At one time or another we have all experienced heartburn for one reason or another. Whether it was brought on by stress, food, or something we drank, we can all likely state that we have had heartburn and it is unpleasant.
Heartburn is a very common ailment affecting millions of people every month, and those numbers rise when you calculate years. Research studies indicate that there has been a rise in the number of people who are experiencing heartburn.
The number is now around 50% of people. This means that about 50% of people will experience heartburn at some point during the year if not each month or even more often than that.
If you are one of the millions of people who are suffering from heartburn on a regular or even infrequent basis, you may be wondering what you can do to get rid of your symptoms and treat it for good. There are many different ways to reduce or eliminate the symptoms that come with heartburn, both prescription and home remedies.
The level of severity of your heartburn and how often you are having it will more than likely determine what you can use to help treat your heartburn. But before you can begin treating it, you need to figure out what is causing you to have the heartburn in the first place. Unless you get to the source of the problem and eliminate that problem, you are going to be less likely to be able to treat it and help prevent it.
Once you have figured out what is causing your heartburn, you can work with your medical doctor to set a plan in motion to help you get some relief. It is important to do some research on your own and figure out ways you can change your lifestyle to better prevent heartburn in the future.
How often you have it and how severe your heartburn is will also help you determine if seeking medical help is right for you or not. If you have a mild case that only shows up every few months, it should be safe to say that you are eating something that isn’t agreeing with you. Cutting that certain food out of your diet would be your first step and if that didn’t work then you would need to move on to see a doctor.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a form of uncontrollable, uncomfortable indigestion and it is called heart burn for a reason. Heartburn pains and symptoms are similar to acid reflux where it is very painful and you can experience a burning sensation in your upper chest and throat area.
You will notice that your heartburn symptoms are worse at night than they are during the day, especially once you are lying down. People who are suffering from severe heartburn on a daily basis may develop a disease called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a dangerous disease that can cause permanent damage to the esophagus tissue, which may lead to cancer.
This is why it is important to get your heartburn symptoms under control as quickly as you can if you are experiencing them on a regular basis.
Many women will experience heartburn during pregnancy and after delivery, while others may continue to have it for years after their baby is born. It is important to let your doctor know of any and all symptoms that might be related to heartburn.
Signs & Symptoms
There are many signs or symptoms of heartburn, but there are eleven that are the most common.
- Dry Mouth
- Sour taste in your mouth
- Pain in the chest while sleeping or lying down
- Burning sensation in the chest area near the heart after eating
- Gum irritation
- Tooth erosion
- Pain or swelling in the throat
- Bad breath due to acids in your mouth
- Bloating or gas after meals
- Stomach noises (different from hunger grumbles)
- Nausea or loss of appetite
Many of these common symptoms can be for other diseases or common ailments that people may experience on a regular basis. This is why it is important not to overlook them and pass them off as being nothing. While heartburn might seem like a small irritation in your life, it can be an indicator that something else is going on in your body.
It may be an indication that there is something wrong with your digestive system or your gut health and the acid being pushed back up into your throat is the way your gut would be trying to get rid of something that is causing you pain.
One underlying cause of heartburn is leaky gut syndrome which can cause not only the heartburn, but also low energy levels, nutrient deficiencies, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Causes Of Heartburn
There are many different things that can cause heartburn with the most common one being something that you have eaten. If you are eating a large amount of spicy foods on a regular basis, you may experience more heartburn than someone who does not eat spicy foods.
You also may be producing too much stomach acid and your body is trying to get rid of the excess stomach acid by bringing it back up through your throat. This is why most people will treat heartburn and acid reflux with over the counter pills and tablets that contain alkaline to help soothe and manage their symptoms.
There are 12 different causes of heartburn, most of them being related to food we eat and how active we are in our daily lives. The less active you are and the more bad food that you eat, the more likely you are to experience heartburn.
Now that is not to say that you should cut out all junk food from your life, but unhealthy foods should not be part of your daily life. Think of junk food as more of a special treat than food that should be included in your everyday diet. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of heartburn that are related to foods.
This is the number one cause of heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux in people. Maintaining a good balance in your diet will help you to keep the heartburn at bay and keep you from having those painful symptoms.
People who consume large amounts of processed foods, caffeine, sugars, alcohol, and refined grains are people who are going to have the most problem with indigestion and heartburn. By changing your diet and eating less of the junk food and more healthy food, you are going to be able to limit the amount of heartburn that you have and it may even go away for good.
People with magnesium and potassium deficiencies will be more likely to have heartburn than other people. It is important for your overall health that you are getting the right amount of nutrients from the food that you eat.
If you are not sure about the amount of nutrients that you should have, your doctor can give you an idea what would be a healthy range should be.
We are all so busy with our personal and professional lives that sometimes we forget to eat during the day. However, it is very important that we take the time to plan our meals and the times we will be eating our meals.
You want to make sure that you are spacing your meals out during the day and not consuming a large meal at one time. Eating meals or even snacks right before bed can cause you to have heartburn, so make sure that you cease eating at least one hour before bed.
Food Allergies Or Sensitivities
People who have allergies to certain foods or have a disease that prevents them from eating certain foods will be more prone to heartburn.
They are going to have to make sure they are aware of what they are eating and how often they are eating their meals in order to avoid heartburn.
Lack Of Exercise
People who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have heartburn than people who are active and exercise on a daily basis. Even taking a walk around the block will give you the exercise you need to help keep heartburn away.
If you are overweight or obese you are more prone to heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Your stomach is stretching every time you eat and producing stomach acid to help digest your food. The more food you eat, the more stomach acid it needs to produce to help digest. The larger your stomach is also plays a part in this.
If your stomach stays stretched out, your stomach will assume that it needs to continuously make stomach acid which will cause the stomach acid to come back up into your throat.
We all know that stress plays a large role in our lives and can be the root of many of our digestive and stomach problems. This is true for heartburn as well as the more stress you have in your life, the more likely you are going to be developing heartburn.
Just like leading a sedentary life is bad for you, so is overtraining. If you are working out seven days a week without giving your body a day or two to rest, you are increasing your chances of heartburn.
Your body will have extra acid reflux in your chest due to overtraining in aerobic exercises, weights, and running. Because of the constant pressure on your chest, you will experience more heartburn until you give your body a break from exercising.
Many women will experience heartburn while they are pregnant. Old wives tales state that women who have large amounts of heartburn while pregnant will have a child with lots of hair. However, the increase in heartburn while pregnant is due to the expansion of the uterus and the pressure placed on the other organs as the baby grows.
We all know that as we get older we will have many different health problems as our bodies are not as strong as they once were. The acid in our bodies changes as we age. We do not produce a large amount of saliva anymore which used to help with keeping our esophagus coated and somewhat protected from heartburn.
This is a hernia that forms above the diaphragm in the upper part of the stomach. If this hernia forms it can cause the diaphragm to rupture which would leak stomach acid and allow it to travel upwards towards the throat.
Treatments For HeartBurn
Many people who experience severe forms of heartburn will be treated by their medical doctor and receive prescription medications. While the prescription medications can help, they can also cause other digestive issues, so it is important to take them exactly as directed and combine them with a lifestyle change. If you are looking for a more natural way to treat your heartburn symptoms then you are looking at a complete lifestyle change.
1. Change Your Diet
Eliminate trigger foods like processed foods, alcohol, or spicy foods on a regular basis. Exchange those foods with healthy foods that are organic and do not contain chemicals or additives in them.
2. Exercise And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Make sure you are exercising on a daily basis and that you are also allowing your body a day or two to rest. Maintain a healthy weight and increase the amount of water you drink on a daily basis.
3. Limit Smoking & Alcohol
Having alcohol every once in while will probably not trigger your heartburn, but smoking will trigger it almost every time. Stay away from tobacco and limit how much alcohol you drink and how often you are drinking it.
Heartburn can be a painful and dangerous thing if it is left untreated for too long. Always consult with your medical doctor if your symptoms last longer than a week, or if they are constantly coming back.
This could be a sign that your medication is not working, or it could be an indicator of something more serious going on. Either way, with prescriptions or natural treatments, you will want to keep an eye on how often you are having heartburn symptoms and make the proper lifestyle changes.