While there is currently no cure for heartburn, the condition can be effectively managed. Making lifestyle changes and identifying your personal risk factors can go a long way in reducing your symptoms. For example, you may be able to find relief by losing weight or avoiding foods that cause your heartburn to flare up. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may also be used to manage heartburn.
Can Heartburn Be Cured?Heartburn is a very common complaint, with about 1 in 4 people in the United States having frequent heartburn and untold more experiencing occasional heartburn. Similar to other chronic conditions (like high blood pressure or high cholesterol), lifestyle changes and medications (if needed) can control the condition. However, similar to these other conditions that have no cure, a heartburn cure is still elusive.
Lifestyle Changes and Their Impact on HeartburnThe factors that cause heartburn in one person can differ from those that cause heartburn in another. Therefore, since heartburn is rarely life threatening, you should begin by understanding the risk factors for heartburn that apply to you, and then try modifying these factors. For a lot of people with heartburn, these changes can be enough to provide significant relief of their symptoms.
Risk factors that increase a person's chance for developing heartburn or making heartburn symptoms worse include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Use of tobacco products
- Certain foods
- Eating habits
- Certain medications
- Certain medical conditions
- Use of alcohol
- Hiatal hernia
(Click Causes of Heartburn for more information on each of these risk factors.)
You can also learn strategies for dealing with a number of these risk factors by clicking on any of the following eMedTV articles:
- Foods That Cause Heartburn discusses foods that can cause heartburn
- Heartburn Diet talks about the impact of diet on heartburn
- Smoking and Heartburn discusses the impact of smoking on heartburn
- Heartburn and Pregnancy discusses how pregnancy can lead to heartburn.
A recent study showed that people who lost weight and stopped smoking were able to substantially decrease the severity and frequency of their heartburn. In some cases, they could completely eliminate it. But people who are unwilling to make lifestyle changes are unlikely to find a "heartburn cure."