Today, 5 to 15 percent of the adult population experiences severe cases of heartburn. Home remedies will only provide temporary or partial relief and chronic heartburn should be taken seriously as this can really have a negative effect on your life.
So, just what is heartburn and why should you be worried if you experience this condition?
For starters, you have to remember that heartburn has nothing to do with the heart as the name of the condition may suggest. Basically, heartburn is a digestive problem that occurs when the acids inside the stomach comes in contact with the lining of the esophagus. This causes irritation and this will in turn cause heartburn.
Heartburn can happen suddenly and without warning. Usually, this happens after a big meal before bedtime. You will experience a burning sensation that will begin in the upper abdomen and builds up behind the breastbone and makes your chest feels like burning.
The burning sensation and the pain may even travel from your diaphragm to your throat, which may be accompanied by a bitter and sour taste. It can even feel like as if food is reentering your mouth.
If you experience heartburn almost every single day, then you have a chronic case of heartburn. Mild cases of heartburn will mean that you experience this condition once a month.
Mild cases may be treated with simple home remedies, such as changing your diet, over the counter antacids and even by losing weight or by avoiding wearing tight clothes. On the other hand, severe cases of heartburn will require a more comprehensive treatment as home remedies will only provide temporary or partial relief.
If you have a severe case of heartburn, then you have every right to be worried. This may be a sign that you have a condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. If you leave it untreated, it can lead to severe complications, such as scarring of the esophagus. This will make it difficult for you to swallow food and even liquids.
Severe heartburn can also lead to Barrett’s esophagus. This condition is where cells similar to that of your stomach lining will develop in your lower esophagus. This condition will increase your risk of developing cancer in the esophagus.
There are several ways on how you can manage heartburn. For starters, you have to make a few lifestyles and diet changes. This will include eating frequent smaller meals instead of just three large meals a day. This will help in decreasing the production of stomach acids.
Eating slowly can also help manage heartburn. Also, you have to avoid going to bed on a full stomach. Stay up at least 3 hours after eating your last meal before you go to bed. This will give the acids a chance to decrease before your body is in a position where heartburn will likely occur, which is lying down.
If you are a smoker, then you should quit smoking as the nicotine content in cigars and cigarettes can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, which is basically the muscle the controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach.
These are some of the ways on how you can manage heartburn.
Having a severe case of heartburn will lead to much worse complications. So, you have to learn how to manage heartburn and you should also visit your doctor in order for you to know exactly what to do to decrease the frequency of heartburn as well as get medications in treating heartburn.