Heartburn occurs when there is an abnormal backflow of stomach juices into the esophagus, the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The backflow or reflux causes a feeling of burning, warmth, or heat beneath the breastbone. The discomfort may spread in waves upward into your neck and you may get a sour taste in your mouth.
Heartburn can last up to 2 hours or longer. Symptoms often start after you eat. They grow worse when you lie down or bend over and improve when you sit or stand up.
Don’t be concerned if you have heartburn now and then; nearly everyone does. Following the home treatment tips can prevent most cases of heartburn. However, if backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus happens regularly, you may have gastro esophageal reflux disease called GERD.
GERD can cause continuous irritation of the lining of the esophagus which can lead to other health problems. It is important to visit a health professional if you have frequent heartburn and home treatments do not relieve the discomfort.
Try other home remedies before taking antacids or stomach acid reducers to relieve heartburn. If you take medications to relieve your heartburn without doing other home treatments your heartburn will likely return. If your symptoms cannot be relieved by home treatments or if they last more than 2 weeks see your doctor.
- Eat smaller meals and do not have late night snacks.
- Do not lie down for 2 to 3 hours after eating.
- Avoid heartburn foods like
- fatty foods,
- fried foods,
- caffeinated drinks,
- carbonated drink
- Limit acidic foods that can irritate your esophagus. These include citrus fruits and juices like orange juice or tomato juice.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Avoid clothes that have tight belts or tight waistbands.
- Stop smoking. Smoking promoted heartburn.
- If you are overweight loose weight.
- If you get heartburn at night raise your head 15 to 20 cm.
- Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and other anti-inflammatory drugs that can cause heartburn.
- Ask your doctors to help choose a product then follow the package instructions.
When To Call 911:
- Pain in the upper abdomen with chest pain that is crushing or squeezing and feels like a heavy weight on your chest which could be symptoms of heart attack.
- Signs of shock
Call Your Doctor If:
- There is blood in your vomit
- You suspect that a medication is causing your heartburn. Antihistamine, antianxiety medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs including Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can cause heartburn
- If you routinely have pain when you swallow solid foods.
- If you are losing weight and don’t know why.
- If heartburn persists for more than 2 weeks despite home treatments. If symptoms are severe and not relieved by antacids or stomach acid reducers you should see your doctor sooner.
No matter what type of acid reflux you suffer from, and no matter the underlying factors to your own particular struggle with heartburn, a change in diet can have remarkable effects upon your management of acid reflux.
Many people suffer from heartburn primarily at night time and have found relief by raising the level of the head of their bed.
If you recognize particular foods that seem to effect heartburn, you may find that eating them in the morning instead of closer to bedtime will alleviate your symptoms of heartburn. When eaten during time of wakefulness and activity, the body is better able to contain stomach acids used to digest the food we have eaten.
If you still are suffering from acid reflux and diet modification doesnt seem to help, you should consider seeing a doctor in order to rule out the possibility of structural abnormality or other factors contributing to your acid reflux symptoms.
Even if you end up trying a prescription medicine prescribed by your doctor, it is a very good idea to try and eliminate foods that make heartburn worse, and increase fresh, raw foods.