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Tips for Preventing Heartburn
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Knowing what your ____________ are and avoiding them will go a long way in your struggle against heartburn.
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Hi, I'm Doctor Matt Foster, and I'm here today to talk about some tips for preventing heartburn, for About.com.If heartburn is a part of your life you should know that there are many things that you can do to prevent it.For example, it is important to drink plenty of water.    Water helps clear out and neutralize stomach acids that make it back up into the esophagus.  If water seems to make your heartburn worse initially, try drinking it slowly before you eat.It is good to avoid heavy exercise right after  you eat, but taking a leisurely walk can be great for you.  Whatever you do don't lay down immediately after eating!  Eating smaller meals more often makes a huge difference as well.Check the side effects of your medications.  Some medications cause heartburn and others make it worse. Talk with your doctor about your options.Chewing gum after meals can help to get your digestion moving and help with heartburn.  Be sure to avoid peppermint gum however which can trigger heartburn in some.Smoking can also cause great harm by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES allowing contents of the stomach to rise up into the esophagus.  Quitting can be a huge step in finding relief. Alcohol is another trigger of heartburn.  This is because alcohol relaxes the LES. The rest of your diet is very important to avoiding heartburn as well.  Some foods such as those that are highly acidic, those that contain a high fat content, or those containing caffeine will trigger heartburn in many people.  Knowing what your triggers are and avoiding them will go a long way in your struggle against heartburn.Don't eat right before bed it is best to eat three or four hours before laying down.  Also raise up the bed about 4-8 inches under your head.  This allows gravity to work to your benefit while you sleep.  Sleeping on your left side aids in digestion and can help prevent heartburn.For mild cases consider  taking an antacid may provide needed short term  relief.  You might also consider taking an H2 blocker if the antacid does not provide relief that lasts through the night.  The H2 blocker lasts longer, but usually takes about an hour to kick in. A combination of this with an antacid works for many people.  Also look at proton pump inhibitors which inhibit or stop acid production. Finally, if you find yourself struggling with moderate or severe heartburn, talk to your doctor.  It may be sign that you need a more aggressive treatment plan.Thank you for watching, for more information about heartburn, check us out on the web at health.about.com 
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