Heartburn, or acid reflux, is when stomach acid comes back up from the stomach and into the esophagus. It can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat, nausea, and vomiting. While it doesn’t always mean you have an underlying health condition, it could be a sign of something serious like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or gastritis.
Many people experience it occasionally when they eat something that irritates their digestive system. Heartburn can also be triggered by conditions such as pregnancy and wearing tight-fitting clothing around your abdomen.
Anyone experiencing it should see their doctor as soon as possible to find out what’s causing it and how to treat it. In the meantime, there are plenty of home remedies that can provide relief.
What is Heart Burn
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid escaping into your esophagus. It is often confused with stomach flu or gastroenteritis because of their similar symptoms. However, it usually has a more specific location in your chest behind your breastbone that occurs for only a few minutes at a time. It causes extra saliva to come up into your mouth making it feel like you have an acid taste in your mouth.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Normally your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes off to prevent the backflow of stomach contents into your esophagus. When it doesn’t close properly—because you are lying down or bending over—the acid can flow back up causing a burning sensation in your chest that is heartburn.
What are the symptoms of heartburn?
Heartburn is often a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which affects more than half of Americans. Heartburn causes a burning sensation in your chest that rises up into your throat; nausea, vomiting or regurgitation; excess saliva production; hoarseness or cough. Heartburn can cause heart damage if left untreated.
Heartburn happens more often when you’re lying down or bending over, so one of the most effective treatments for heartburn is to try sleeping with extra pillows under your torso.
Another big indicator of heartburn would be difficulty swallowing; feeling as if something was stuck, food being stuck halfway down, etc.
Causes of Heartburn.
The most common cause of is a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In GERD, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. This is often caused by an impairment of your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which normally prevents such reflux from occurring. It can also be caused by other conditions that affect digestion, including intestinal problems like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus. This typically happens after eating a large meal or drinking too much alcohol. It can also be caused by certain medications such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), aspirin, and acetaminophen
Home Remedies for Heartburn
Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest behind your breastbone. It occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus—the muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. The backup of acid is often triggered by eating spicy or greasy foods, certain beverages, smoking cigarettes, or drinking alcohol.
Some home remedies are very effective in treating heartburn. The first thing that one should do is
- Consume a lot of water
- If one has trouble sleeping because of pain or burning sensation in the chest then he/she should consume milk before going to bed as it can help you get rid of its symptoms.
- Green tea also helps in reducing it.
- Chewing gum or taking some antacids may also bring relief from the burning sensation caused by acid reflux disease.
- Avoiding spicy foods
- Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
- Avoid lying down after eating.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes before bedtime.
- Try to relax and avoid stressful situations as much as possible
If these measures don’t work, it’s time to see your doctor about treatment options such as medication or surgery.
Medications for Heartburn
A common cause of heartburn is an excess amount of stomach acid (or hydrochloric acid). Over-the-counter medications like Tums can help alleviate symptoms by reducing stomach acid. However, it can also be caused by other issues such as a hiatal hernia or too much caffeine. If you think you’re suffering from one of these other issues, visit your doctor for a prescription.
Medications such as antacids are generally recommended for heartburn. Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid that has been regurgitated into your esophagus. If heartburn is frequent or chronic, you should consult with a doctor to see if a different course of action may be necessary.
While medications such as Prevacid (lansoprazole) are available to help you reduce your heartburn symptoms, they don’t address what’s causing them. If you experience heartburn more than twice a week on a regular basis, there may be something going on inside your body that’s causing it. Instead of taking medications to simply block your symptoms over time, it’s important to identify and eliminate any trigger factors so that you can prevent future occurrences of heartburn altogether.
Lifestyle Changes To Help Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn is typically caused by acidic stomach juices seeping up into your esophagus. To help reduce its symptoms, you’ll want to focus on lifestyle changes that decrease stomach acid levels and prevent fluid backup in your esophagus. Some of these lifestyle modifications include: avoiding food triggers like high-fat or spicy foods; eating small meals throughout the day; avoiding smoking or alcohol; staying active with an exercise routine.