First of all, what is heartburn?
Basically, heartburn is a digestive problem where stomach acids come in contact with the esophagus. This causes irritation, which in turn causes us to feel heartburn.
You have to remember that heartburn has nothing to do with the heart as the name may suggest. It is believed to have been named heartburn because of the burning sensation in the chest when the condition occurs.
Generally, heartburn can happen to almost anyone. When you experience heartburn, you will feel a burning sensation that starts in the upper abdomen and works its way up to the breastbone. This feeling will make you feel as if your chest is on fire.
The burning sensation will travel from your diaphragm to your throat and you will taste something sour and bitter on your mouth and feel as if food is reentering your mouth. You feel like vomiting and when you do gag, no food will come out.
Around 20 percent of adults experience a mild case of heartburn. This is easily manageable through changes in diet, antacids, and weight loss. However, for 5 to 15 percent of adults who experience chronic heartburn, home remedies will only provide temporary and partial relief.
If left untreated, chronic heartburn can result in more severe complications.
This is why you have to know how to manage heartburn in order for you to prevent it from developing more severe complications, which can really have a negative effect on your body.
So, how do you manage heartburn?
For starters, you need to know what causes heartburn in order for you to have an idea on how to manage it. Basically, heartburn is caused when stomach acid refluxes or backs up in to the esophagus. This can occur for several reasons.
The first is that it may be because of a weakened lower esophageal sphincter or LES. This is the valve that keeps the stomach acid inside the stomach and prevents the acid from coming in contact with the esophagus. A weakened LES is one of the most common symptoms of GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
You also have to remember that there are certain foods that weaken or relax the LES. Examples of foods are chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, coffee, sugary foods, and fried and fatty foods.
Smoking also weakens or relaxes the LES as well as certain medications.
Pressure on stomach and eating large meals shortly before bedtime can also cause heartburn. Stress will also cause heartburn as this increases acid production and slow down the emptying of the stomach.
So, in order to manage heartburn, you may want to start by making some lifestyle changes. This means that you have to try eating frequent smaller meals rather than three large ones. Eating slowly can also help as well as avoiding going to bed right after having a big dinner.
You should also start avoiding foods and beverages that triggers heartburn, such as fried and fatty foods, coffee, peppermint, fatty foods, caffeinated and carbonated beverages, chocolates, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
You should also quit smoking, lose weight, and wear loose fitting clothes.
Drinking warm liquids can also help dilute and flush out stomach acid in the body. Lukewarm water or herbal teas are great examples of warm liquids that you should drink.
These are some of the ways on how you can manage heartburn. Although this may provide relief for mild cases of heartburn, you have to remember that you still need to visit your doctor in case you have a chronic case of heartburn. You will need to take medications in order to control heartburn and also make huge lifestyle changes.