Harvard Men's Health Watch

Stomach-soothing steps for heartburn

First, change the behaviors that contribute to heartburn. If the pain persists, medications called PPIs are highly effective.

Are you bothered by burning behind the breastbone after eating? You are not alone. One-third of us suffer from heartburn, typified by a pain and irritation in the upper gut. The underlying trouble is usually a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

There are many stomach-soothing steps you can try before going to a doctor. These can help cool your symptoms and prevent bigger problems later on. "Heartburn indicates underlying reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus," says Dr. William Kormos, editor in chief of Harvard Men's Health Watch and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. "It can cause damage to the esophagus and even increase the risk of cancer if ignored and untreated."

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