Q: My wife gets heartburn in the back about once or twice a month. Not frequent enough for Rx medications (those are for people who get it 2-3 times a week), but it is often enough to have us concerned.
We're puzzled why she gets it as often as she does. She's only 28. She doesn't smoke, and rarely drinks alcohol. Her dietary habits are "better than average." She gets 2 hours of decent exercise each week. She hasn't been under any unusual or extra stress. She's only slightly overweight (if she lost 5 pounds, she would be back in the "normal" weight range for her height). She doesn't have any other health problems besides the heartburn.
Another problem is that her heartburn comes pretty randomly. It's not as if certain foods (spicy, greasy, etc.) always give her trouble. This has been going on for more than 2 years, and it hasn't gotten worse or better.
Is there anything else we can do to control her heartburn in the back?
A:It sounds as though your wife may have a very mild case of GERD - which would explain why she gets heartburn in absence of the "normal" triggers. I have had GERD for years - it runs in my family. Be thankful she does not need Rx medication - I have been on them for a long time. (Fortunately they do work.) I would try the following remedies: 1. Do not lay down for an hour or so after eating dinner. 2. Elevate the head of your bed a couple of inches. 3. Do not eat or drink any of the typical "trigger" foods within a couple of hours of bedtime. 4. Drink a glass of milk when heartburn strikes. 5. Try an over the counter antacid whenever she has an episode - I find that Mylanta liquid and Pepcid AC tablets work the best at providing relief.
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