium bicarbonate is high in sodium that could raise blood pressure.

We got this comment from a reader who likes the effect but not the flavor of baking soda:

“Baking soda in water has worked wonders for me at times, but it tastes so bad it’s also enough to make you puke! I recall making clay volcanoes for art class in school. We used a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to create a very effective ‘volcanic eruption.’ Makes you think twice about mixing those in your stomach, huh?”

Almonds to Help You Manage Your Heartburn:

Still other readers find relief with a more natural approach:

“Five raw almonds fix the heartburn for me.”

Another agrees:

“Almonds – that is all I ever need. I learned about it from you folks. About 4 to 6 raw almonds. I carry a small jar of them in my car.”

And a third concurs:

“Almonds work for me too. Just a few are all that’s needed. So simple, and good for you, too.”

When to See the Doctor:

Frequent heartburn could signal something more serious, so it requires medical attention. If you are using OTC medicines or home remedies to manage your heartburn more than a few times a week, you should check with your doctor. If the diagnosis is simple acid reflux, however, you may be able to use home remedies to get relief.

Learn More:

To learn more about a variety of other remedies for indigestion, you may wish to read our Guide to Digestive Disorders. It offers information about prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as numerous home remedies.

Anyone who would like a printed copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (71 cents), self-addressed envelope:

Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy

No. G-3

P. O. Box 52027

Durham, NC 27717-2027 

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  1. Janice

    Eliminating gluten and not eating carbs at the evening meal have eliminated my heartburn. It is fascinating that the increase in heartburn has not been associated with the food guide pyramid which encouraged soo many excess carbs.

  2. Jim
    North carolina

    After suffering several yrs with strong stomach pains (0ff & On) my doctor put me on Prilosec. Took it for 1-2 yrs & finally wrote a letter to my doctor requesting further exams as I had no reflux. After a series of test I had an endoscopy. Found out that a digestive valve in my stomach was blocked. The blockage was cleared @ the same time. That was many yrs ago. I am now 85+ and NEVER had a reoccurring ache & can eat anything.
    How many of you have been misdiagnosed ?

  3. Frances H
    San Diego

    I took Nexium for severe GERD for over eight years and ended up with Chronic Kidney Disease and no accurate diagnosis.

    I also had severe bouts of silent anemia leading to the ER and blood transfusions. None of the traditional tests for blood loss provided information.

    Finally, a gasterenterologist ordered a special CT scan that was able to identify the source. Throughout all this time I had a large hiatal hernia in my diaphragm that was ulcerated and bleeding into my stomach. The hernia is inoperable and I am told that I MUST take PPI’s or risk dying.

    I take 30 mg of Prevacid daily and want to find an alternative. I am open to suggestions.

  4. ladyliza
    Los Angeles

    Many of these natural cures work for heartburn, but I am lazy. I just pop a Natural Factors brand papaya enzymes and that does the trick for me. I always have a few in my purse but I hardly ever need them anymore. They taste like candy.

  5. ray

    64 yo male with heartburn and GERD. I don’t take a PPI regularly but have found about 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of baking soda then a few swallows of Pepsi. Gives a great burp. Also not eating near bedtime, or drinking soda late.

  6. Bets

    Another great remedy for me is Candied Ginger. You can get at a market, in my area, I get at Fresh Market. I bite a bit off and eat when I feel the slightest burn and, knock on wood, it has relieved my reflux. I also will drink some water after the ginger and that helps as well. I have never wanted to take these rebound medicines so I was willing to try anything – I have 4 packs stashed everywhere…just in case! I love it.

  7. Pat

    When I started drinking alkaline water for another health problem, my heartburn went away. That may be why vinegar is effective. Vinegar and lemon are acidic, but they turn your system alkaline. Too much acid in the stomach probably means an acidic body, which invites all sorts of diseases.

  8. Angela

    I remember Brioschi and have not seen it for a long time. When I get an attack, I use plain water. I think it’s magic.

  9. Linda

    I realize it’s a disclaimer you must make to protect yourselves, but… seeing your doctor? If our docs actually helped us would we be here? All my docs ever did were give me diagnosis of GERD, gastritis, hiatal hernia, etc — and permanent Rxs for Prilosec — with no regard for the downside of taking it daily for years. My experience with docs actually helping with most health problems has been poor, to say the least.

  10. Susan

    I chug-a-lug 8 ounces of water without stopping. It always works.

  11. Jesse

    Severe, agonizing chronic gastritis was cured by me by drinking about 2 oz. of organic, preservative free in glass bottles aloe vera before each meal. It took about a month, but it worked. I am still careful not to eat citrus, chocolat, tomatoes, or friend food, but so far after five months, I have no trouble with stomach and esophagus pain.

    I had a scope run to be sure it was only gastritis and not something more serious, however, before I started the aloe vera juice.

    Almonds help for mild pain, but it took aloe vera to silence the fiery pain that had kept me awake an night and sleeping sitting up. No more of that now. I still take aloe vera once a day if I remember because it prevents constipation too.

  12. Rankin

    One peppermint hard candy is all it takes for me. There’s enough pepsin in it to do the trick.

  13. Art

    ACV (Apply Cider Vinegar) in the form of palatable chewable tablets always work for me for Reflux (GERD),Heatburn or Indigestion. (They’re all the same).

    Avoid PPI’s (Prevacid,Prilosec,etc.) as much as possible. They’re very dangerous and should never be used for more than just a few days, preferably not at all!

  14. Cpns72

    I used powder ginger in my ginger ale seagram brand to drink & calmed my stomach acid abt 20 minutes.

  15. Hugh
    Arlington TX

    I usually start getting heartburn around 3-4 PM almost daily. I drink a small amount of milk and the fire in my esophagus instantly goes out.

  16. REAL

    I have a simple most convenient solution to my heartburn problem. Before you read what, it is be prepared for a possible disgust reaction to what it is. You may have to get used to the idea. But the method cannot interfere with your train of thought nor with your activity.

    I find it totally soothing and protective of my esophagus. It prevents any pain from happening or quickly stops it if it is. …..ready or not, here it is….I clear my throat of the mucus that my cilia in my respiratory tract push up into my throat and swallow it. …it coats the surface of the inner esophagus. It may take more than one clearing to do it.

  17. Marie

    My sister weaned herself off heart burn medication, though, since drinking the vinegar and water was distasteful to her, she put a pickle on her sandwich, etc. and said that helped her successfully eliminate the heartburn and the need for the medication.

  18. David
    South Carolina

    I have read that aloe will replace drugs to manage acid reflux. Is there any information on this?

  19. Gates W
    San Antonio, Texas

    Since a diagnosis for reflux twenty-five years ago, I have taken all of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs mentioned above. First ranitidine, then Nexium. I wish I had never taken them. The problem was rebound. Today, four years or more have passed since I stopped taking Nexium. I did not quit cold turkey, but gradually. The first two years were horrific and it was from the guidance in the digestive disorders guide that I found my way through.

    Today, I still have reflux, but manage it very well, without complications. During the day, I chew Orbit spearmint sugarless gum, as it have proven true that my saliva is the best treatment and a great digestive aide. At night, before retiring (bed raised four inches to combat effects of gravity), I take two Tagamet to reduce the acid effect. When I get up, I swallow a table spoon of Aloe Vera gel to sooth my throat if necessary. We travel a lot and simply sleeping with two or more pillows keeps my head elevated sufficiently. This routine was developed after much trial and error, but I would have arrived where I happily am, if I had never taken the PPO’s in the first place.

  20. Marilyn
    West Virginia

    I chew on a small piece of marshmallow root for about 3 minutes, then spit out the mucilaginous remains. Heartburn (and many other stomach issues) gone

  21. John

    I took prilosec for a decade – I ended up with benign polyps in my stomach that apparently are a side effect – Determined to wean myself off, I adopted many of the recommendations for doing so, and I can’t say if it’s any one of them, but it has definitely worked. These include cutting my coffee consumption from two to three “cups” (likely double in actual cups) a day to four a week, eating earlier and avoiding eating too heavy a dinner, taking a digestive enzyme supplement after dinner, using pillows to elevate my head and neck at night, as well as using apple cider vinegar/olive oil salad dressing – I eat an apple a day and a nut mixture with almonds.

    My last double endoscopy had no polyps at either end, and have only rarely experienced anything that feels like mild – and never full – symptoms of heartburn. This fairly easy to maintain regimen seems to have benefited my entire digestive tract and I don’t want or need Prilosec.

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