Heartburn, also known as pyrosis, is a burning sensation in the chest and may also be felt up into the neck and jaw. Heartburn is a digestive condition and has nothing to do with the heart. Heartburn is a very common symptom. An estimated 15 million Americans are diagnosed with heartburn, while a whopping 60 million experience heartburn symptoms once a month.
What causes heartburn?
When stomach acid travels upwards into the esophagus, it irritates the sensitive tissue in this area. In healthy individuals, the lower esophageal sphincter (also known as the cardiac sphincter) prevents upward motion of stomach juices. Generally, heartburn is caused by either one or a combination of two factors; malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, and increased pressure in the stomach that causes its contents to push upwards.
Contrary to popular belief, heartburn is not causes by excessive stomach acid. Reducing acidity in the stomach is a common way to reduce the symptoms, but it does not treat the underlying condition. It is important to keep n mind that stomach acid is important for digestion, and the body may respond by producing even more acid in response to antacid therapies. This is known as rebound hyperacidity.
What are some of the best ways to treat and prevent heartburn at home?
1. Maintain an upright position.
Believe it or not, gravity is one of the best heartburn remedies. In an upright position, gravity helps stomach juices to flow downwards. Do not lie down immediately after meals. It is important to allow time for the stomach’s contents to empty into the intestines before sleep. Many people with heartburn report significant relief when elevating their bed with a therapeutic wedge or pillow.
2. Keep track of how you respond to certain foods.
Some items such as coffee, alcohol, hot spices and greasy food, are known to aggravate heartburn and should be avoided. However, there are many foods that may trigger heartburn only in certain individuals. It is therefore important to keep track of what you are eating in order to understand what works best for you. It is important to always maintain a balanced diet, so be sure not to compensate your nutritional needs in an effort to reduce heartburn.
3. Reduce stomach acidity
For quick and temporary relief from the symptoms of heartburn, a small amount of baking soda in water I a cheap and reliable solution. Just make sure not to overdo it. Baking soda contains sodium which and is therefore not recommended to people with high blood pressure. Remember that the best heartburn remedies address the underlying cause of the problem with proper diet any lifestyle habits.
If you suffer from heartburn on a regular basis, it is highly recommended that you consult a physician. Uncontrolled heartburn can lead to more serious conditions over time.