Heartburn is an affliction that affects many people throughout the world. For some, it’s a daily battle which can be extremely frustrating. Heartburn is painful, distracting, and can create real problems when it comes to being productive at work and enjoying life. Many people have to stay away from their favourite foods just to avoid the pain that they’d have to contend with due to heartburn. There are a lot of medicines out there that can help to treat the symptoms of heartburn, and some of them work a bit differently from each other. For example, Zantac works differently to antacids. What do different medicines do to prevent and treat heartburn, and which one is right for you?

Treating the Symptoms

Many medicines in today’s world work to treat the symptoms of an ailment, rather than preventing the problem. Pain relievers, for example, don’t actually treat aching muscles, but rather, they stop pain receptors from transmitting data to your brain. This can help you to concentrate, and it can make you feel better temporarily, but this isn’t always the best solution. For example, if you have sore muscles in your back, taking a pain reliever before going to the gym is probably not a good idea. You may not feel pain, but this could cause you to injure yourself. Antacids also treat the symptoms caused by acid reflux that result in a burning sensation in the chest and sometimes the throat. Antacids work by neutralising the acid in your stomach through a chemical process. The chemical combination of the antacid medication and the stomach acid causes your stomach acid to be less corrosive. In effect, it actually prevents your stomach acid from being able to do its job effectively for a short time. This method is fine for certain circumstances, but it may not be the best solution for you. Since the medication does not prevent stomach acid from rising up into your oesophagus, you may still experience other symptoms.

Treating the Problem

Some medicines and medical procedures actually treat the problem that’s causing the symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms themselves, and this is usually the best option. Surgery, for example, is often used to repair or replace damaged organs. Similarly, some heartburn medications are designed to be more effective by treating the problem that’s causing the symptoms. Heartburn is generally caused by acid reflux, which is a condition where a valve that separates your oesophagus and stomach does not close when it is supposed to. The stomach acid is able to enter your oesophagus even though it should remain in your stomach. Rather than working to neutralise the stomach acid, some medications work to prevent the stomach acid from entering the oesophagus in the first place. Some heartburn medicines actually work by reducing the production of stomach acid, thus preventing it from overflowing into the oesophagus, and in turn, relieving the symptoms caused by acid reflux. This is the best method for most people because it relieves symptoms for a longer period of time, and many find it to be more effective.