Q: I have been taking Prilosec OTC for my heartburn and acid reflux for a while now, but I’d like to get off of the medication. Is there a better way to manage my symptoms?
A: Any antacid can help neutralize stomach acid. When buying an antacid, look on the label for the amount of calcium or magnesium in the product. If you have a problem with constipation, choose a brand that lists magnesium first on the label. If diarrhea is a problem, choose one with calcium listed first.
If you want to avoid medications completely, try to eat small amounts of food throughout the day rather than a few larger meals. If you are a smoker, stop, and limit the amount of caffeine in your diet.
If you are having heartburn symptoms, you can control them by having a light snack to help absorb some of the excess stomach acid. Bland foods like bananas or graham crackers are good choices. Apple juice is also an excellent choice. Avoid orange juice or other acidic beverages.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.