Heartburn: Self Care And Medical Treatments Available
If you are also experiencing heartburn, then it would be wise if you follow these tips in order for you to properly manage or control it and prevent it from taking control of your life. You see, heartburn is a painful condition where you will experience pain often described as a burning sensation on the chest.
Although the name heartburn suggests that it may be an illness associated with the heart, itís actually not. Heartburn is a digestive condition where stomach acid flows out from the stomach and comes in contact with the esophagus. Sometimes you will regurgitate and taste something bitter or sour in your mouth during an episode of heartburn.
This is because the stomach acid may have reached your mouth, which explains the sour or bitter taste.
Mild cases of heartburn are considered more of a nuisance than a real condition that can have a large impact on peopleís life. It can be managed and controlled through self-care. But, if you have chronic heartburn, you may need to seek professional medical help as self-care at home may only provide temporary or partial relief.
For mild or occasional symptoms of heartburn, a few lifestyle modifications will go a long way in helping you with your heartburn problem.
To start, you may want to avoid large meals. Large meals are usually the cause of heartburn. This is because large meals tend to overwhelm the stomach and it will produce excessive stomach acid in order to digest excessive food. Instead of eating 3 large meals a day, go for around 6 smaller meals a day. This will keep acid production in check and eventually prevent or at least lessen heartburn.
You should also avoid foods and beverages that reduce pressure on the LES or the lower esophageal sphincter. This means that you have to avoid food like peppermint, chocolate, coffee or any other beverages or food that contains caffeine, and fatty or fried foods.
You also have to lessen your consumption of food that damages the esophagus, such as spicy food, tomatoes, citrus juices and fruits, and even tomato sauces.
After a big meal, you need to take a rest for at least 2 to 3 hours. Avoid doing any activities that forces acid back in to the esophagus, such as lifting, straining, and coughing. You also have to avoid wearing tight fitting clothes as this can produce pressure on your midsection forcing stomach contents, such as stomach acid, upwards to your esophagus.
After eating, avoid lying down. Use gravity to your advantage. Sit, stand up or walk around for at least 3 hours after a big meal. If you constantly experience night time heartburn, try to elevate the head of your bed when you sleep. But, you should never use more pillows under your head. Instead, use a wedge under the mattress or place a 6 inch block under the head of the bed.
If you are overweight, you should start losing weight. And, you also have to stop smoking if you do smoke as nicotine can damage your LES or lower esophageal sphincter.
Taking antacids can also work. This works by neutralizing the acid in your stomach and it should be taken 1 hour after meals or when you feel heartburn symptoms starting.
You can also take advantage of drugs that block the production of stomach acids. Low doses of these drugs are available over the counter.
These are the self-care and medical treatments that you can consider if you are suffering from heartburn. By keeping these things in mind, you can be sure that you will be able to effectively manage heartburn and take control of your life again.