Many people, not just those undergoing cancer treatment, frequently experience heartburn or acid reflux (medical termDyspepsia). Here are some easy tips to help you cope with these symptoms that Gleevec, Sutent and other drugs used to treat your GIST may be causing.
Coping Strategies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux
- Limit your caffeine intake. Soda, chocolate, and caffeinated teas and coffee can cause heartburn or make it more severe.
- Do not eat three hours or less prior to your bedtime. This way your body will not be digesting food while you sleep. Your body slows down naturally when you are getting tired and while sleeping.
- Eat less fatty, high-calorie foods, such as greasy and fried foods.
- Avoid acidic beverages and food, such as citrus juices, mints, and alcohol.
- Eat a small amount of food, so that your body doesn’t have as much to digest.
- Avoid spices, like pepper, that tend to induce heartburn.
Other lifestyle changes can also help you cope with heartburn. Do not to lie down flat immediately after eating to prevent acid from coming up from the stomach, eliminating heartburn. Elevate your head at any point when sleeping or lying down to prevent acid from traveling up from your stomach. Being overweight can also cause heartburn. You may want to discuss losing weight with your doctor, as s/he can help you decide whether this is a factor in your case.
If dietary or lifestyle changes don’t help, over-the-counter antacids, such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox and Mylanta, may ease the pain of heartburn. If over-the-counter aids don’t help, there are prescription proton pump inhibitors (medications that turn off acid secreting cells in the stomach) and other types of medication that you can try. Constipation can also cause heartburn, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor as a possible reason.
No matter what you decide, be sure to discuss your heartburn and your options with your doctor before trying any remedies.