Heartburn is the name given to that burning sensation in your chest or throat that happens when acid rises up from your stomach into your mouth. Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, also called acid reflux.
The commonest heartburn trigger is your diet. Spicy, heavy food causes acid reflux. Coffee, soda, tomatoes, alcohol and chocolate are culprits too. Obesity, smoking and medications for hypertension and cancer are the causes of heartburn too.
Certain people are more susceptible to heartburn. Sports people experience heartburn more, usually because exercise is a big trigger. It does so by putting increased pressure on the abdomen, which can increase the risk of acid reflux.
What can you do when heartburn strikes?
Wear Loose Clothes- Heartburn happens when stomach contents go back into the food pipe where the stomach acid burns tissue. If tight clothes constrict your abdomen, you can experience more heartburn. To get immediate relief, you can just loosen the belt of your trousers.
Proper Posture- Sitting up or standing straight can control heartburn. A slumped body posture can compress the internal organs including the stomach. An immediate quick fix is to lengthen your spine by gently moving your head towards the ceiling.
Eat Less- Overeating can cause the door between the stomach and food pipe to open, allowing contents to flow back and cause heartburn.
Quick Home Remedies-
Drink teaspoonful of baking soda mixed into a glass of water whenever you suffer from heartburn. This is a home remedy that works.
Raise your body, if you’re lying down and experience heartburn. Use a pillow to elevate your body waist-up. This will get rid of heartburn fast.
Chewing gum can neutralise stomach acid. This is because gum increases saliva which clears off acid in the gut.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke- Smoking, both active and passive are harmful, if you suffer from heartburn.
Over-the-counter Medications- Antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are all effective in treating heartburn. PPIs work by blocking acid production, H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and antacids neutralise stomach acid.
Melatonin- A common sleep–inducing supplement is being investigated as a heartburn remedy.
Always remember to check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy or supplement for heartburn. This is because supplements can have side effects or can interact with medications you may already be taking.
Common tips to prevent heartburn are to eat at least three hours before bedtime, avoid lying down immediately after eating and staying away from fatty and spicy foods. Maintaining a healthy weight is also key to preventing heartburn. It also helps if you do mild exercise regularly. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.