Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
What To Do If Heartburn Is Severe Or Frequent
For mild, occasional heartburn, over-the-counter medications such as antacids and histamine blockers can help relieve symptoms. Always read the product label before taking an antacid or histamine blocker and never take a larger dose or take doses more frequently than directed.
If you’re experiencing heartburn frequently, consult your doctor before taking heartburn medications regularly since these drugs can interfere with many other medications and affect underlying health conditions you may have.
If you have severe heartburn, as well as if it persists or worsens after taking steps to relieve it, consult your doctor. In some cases, heartburn can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease , or possibly a side effect of a medication you’re taking.
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Aim For A Healthy Weight
Losing weight may help reduce your heartburn symptoms. Some research has shown strong connections between being overweight or obese and GER/GERD.
The rate of GERD in people with obesity may be as high as 79%. Meanwhile, the overall prevalence of GERD in the United States is estimated at between 18% and 28%.
Gaining weight increases your risk and losing weight appears to lower it. This is believed to be due to excess body fat’s impact on the metabolism and physical changes around the esophagus, stomach, and LES.
Speak with your healthcare provider about a diet and exercise plan that can help you reach a healthy weight.
Ways To Prevent Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Most of us are all too familiar with the painful, burning sensation in the center of the chest thats associated with heartburn.
In fact, up to 28% of adults in North America experience gastroesophageal reflux disease , a common condition that causes heartburn. GERD occurs when acid is pushed up from the stomach back into the esophagus, which leads to the heartburn sensation .
Although people often use medications to treat acid reflux and heartburn, many lifestyle modifications can also help you reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Here are 14 natural ways to reduce your acid reflux and heartburn, all backed by scientific research.
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Are There Any Other Natural Treatments For Heartburn
Melatonin, a supplement used to aid sleep, has been suggested to help relieve heartburn. But the research is conflicting as to whether it is effective for this or any other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Before you decide to take any herbal remedy or supplement, check with your doctor. Some supplements can have side effects or can interact with medications you’re already taking.
Ways To Quell The Fire Of Heartburn
Heartburn is a common problem. It’s caused by the backwash of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and stomach. This is formally called gastroesophageal reflux disease . More than just a minor discomfort, heartburn can significantly reduce quality of life. “Heartburn can cause damage to the esophagus and even increase the risk of cancer if ignored and untreated,” says Dr. William Kormos, editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
These eight steps can help ease heartburn.
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Eat A Banana Or An Apple
Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try out the simplest home remedies for heartburn first, try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eating one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
It is important to treat heartburn, as reflux may damage the esophageal lining.¹¹
You should see a doctor immediately if you have heartburn and:¹
- You have a crushing, burning, squeezing or pressure like feeling in the chest
- You are vomiting up blood or what looks like coffee grounds
You should also call your healthcare provider if you have heartburn and:
- It occurs often
- It won’t go away with self-care after a few weeks
- Symptoms worsen with antacids
- You believe a medication may be causing the heartburn
- You are losing weight unintentionally
- You are having difficulties with swallowing
- You are wheezing
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Watch What You Eat Drink And Do
Making some changes to your lifestyle can go a long way toward easing the pain of heartburn.
Say goodbye to cigarettes. Smoking causes your body to make less saliva, a liquid that helps stamp out stomach acid. That can lead to burning in your esophagus. Tobacco may also cause your stomach to make more acid and relax the muscles at the lower end of your esophagus that can shut down the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Chewing gum and sucking on lozenges can help you make more saliva.
Donât lie down after you eat. If you need an afternoon siesta, snooze upright in a chair. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed, and donât make the last meal of the day your biggest one.
Raise the head of your bed. If the top of your bed is higher than the bottom, itâs harder for the acid to travel up. You can do this with a block of wood under the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress.
Be careful what medications you use. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other medications, such as some sedatives and blood pressure drugs, can trigger heartburn. Ask your doctor if any of your medications might be causing your symptoms. There may be something else you can take.
Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing, including belts, can cause stomach contents to push upward.
Ginger Can Help Heartburn
If your mother gave you flat ginger ale when you had an upset stomach as a kid, it may have seemed like a treat but there was a good reason behind it. Ginger has long been known to help calm stomach troubles, including stomach bloating and acid reflux. Carbonation and added sugar aggravate the stomach though, so youre better off drinking ginger tea.
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Ventral Hernia Danger Signs
The opening in the abdominal wall allows the contents of the hernia to move in and out. The hernia becomes larger when standing or straining and reduces or flattens when you lie down. You can also push the swelling back in by hand. If the hernia becomes firm and painful to touch, it could be:
Obstructed hernia. A part of the intestines is trapped inside the hernia and has become blocked. The contents of the intestines can’t move ahead. You can’t pass gas or motions, and you may have severe pain, vomiting, and abdominal swelling.
Strangulated hernia. The blood supply of the intestines or omentum inside the hernia has been cut off. This can happen because of swelling of the organs trapped in the hernia. It leads to tissue death and needs emergency surgery to release the trapped tissue and restore its blood flow.
Obstructed hernia and strangulated hernia are emergency conditions. You must go to the hospital immediately for treatment.
How Many Capsules Should I Take
For daily use, we recommend taking 1 capsule per day to allow the beneficial bacteria to aid in the digestive process and restore balance to the gut biome.
For more significant gastrointestinal issues, we recommend taking 1 capsules twice per day to provide maximum strength probiotic support and defense against digestive distress.
Proper dosage is an individual process that depends on what works best for you and your body. We do not recommend taking more than 6 capsules per day.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, dropping a few pounds can help resolve heartburn symptoms not least because you are less likely to eat high-fat foods on a diet. Losing as little as 2.5 pounds can help reduce heartburn symptoms, according to David A. Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine.7
Why Some Foods Cause Heartburn
Food is the most common heartburn trigger, but why? Your stomach may react to some foods by increasing acid production, slowing down digestion, or inhibiting the esophageal sphincters ability to prevent stomach contents from leaking back into the esophagus. Tomatoes, fatty foods, and coffee are among the usual suspects. Avoiding these types of foods could aid in preventing heartburn.
Although there is a list of common triggers, everyone is slightly different. Two friends could eat the same tomato sauce, but only one might get heartburn. The best thing to do is to be aware of your own triggers and make smart choices.
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Mylicon: Best Heartburn Medication For Children
Unlike the other medications, mylicon is actually an anti-foaming agent that can act as an antacid for children ages 2-11. Mylicon has an active ingredient, Simethicone, that gently breaks up gas bubbles in the stomach. Additionally, it contains Calcium Carbonate, which is an antacid.
Mylicon was specifically designed to soothe discomfort from gas, acid, indigestion, overeating, and bloating. It is a fast-acting medication you can pick up OTC and typically costs only $11 for 15 milliliters. For most children, Mylicon starts working in just minutes following consumption.
The only potential side effect of Mylicon is loose stools. However, only use Mylicon for your child as directed and no more than 12 times per day. See below for the suggested doses of Mylicon to give your child.
Elevate Your Upper Body While Sleeping
Acid reflux often gets worse at night, because when you lie down, it is easier for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus. You can improve nighttime symptoms by changing the angle of your body during sleep.
Specifically, it is helpful to raise your head and shoulders above your stomach and keep your esophagus tilted downward. For example, you can elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up on a slanted pillow. “This lets gravity help clear anything that comes into the esophagus at night,” says Wolf.
A small 2011 study found that people who elevated the head of their beds with an 8-inch block for one week saw significant improvements in their heartburn symptoms and had less disturbed sleep.
And a 2016 review of four studies found that even for people already taking acid reflux medications, adding an elevated sleeping position helped symptoms more than just taking medication alone.
To elevate your bed, you can use bed risers under the top two feet of your bed frame, or if this isn’t possible, you can buy a sloped pillow to help angle your head and shoulders upward while sleeping.
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Less Alcohol = Natural Heartburn Relief
Alcohol increases the amount of acid in your stomach, additionally relaxes your lower esophageal sphincter as well as makes it harder for your food pipe to clear itself of unwanted acid. This is not only bad news for those already familiar with reflux issues as studies suggest that even moderate amounts of alcohol can lead to the same symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals.
If you want to avoid the burn, simply skip that second beer or a glass of wine and enjoy some fresh water. Your stomach will thank you later.
Understanding The Fire Within
It has nothing to do with your heart, so why call it heartburn? Probably because its easier than saying esophageal burn. Heartburn is caused by acid escaping from your stomach up into your esophagus. Your lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to prevent that. But sometimes it relaxes or doesnt close properly and the acid escapes. Unlike the stomach, the esophagus isnt meant to house acid, so thats when you feel the burn.
If you think you may suffer from heartburn please speak to your doctor or healthcare provider.
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Elevate The Upper Part Of Your Bed
Experiencing persistent heartburn when youre supposed to relax and recharge your batteries is a nuisance like no other. And studies show that a large number of people suffer from this exact problem, experiencing acid reflux symptoms at night and struggling to fall asleep.
Researchers, however, managed to show that there is a way of relieving heartburn symptoms at night, and it is a simple one. Put a wooden board, a block of wood or even a chunky old book under the mattress so that the head of your bed is slightly elevated. You can even buy a bed that has an adjustable upper part.
Elevating the upper part of the bed is effective as a slightly raised position of the upper body makes it hard for the acid to travel back up at night, thus staying in the stomach where it cant hurt the esophagus.
And hey, simply lying on a pillow will not suffice. You need to raise the upper torso to provide heartburn relief, which means putting stuff under the mattress. If you dont have an adjustable bed frame, experiment with improvised systems until you find the best solution
Add Fennel Seeds To Your Diet
Rich with vitamins and minerals, fennel has been used as a digestive aid all over the world for centuries. That’s thanks to its source of anethole, a compound that relaxes the stomach. Park suggests seeping some crushed fennel seeds in boiling water to make a tea and sipping it after a meal.
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Take Melatonin At Night
A small 2010 study found that melatonin could improve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease by protecting the esophagus and reducing heartburn, especially when used in conjunction with omeprazole. A person may be diagnosed with GERD if they experience acid reflux frequently.
Additionally, a 2014 randomized controlled trial found that, when taken in addition to omeprazole in the morning, 6 mg of melatonin taken nightly improved symptoms of functional heartburn more so than the antidepressant nortriptyline.
Melatonin is still being studied for its use as a treatment for GERD.
You can try taking 6 mg of melatonin every night to see if it helps you. Melatonin may interact with some medications, so if you’re on any prescription drugs, talk to your doctor before starting melatonin. Also, if you are pregnant, you should not take melatonin.
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Sodium Bicarbonate: Most Affordable Heartburn Medication
Sodium Bicarbonate is an OTC medication that assists with neutralizing the levels of acid in your stomach due to its alkaline pH properties, which can help relieve heartburn. In particular, though, Sodium Bicarbonate is the cheapest antacid available, costing only $3.34 on the GoodRx site. This price is 59% off the retail price of sodium Bicarbonate, which is $8.16.
Through this low cost, individuals who suffer from heartburn can seek medical help at an affordable price. However, individuals who use Sodium Bicarbonate to help with heartburn should use it with care. Typically, doctors recommend only using it when symptoms first appear temporarily. This is because other issues could harm the body if the body becomes too alkaline.
The most common side effects of Sodium Bicarbonate include gas, bloating, cramps, and increased thirst. Doctors advise that children the age of six should only use Sodium Bicarbonate as a medication if prescribed.