Antacids Or Chewing Gum? Health Digest Survey Finds People's Go-To Heartburn Remedy

If you've ever experienced heartburn, you might know exactly what you reach for in those moments of discomfort. Whether it's a home remedy or a prescription medication, managing heartburn is necessary. So what's the most common go-to fix?

When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, you get the feeling of heartburn (via Mayo Clinic). It might feel like a burning sensation in your chest or a bitter feeling in your throat, and could feel worse when you lie down or bend over. Typically the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, tightens after allowing food to pass through into the stomach. When the esophageal sphincter isn't working properly, acid from the stomach can flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Sometimes certain foods and drinks can trigger it, like spicy foods, tomatoes, chocolate, onions, citrus fruits, fried foods, and carbonated beverages. You're also more likely to experience heartburn if you're overweight or pregnant.

Treatment for heartburn includes both at-home and prescription treatments. Health Digest conducted a survey of 610 people and asked them what their go-to method is for dealing with heartburn.

Most participants turn to antacids first

The majority of participants said that their preferredĀ method for treating heartburn is antacids, such as Tums or Alka-Seltzer. This number-one answer came from 314 participants, making up 51.48% of respondents. Antacids can be purchased over the counter and work by neutralizing stomach acid (via Healthline). Another 16.72%, or 102 participants, said that they chew gum to relieve their heartburn, which some research shows could be effective. Seventy-nine participants, or 12.95%, drink water mixed with baking soda to alleviate heartburn, another popular remedy that you probably have in your kitchen right now. Healthline says you can do this by dissolving one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, which works similarly to antacids.

Coming in the last two places were prescription medications. In second-to-last place, 9.67% of participants, or 59 people, said they choose a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec. These work by lowering the amount of acid your stomach makes, making it a good choice for those with intense or long-term symptoms (via Healthline). Coming in last place with 56 votes, making up 9.18% of answers, was H2 blockers, like Pepcid. H2 blockers will also lower your overall amount of stomach acid, by blocking receptors in the stomach.

If you're experiencing heartburn and aren't sure which way to turn, talk with your doctor about treatment options and ways to prevent it.