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Fall foods: Helping heartburn sufferers keep the heat in the kitchen

(BPT) - With the fall season comes a drop in temperatures and a surge of hearty comfort foods. But while enjoying a favorite dish or trying something new might leave...

(BPT) - With the fall season comes a drop in temperatures and a surge of hearty comfort foods. But while enjoying a favorite dish or trying something new might leave some people with a warm, fuzzy feeling, many Americans might be experiencing a fiery and uncomfortable case of heartburn.

According to a recent survey by Wakefield Research for P&G, which brings you Prilosec OTC (R), 78 percent of Americans aren't enjoying the activities they love - including trying new foods or eating at restaurants, because of their heartburn symptoms. Fortunately, frequent heartburn sufferers - those who experience symptoms two or more days per week - have options to help keep the burn in the kitchen.

While frequent heartburn may be a reality for many Americans, the treatment options can often be overwhelming. Dr. Su Sachar, gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, makes sure her patients know the difference.

'Unlike antacids that neutralize acid after the fact and histamine2 (H2) blockers that offer quick relief but do not stop heartburn for long, it's possible just one 20.6 mg Prilosec OTC pill a day in the morning for 14 days as directed stops frequent heartburn symptoms at the source for 24 hours of zero heartburn,' Sachar notes. 'It's important to talk with your doctor to find the right treatment plan that works for you.

'It's possible that, while taking just one pill a day as directed, a 14-day course of Prilosec OTC can control, and in many cases, eliminate frequent heartburn symptoms. Prilosec OTC may take one to four days for full effect and should not be taken for more than 14 days or more often than every four months unless directed by a doctor. It is not intended for immediate relief.'

Sachar offers the following tips for those suffering from frequent heartburn to prevent symptoms:

* Get educated. One of the best defenses is to arm yourself with information. Often, my patients are unaware that some medications are designed to block the acid that causes heartburn and some are designed to treat symptoms after they start. Others often fall prey to the common myth that they have to suffer through daily symptoms, without realizing there are proactive treatment methods. The more you know about frequent heartburn, the better you will be able to treat it.

* Know your food triggers. Don't avoid your favorite restaurants or experimenting with new flavors. Just be mindful of your heartburn triggers. For most of my patients experiencing frequent heartburn, I recommend eliminating the most common heartburn triggers such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate and spices.

* Engage in low-impact exercise. While more than half of people surveyed do not think weight gain impacts frequent heartburn, maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of managing symptoms for many people. It is important to note that high-impact exercises like running or jogging can aggravate symptoms, so check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

For more information on how to best manage your frequent heartburn or to see if you qualify for a free sample, visit www.prilosecotc.com.

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