Do you often suffer from heartburn, but do not know how to deal with that unpleasant phenomenon? There is a solution for this problem.
Do You Know What Heartburn Is and Why It Occurs?
Heartburn can be described as a burning feeling in the chest. It is not dangerous in itself, but if it occurs frequently, it can be a very annoying occurrence that can ruin your day, and sometimes even cause panic.
Heartburn occurs when gastric acid returns from the stomach to the esophagus, and irritates that part of the body and causes a feeling of burning in the chest.
Why and when does this phenomenon occur?
It occurs when the muscle that closes the part between the esophagus and the stomach does not do its job well. It should close the passage between the esophagus and the stomach. Then, when it does not close, gastric acid passes to the esophagus and irritates it.
Some people feel discomfort in their chest, and some even in their throat. Sometimes this return of gastric acid is accompanied by pain in the chest and often causes concern that it is a heart problem. In fact, this is a completely understandable concern. The very same muscle that closes the part between the esophagus and the stomach is located in the central part of the chest cavity, just a little to the left of the center. Isn’t it the heart that is located there?
Do not worry – heartburn is in the chest, but has nothing to do with your heart!
Do You Recognize the Symptoms of Heartburn?
If you haven’t had a problem with excess of acid, you’ll hardly understand how unpleasant it can be. And those who have experienced it, can hardly describe it adequately. They usually describe it like this:
“Heartburn – it’s something from which you feel that your heart is burning!”
That “burning” feeling is the origin of the name of this problem. To clarify immediately – it’s not the same as feeling that something is burning in your stomach, but it actually looks like a fire that burns in you. Sometimes it lasts briefly – it fades and disappears. Sometimes it stubbornly and long burns and can’t be extinguished.
If it reaches the throat, the acid from the stomach leaves a sour or bitter taste in the mouth. This is a problem of the digestion system, so it’s not surprising that the symptoms of heartburn include burping, pain in the stomach, bloating, sometimes nausea.
Even though this is quite a common problem among people, not everyone has experienced this problem. Some people have more severe experiences and frequent issues, some have milder symptoms, and they are short-lived and easy to deal with.
One thing is for sure – nobody likes this feeling, and everyone wants to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Causes of Heartburn
Remember, that any permanent and successful solution of the problem requires you to cut it at the roots. The same is true for this “acid” issue. If you want to fight with the excess of the acid in the stomach, you need to start from its causes. It’s the closure of the valve of the stomach, isn’t it? Yes, but there are also certain reasons why it does not close nicely. They are also the causes of the heartburn which you require to eliminate, and you require looking for them primarily in your eating habits:
- Food you eat – too fatty and spicy food can cause acid reflux in your stomach, and certain foods you eat can cause relaxation of the ring around this digestive muscle and make a passage for acid and create ideal conditions for the formation of heartburn.
- How you eat – If you overeat during one meal, the stomach produces more acid, and it causes a problem. You think about it as about putting things in a travel bag or suitcase – if you stuff it, you will not be able to close the lid nicely and things might come out. If you eat fast, acid in the stomach does not have time to adjust and there you go again with the issue.
- The time when you eat is important. If you eat before going to sleep, it is certain that the force of gravity will do its job, that the lid will not close completely when you lie down and that the acid will escape from the stomach. This is the reason not to eat before going to sleep, and another one, to not visit your refrigerator at night.
- Drinks you drink – too acidic and too hot drinks, alcohol and too much caffeine can also disturb the level of acid in the stomach and be the cause of issues with acid in the stomach.
Besides eating habits, the causes of heartburn can be other triggers and bad habits. Some of them are:
- Medications you take
- Stress and anxiety (especially if you have a habit of treating them with food, then cigarettes)
- Tight and uncomfortable clothing that presses the stomach
- Genetic predispositions
Prevention – Attack the Causes to Avoid Symptoms!
Although you can find part of the causes in your genes, in the structure of your stomach or simply in the way your body reacts to food, it is quite certain that you can avoid many causes of heartburn if you pay attention to your diet and lifestyle in general. With these preventative measures, you can put out the fire in your throat and get rid of it forever:
- Reduce your weight. The risk of acid reflux is greater in overweight people, and one American study showed that this risk is greater in women than in men.
- Eat smaller meals but more often. This is one of the key ways to prevent heartburn
- Eat slower. Don’t shock your stomach with food. Give it time to adjust and to work continuously.
- Choose less fatty food. Fatty and heavy food takes longer to digest, holds it back and creates more acid in the stomach.
- Leave bad habits, or at least reduce them. This refers to alcohol, cigarettes but also to coffee.
- Avoid tight clothing that puts pressure on the stomach. You won’t be pretty until you feel good in your body, and that is harder with heartburn.
- Raise the head of your bed. If the acid from your stomach comes back to your throat when you lie down, you should avoid eating for at least 2 hours before going to bed, and it can help to sleep on a thicker pillow and to have your head and upper body slightly raised.
- Avoid eating at least 2 hours before exercising, especially then when the exercises involve bending or exercises in a lying position.
- Avoid foods that increase acid in the stomach. Reduce the intake of chocolate, tomatoes and products made of it (that means also pizza), citrus fruits and too sour fruit, black and white pepper, foods with a mint taste. Generally, pay attention to the food you eat so that the food you eat is not too strong in taste.
What to Eat When You Have Heartburn?
Have you noticed that every celebration makes you feel sick, so you start thinking about giving up the party? This is not unusual, especially if we take into account that almost every celebration is accompanied by fatty and spiced food. It is a special story that we have already eaten enough food for the appetizer, and that the remaining six types of food that serve us are absolute burden for our stomach.
If after such events you always have a fire in your throat, your body is giving you a signal that you should pay attention to what you eat. We have already said what you should avoid, but what should you eat when you have heartburn?
You can eat the following:
- Fruits that are not very sour. Take a banana or a watermelon.
- Green vegetables, because they have less acid – broccoli, cauliflower, celery…
- Rice and oat. They act soothing and well hold the hunger
- Non-fat meat and fish, but not fried
- Bread – always choose integral
If heartburn has already appeared, then try to alleviate the symptoms by eating these foods:
- Dill – season your salad with it
- Ginger – you can also add it to your food or make a tea out of it
- Parsley – it has a calming effect on the stomach, so you don’t have to use it only for decoration. Eat it
There is no universal rule that we can apply when it comes to the causes and symptoms of heartburn. What causes nightmares for one person, has no effect on another. The same goes for food. Some foods will help one person, while having no effect on another. Every organism reacts differently to food.
In order to know which method is most effective for your body, it is best to keep a food diary for a while. In it, you should note what you ate, when you ate it and whether you had excess acid. This way, you will know which foods you should avoid, and which you should eat when you have heartburn.
What Is the Best Medicine for Heartburn?
Acid from the stomach is irritating, but if it is not a daily experience, you should not raise panic or run to the doctor. Useful to you can be some natural remedies that you probably have in your kitchen:
- Baking soda against heartburn works great for most people. The reason is simple – baking soda is a base, so it neutralizes stomach acid. Since it has proven to be effective in many areas, baking soda is something you should always have at home and a great natural remedy for many problems.
- Chewing gum can be good against bad breath, but also an effective cure against heartburn. It stimulates the production of saliva, so it speeds up the washing of excess acid. It is not a natural cure, but it is easily available and effective.
- Oats have also proven to be effective. What you need in this case is water in which the oats have been soaking. 6 tablespoons of oats should be soaked in 1 and a half liters of water. In the morning, this water should be strained and drunk throughout the day.
- Almonds are often recommended. They should not replace a meal nor should you eat them in abnormal quantities. It is enough to eat 3-4 almonds after every meal!
- Chamomile or mint tea. Do you remember what your mom first gave you when your stomach hurt? Probably one of these two teas. They are known for their soothing effect on the stomach, and heartburn is, as we said, a stomach problem.
- Apple cider vinegar. Yes, this is the “fight fire with fire” method. Sometimes the lack of acid in the stomach is the cause of heartburn and then the body gets a signal that it can relax the stomach valve. Additional acid in this case solves the problem and helps the muscle to tighten. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink. If you do not feel relief, then probably you do not have a problem with the lack of stomach acid, so this is not your natural remedy that will bring you relief.
Besides these natural remedies, you can find pills in the pharmacy that will calm the acid in your stomach.
Watch Out for the Consequences!
It is true that heartburn is not a threat to your health, but only as a temporary problem. If you suffer from it 2-3 times a week, maybe it is time to ask yourself whether you should visit a doctor.
Remember, the small discomforts your body sends you are its way of communicating with you. In this case, it is sending you a signal that something is not right.
If you suffer from heartburn every day, it can have bad consequences, and these are some of them:
- Gastritis. If gastric acid often attacks the tissue of the stomach, it can lead to inflammation. Our internal organs have sensitive tissues, and gastric acid is very strong – strong enough to dissolve fat and heavy food. What do you think how it works on our tissues? Well, we are not so sensitive from inside, but it is a fact that frequent heartburn irritates the stomach and can even lead to its bleeding.
- Narrowing of the esophagus. Frequent problems with excess stomach acid can cause scarring and ulcers on the esophagus, which can lead to its narrowing and difficulty swallowing, pain while swallowing and much more serious problems which is called Barrett’s esophagus. In some cases, this syndrome can progress to esophageal cancer.
- Problems with the throat and hoarseness. Excess of acid from the stomach causes irritation of the throat, changes in the voice and hoarseness, frequent need to cough.
- Tooth enamel damage. Research has shown that people who have frequent heartburn are exposed to a greater risk of tooth decay, due to damage to the tooth enamel.
- A stomach ulcer is a condition that is accompanied by this problem as well as with the pain in the stomach. Do not ignore this fact because it may be a sign that you have this problem. Frequent heartburns damage the stomach and may have more serious consequences.
So, if heartburn is your everyday problem, and it is accompanied by difficulties with swallowing, blood or black stool, vomiting with traces of blood, pain in the stomach, irritated throat and so on, consult your doctor. He will determine what is the cause of your problem and recommend appropriate therapy.
Very often, some of the unpleasant things we experience are the result of our bad habits. It’s up to us to choose whether we will endure them with a smile or without one. It seems that some sufferings can have a bad effect on your beautiful smile, especially when your teeth don’t look great. Then you have no choice but to clench them, right?
The best choice, of course, is to not suffer and to find a solution.
Heartburn is not a serious problem and does not require heavy interventions – just sometimes heavy decisions. So, what are you waiting for! A smile on your face! Let the fire in your chest be a metaphor for another feeling that can bring you a smile … Yes, you got it right – for love!