(BPT) - Warm weather is on the way, which means family gatherings, vacations and lots of party foods. From sweet barbecue and frozen treats, to spicy and rich foods, spring and summer are full of risks for people prone to frequent heartburn. This year, try to beat the burn with some quick tips to help manage the problem.
“While frequent heartburn is a common problem, myths continue about what causes it and how to treat it,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge E. Rodriguez. Dr. Jorge recently teamed up with Prilosec OTC to educate American Hispanics, who may be especially prone to frequent heartburn symptoms that can be exacerbated by traditional foods like onions and tomatoes.
“A lot of people want to be proactive when they have frequent heartburn by avoiding trigger foods and using trusted medications when they have symptoms. Prilosec OTC blocks the acid before it starts so they can enjoy their summer food and fun.
Did you know over 68 million Americans experience heartburn two or more days a week? Heartburn occurs when your stomach acid enters into the lower part of your esophagus, causing a burning sensation. Heartburn that occurs two or more days per week is considered frequent heartburn, and many sufferers turn to over-the-counter medication to relieve their symptoms.
Despite its prevalence, many myths persist around heartburn. Dr. Jorge offers the truth behind some of these myths:
Myth 1 – Frequent Heartburn and GERD (Gastroesophageal acid reflux) are the same thing.
Truth – While symptoms may be similar, GERD is a more serious, chronic condition, and can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Severe heartburn symptoms that occur for extended periods, recur often over time (more than 3 times per year) or are not relieved by available over the counter medications should be evaluated by a physician.
Myth 2 – The only way to stop heartburn is to give up the foods you love.
Truth – It’s true that some dietary and lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency of your heartburn. In addition, using Prilosec OTC can effectively treat frequent heartburn so you can eat the foods you enjoy. One pill each morning before breakfast blocks the acid that causes frequent heartburn for 24 hours, so that you don’t get heartburn in the first place. (It's possible while taking Prilosec OTC. Use as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn. Do not take more than 14 days or more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor. Not for immediate relief.)
“I often recommend a proactive approach for my patients who suffer from frequent heartburn, which includes avoiding their heartburn triggers and using an over the counter treatment like Prilosec OTC to treat their FHB symptoms.” Dr. Jorge says. “Having a treatment plan to manage heartburn is always a better solution for patients.”
In addition to medication, the following lifestyle steps may also help prevent frequent heartburn:
* Reduce stress
* Exercise more
* Eat smaller portions at meals
* Stop smoking