Getting Rid of Heartburn – What NOT to Take

You’d be surprised at the remedies people try to relieve heartburn. Don’t make these same mistakes yourself. Here’s a list of things NOT to take – and the reasons why.

Don’t take regular Alka-Seltzer. Though the sodium bicarbonate may neutralize the heartburn for awhile, the aspirin can make it worse. Alka-Seltzer Antacid Relief doesn’t have aspirin in it, so is safe in this regard (but still high in sodium).

Don’t take aspirin. In case you missed the above, aspirin can irritate the stomach and make heartburn worse. Sometimes it relieves pain for a short time, even stomach pain, but ultimately it will irritate the stomach and/or esophagus and make heartburn worse.

Don’t take ibuprofen or naproxen sodium for the same reason as aspirin.

Don’t take sodium bicarbonate if you have high blood pressure. Don’t elevate your blood pressure for the sake of a little heartburn.

Don’t take a drink of beer or wine (or other alcohol). It might be soothing in the short run (or more likely not). But in the long run, alcohol will make the problem worse.

Don’t drink a glass of orange juice. That’s like pouring gasoline on a fire – acid on top of acid.

Don’t take a nap. The flow of stomach acid is gravity driven. Lying down makes it easier for the acid to reflux up into your chest.

Don’t take a run. Exercise slows the digestion and the exertion may drive the acid up into your chest.

I can’t end this article without telling you what TO take. For occasional heartburn, do take an H-2 blocker (ranitidine, famotidine, or cimetidiine) or a PPI (omeprazole or lansoprazole). Those are generic names for OTC meds that once were prescription only. If you can’t find them by generic name, ask you friendly pharmacist. Antacids help, too. For frequent heartburn, see your doctor. You could have an ulcer or serious condition.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J Koelker MD

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