Heartburn is the burning sensation felt when the food pipe pushes food back up towards the throat. This happens if there is excess stomach acid which does not allow for proper digestion of foods.
The pain is felt just below the breastbone and gets worse after having a meal or while lying down. Bending over can also arise the pain as the stomach acid rises towards the chest.
Heartburn is not a cause for concern always as it usually goes away on its own through medications and remedies. If the condition persists for longer than usual or you have continuous episodes of heartburn frequently, you may have an underlying cause which needs to be check by a doctor for suitable treatment.
What Causes Heart Burn?
Heartburn is caused when the esophagus does not function properly and backs up foods from the stomach towards mouth. Moving of foods this way can cause burning in the tract which can be very painful.
Normally, the esophagus relaxes the muscles for the foods to reach down the stomach. If this does not happen smoothly, burning can become a symptom.
The term acid reflux is also used commonly to describe the condition in which the acids move up from the stomach to mouth.
The muscles at the bottom of esophagus should tighten up after food has reached down in the stomach. Weakening of the esophagus muscles can disallow this to happen efficiently.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The symptoms of heartburn are obvious when you feel your chest burning as you lye down and bend. This makes your stomach acid move up the oesopheagus pipe. Also, there can be an acidic taste in your mouth or you may feel bitter.
Risk Factors of Heartburn
Acid reflux or heartburn can be triggered by various causes and foods such as citrus foods, spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, fatty foods, onions, tomato products, and large meals.
Other conditions such as pregnancy and obesity can also increase the risks lf having heartburn.
Frequent heartburn can also cause a more complex condition sd GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can can get severe and may require proper treatment for it. It can also lead to precancerous symptoms if not treated well.
When Should You See a Doctor?
You should see a doctor as soon as you feel severe pain in the chest or even if you feel pressure. Other signs include pain in the arms or jaw with difficulty in breathing. Any of the symptoms combined can make your pain worse and it is not wise to delay check up by a doctor.
Suffering from heartburn more than twice in a week can be a warning sign that you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Difficulty in swallowing and continuous nausea and vomiting should also not be ignored.
If your condition remains the same even after taking over the counter medicines, you should then also have yourself checked up.
Fast Facts About Heartburn
Heartburn can be caused if you are overweight or obese. Lack of exercise can also increase your risk of having acid reflux as the system does not perform efficiently.
The symptoms of heartburn can be very obvious to someone who has heartburn. So, it is easy to differentiate between the symptoms of overeating and acid reflux.
Lifestyle Remedies to Prevent Heartburn
The treatment of heartburn involves the reduction of stomach acid production so that it does not travel back up the esophagus. Stomach acid is very strong as it helps to digest foods in the stomach.
The stomach acid is also known as hydrochloric acid and is strongly acid to digest even metals. Read more on hydrochloric acid to have more understanding on how it can help in digestion and also affect your overall health if it is in excess.
Lifestyle changes can help to improve various health disorders as physical exercise and healthy foods can be vital in improving gut and immune system. Limiting fat content from your diet can have a positive impact on your overall health by avoiding weight gain, cholesterol problems, and hypertension.
You should also avoid heavy lifting and straining your torso as this will worsen acid reflux and push the acid towards the chest. Try to sit straight up when you eat and even sometime you eat. This will allow the food to reach down your stomach easily and prevent heartburn.
Foods such as Alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and gassy foods should be monitored and avoided if they cause heartburn. Try to remain fit ans physically active and also avoid smoking.
Take smaller meals instead of large and heavy meals to avoid overeating and digestion difficulty.
Why is Heartburn Common in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy causes several changes in a woman’s body as the hormones fluctuate. Heartburn is one of the common symptoms in the second and third trimesters as the organs get pushed by the growing uterus. About 8 of every 10 women have heartburn in pregnancy and it is mostly harmless.
However, heartburn can be a painful symptom for pregnant women as they already go through so many changes and physical exhaustion in the pregnancy period.
The reason for heartburn in pregnancy is the progesterone hormone levels which tend to relax the muscles of the uterus and also the valve that separates gullet from stomach. This eases the acid to flow back up which is otherwise not common.
Later pregnancy stages brings more changes internally as the uterus grows bigger and pushes stomach and the intestines upwards. This slows down digestion and may also cause constipation.
The symptoms are very likely to disappear once you give birth and there is nothing to worry about coping with it afterwards.
How to Treat Heartburn?
Heartburn brings up the stomach acid to the lower throat which causes the mouth to taste bitter or sour. This can be very unpleasant and the pain cannot let you do your daily activities.
It is important to treat the symptoms and underlying cause if the condition gets frequent.
Simple remedies that can reduce the symptoms of heartburn will be effective during pregnancy. Moreover, eating small and lighter meals will help you cope up with condition.
Some medications can make heartburn worse and should not be used during pregnancy such as antidepressants. It is always better to have your medicines checked with your doctor so that they can be replaced with alternatives.
Antacids is often the first line treatment for heartburn and it is also available over the counter. Also, you should consult your doctor or midwife before taking any medicine to remain safe.
Women at risk of high blood pressure and pre eclampsia should be more concerned about taking any other medicine as certain remedies are also recommended to be avoided in such high risk cases.
Heartburn can be something commonly faced by people but if the condition is extremely painful and causing eating difficulties and weight loss, you should see a doctor for a thorough check up.
Discuss all the symptoms and problems you are suffering to pinpoint the underlying cause and help provide you with a suitable treatment.