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How can I prevent heartburn without medication?


Heartburn - also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD - can be triggered by eating large meals or by eating certain foods. There are some ways to prevent heartburn symptoms without medication. Some common symptoms of heartburn include a burning sensation in your chest or throat, a sour taste in your mouth, chest pain (especially at night or when lying down), or difficulty swallowing. Foods such as chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, spicy foods, orange juice, tomato juice, and coffee are potential triggers. If you are overweight, you also may be bothered by heartburn.

Try these steps to prevent heartburn:

  • Watch your weight, and avoid eating large meals.

  • After eating a meal, do not lie down, bend, or stoop.

  • Raising the head of your bed can help, as well; you can place blocks under the legs of the bed or purchase a product that raises the legs.

  • Avoid or cut down on certain foods such as chocolate and those named above.

  • Since smoking may also contribute to heartburn, not smoking may help. (Smoking carries so many serious health hazards, it's well worth it to consider quitting now if you smoke.)

If symptoms of heartburn persist, contact your physician. Medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and over-the-counter antacids may help.

Learn more about heartburn in our Health Encyclopedia.

View antacids and acid reducers available on

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