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do i always need medication to control heartburn

Watch What You Eat, Drink, and Do

Making some changes to your lifestyle can go a long way toward easing the pain of heartburn.

If you feel uncomfortable in the middle of your chest every time you finish a meal, you may have chronic heartburn. This is when the acid from your stomach leaks up into the tender tissue of your esophagus (food pipe), causing pain and burning. You need treatment. If you don’t control your heartburn, it could damage your esophagus and even lead to cancer. There are some simple ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Say goodbye to cigarettes. Smoking causes your body to make less saliva, a liquid that helps stamp out stomach acid. That can lead to burning in your esophagus. Tobacco may also cause your stomach to make more acid and relax the muscles at the lower end of your esophogas that can shut down the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Chewing gum and sucking on lozenges can help you make more saliva.

Avoid trigger foods. For many people, these are spicy and high-fat foods, chocolate, peppermint and other mints, coffee, citrus fruits or juices, tomato products, carbonated drinks, and onions.