By Victoria Bowden
When gastric acids return back up into the esophagus it is known as heartburn. Heartburn sensations include the feeling that there is something stuck in your throat, burping, a sour taste in the back of your throat, and/ or a burning feeling in your chest. The burning feels like it starts in your chest and travels all the way up to your throat. Usually it happens a little after eating and can last a few minutes up to a couple of hours, and may get worse when you bed over, lie down, or have on tight clothing.
GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux disease is a medical condition that is quite common and it affects just about 20% of the population. When the valve like muscle that closes the esophagus off from the stomach is weak then acids from the stomach are able to flow up into the esophagus. This weakness can be passed down genetically, but is also regularly found in obese people and those who eat excessive amounts of fat. Age can also play a factor as our muscles naturally weaken over time with age.
Some of the things we consume on a daily basis can cause heartburn. Some of the common things that trigger heartburn include aspirin, alcohol, caffeinated products, carbonated beverages, peppermint, fried foods, acidic foods like tomatoes, onions and garlic, acidic juices- mainly citrus fruit juices, chocolate, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, and even spices like pepper and mustard.
When it comes to having a natural and balanced digestive tract the foods that we consume play a major role. The foods, beverages, and medications above should only be taken in moderation. To help the digestion process it is also important not to eat large amounts of food at one time, try not to eat too fast, and avoid eating before bedtime. With these tips, small changes in your diet, and some motivation to improve your inner health you can be on the way to being heartburn free and improve the quality of your life.
To ease the symptoms of heartburn there are a number of over the counter antacids. This is one of the least expensive and easy ways to get heartburn relief. Antacids come in the form of gum, tablets, and liquid. Liquid antacids will work the fastest and one dose will provide relief for about 1 hour.
You should get some medical attention if you get heartburn more than once a week, if you have a hard time swallowing, if it seems to be getting worse over time, or interferes with your lifestyle. Really start to consider how you can change your health long term and get help from your doctor if necessary. Regular heartburn could be the beginning stages of a more serious digestive problem and you need to take action to improve the health of your body inside and out.
Heartburn may be avoided by simple life-style changes in eating habits, activity, and behavior. When you decide to improve your quality of life then your heartburn condition will also see some improvements and you can be on your way to cure and prevent its recurrence.