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Heartburn Relief: Natural Remedies, Medication, Prevention – Healthline

WITHDRAWAL OF RANITIDINE In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the U.S. market. This recommendation was made because unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical), were found in some ranitidine products. If you’re prescribed ranitidine, talk with your doctor about safe alternative options before stopping the drug. If you’re taking OTC ranitidine, stop taking the drug and talk with your healthcare professional about alternative options. Instead of taking unused ranitidine products to a drug take-back site, dispose of them according to the product’s instructions or by following the FDA’s guidance.
Ranitidine, brand name Zantac, is now marketed as Zantac 360, which contains a different active ingredient (famotidine). Famotidine is in the same class as ranitidine and works the same way but has not been found to contain unacceptable levels of NDMA.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux or GERD, which feels like burning in the middle of your chest. Some home remedies may help relieve your symptoms, such as eating ginger or chewing gum.
Heartburn is painful and inconvenient. This article covers home remedies, medications, and lifestyle tips to help you get rid of heartburn, plus ways to prevent heartburn before it happens.
Heartburn is a symptom. It means the feeling of burning pain in the middle of your chest. The pain typically starts behind your breastbone and moves up toward your throat.
Acid reflux happens when your stomach acid travels too high up in your digestive system. Usually, gravity and your digestive system work together to keep stomach acid down in your stomach where it belongs. But sometimes it can rise up into your esophagus and cause irritation, heartburn, or other symptoms.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is persistent acid reflux.
If you’re experiencing heartburn, you’ll be glad to hear that there are several options for at-home fixes. But, like medications, home remedies and supplements can have risks. Some can interact with medications or cause other problems.
It’s always best to talk with your doctor before trying these options.
Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid. To do this, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly.
To be safe, only use this baking soda remedy every once in a while, not frequently. Talk with your doctor about how to use baking soda safely.
Licorice root is an old herbal remedy that may help with heartburn. A 2017 study showed that herbal formulas with licorice consistently provided heartburn relief even better than commonly used antacids.
Eating too much licorice may raise your blood pressure, lower your potassium levels, and interfere with certain medications. Always talk with your doctor before taking licorice or DGL supplements.
Apple cider vinegar is another home remedy that some people use to treat heartburn. Some believe that drinking apple cider vinegar could improve your digestive health.
No solid evidence supports this claim yet, but consuming small amounts of diluted apple cider vinegar is typically considered safe.
Chewing gum stimulates saliva production and swallowing. This might help dilute and clear stomach acid from your esophagus.
According to an older study from 2005, chewing sugar-free gum for a 1/2 hour after meals may also help lower heartburn. But the results are based on just 31 people, so the evidence isn’t very strong.
In general, gum chewing may benefit some digestive conditions. But a small 2015 study shows it can worsen others. Check with your doctor to see whether this method is worth trying.
Ginger has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. This herb can help relieve nausea, so some believe it may be worth trying for heartburn, too.
However, large doses of ginger may actually cause heartburn or other problems, so use it in small amounts.
When medication is needed, your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose one that’s right for you.
Plenty of OTC heartburn medications are available for use. These medications come in three types:
Some heartburn medications of these types are also available as prescription drugs.
To prevent heartburn or stop it from starting, there are several methods you can try.
You might be having an episode of heartburn because tight clothing is compressing your stomach. If that’s the case, the first thing to do is loosen your belt — or your pants, dress, or whatever else is holding you tight.
Your posture can also contribute to heartburn. If you’re slouching, try sitting up straighter. If needed, you can use cushions or supports to help you maintain a more upright position.
A 2021 case study suggests that long-term posture problems could contribute to GERD. In the study, correcting poor posture eliminated reflux symptoms. But more research is needed to understand the connection.
Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body. Lifting your head with extra pillows may not be enough. To get relief, try elevating your body from the waist up.
Smoking might be a go-to coping strategy when you’re uncomfortable, but it won’t make that burning feeling go away. In fact, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) says it can actually cause acid reflux.
If your heartburn is severe or happens often, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor. In some cases, your ongoing symptoms could be due to GERD and may require professional treatment.
It’s not always easy to know what’s causing your chest pain. Heartburn and heart attack can have similar symptoms. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, contact your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.
The fastest-acting remedy for heartburn is likely to be an antacid. Antacids help neutralize stomach acid immediately, which is what causes heartburn.
You can try apple cider vinegar and baking soda mixed with water. In addition, you can try ginger tea and low-acid fruit or vegetable juice like carrot juice.
Staying hydrated is important for healthy digestion. Drinking enough water helps food move smoothly through the digestive tract, potentially preventing acid reflux after you eat. Sipping water regularly can also help clear out excess acid in the esophagus.
That said, you may want to have your last drink a few hours before bed because drinking water too close to bedtime can make heartburn worse.
No single food can help get rid of heartburn altogether. That said, making some changes to your diet may help reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms. This means eating a balanced diet composed of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Chewing gum can also help.
When heartburn hits, many OTC treatments, home remedies, and lifestyle adjustments may provide relief.
Adjusting your daily habits can also help prevent heartburn symptoms from developing in the first place. For example, try to:
If you experience heartburn more than two or three times per week, talk with your doctor. In some cases, they might prescribe medications or other treatments.
Last medically reviewed on January 17, 2024
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Jan 17, 2024
Written By
Elea Carey, Tom Rush
Edited By
Alina Sharon
Medically Reviewed By
Darragh O'Carroll, MD
Copy Edited By
Copy Editors
May 15, 2023
Written By
Elea Carey, Tom Rush
Edited By
Tom Rush
Medically Reviewed By
Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C
Copy Edited By
Copy Editors
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