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Just about everyone experiences heartburn from time to time. If you get heartburn once in a while, changing your diet or lifestyle—such as eating small, frequent meals and quitting smoking—can often head off heartburn before it gets started. Over-the-counter remedies such as Mylanta, Pepcid, or Prilosec OTC, will also help get heartburn under control.

But in some cases, avoiding certain foods or popping antacids simply arent effective. If you experience heartburn frequently, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although watching your diet and eating habits is always important for fighting heartburn, chronic heartburn may require more aggressive treatment, such as prescription medicines. Left untreated, GERD can erode the esophagus and lead to more serious health problems.

To find out more about GERD, check out the following information from our A–Z Health Library.