By Peg Sanders
What is heartburn or acid reflux? Heartburn occurs when stomach acid moves from the stomach back up into the esophagus causing pain and also a discomfort in the chest. It may even leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
The pain and burning that you experience with heartburn is caused by the powerful acid in the stomach fluids that irritate the sensitive lining of the esophagus.
Millions of Americans are being prevented from enjoying the foods they love because of frequent heartburn occuring two to three times a week. In order to be rid of acid reflux and have heartburn no more, it’s important to understand why it happens, what triggers it, and then take steps to treat it.
Many people have frequent heartburn. Eating large meals will trigger an episode. A few other foods that cause acid reflux are citrus, tomatoes, fried foods and spicy foods, fatty meats, chocolate, alcohol and coffee. It’s best to avoid these foods if you know they cause a problem for you.
Lifestyle plays an important part in treating heartburn and many of us deal daily with stress. Smoking and being overweight can trigger acid reflux, also excercising on a full stomach and lying down after meals are triggers.
Here are some of the symptoms you may have experienced. It’s always a big help to understand how heartburn affects you. 1) Pain that burns and starts in the chest then works its wasy up to the throat. 2) A feeling that food is coming back up into your throat. 3) A taste of bitterness at the back of your throat.
Taking heartburn medication at night is quite common just to get a good night’s sleep. Another trick is propping your head up with pillows to avoid that burning sensation. Also, try to avoid lying down during the day after a meal. The heartburn pain usually comes after meals and get more severe when lying down or bending over.
Many times heartburn is experienced only at night. Some basic lifestyle adjustments can really help. First, never eat two to three hours before going to bed. Another suggestion is to elevate the head of your bed so that you’re lying in an inclined position which will help keep stomach acid from making its way up into your throat. And finally, try not sleeping on your right side. Studies show that this position will trigger heartburn more so than lying on your back, stomach, or left side.
Understanding why you get heartburn and tracking some of the triggers can be a big help in easing the burning pain. Maybe it’s your morning coffee causing the burn, or even your orange juice. Learn the causes of heartburn and what triggers your episodes. Sometimes it’s several factors like bending over, wearing a tight belt, or just putting pressure on your stomach.
There is a chance that your heartburn may develop into a more serious problem known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Chest pain is also felt during a heart attack but there’s a difference between heartburn and a heart attack. Heartburn pain is not felt in the shoulders, arms and neck, but has that burning sensation that is felt after meals. Usually antacids relieve the pain rather quickly. Also note that lightheadedness or even dizziness are not common when experiencing heartburn.
Maybe now you will recognize some of the heartburn symptoms and seek relief with a few of the suggestions in this article.
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