What Causesacid Reflux And Heartburn
When you eatyour food it goes down through a long tube called youresophagus and ends up in your stomach. A small valve called the loweresophageal sphincter closes, which then stops any food or acid from being able to move back up theesophagus. The problem is, when this valve doesnt relax and close properly itallows stomach acid to flow back up your swallow pipe. When you getheartburn this is simply the stomach acid eating away at the ling of youresophagus!
But contrary to what the medical professionbelieve , acid reflux is not caused by excessive acidproduction in your stomach. In fact, its usually caused from not having enoughstomach acid and an unpleasant little bug called Helicobacter pylori . Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Barry Marshall from Australia, was able toconclusively prove that Helicobacter pylori causes stomach ulcers and is amajor cause of GERD. You can also have severe acid reflux and heartburn if youre suffering from a hiatal hernia .
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Will Peppermint Really Soothe Your Upset Stomach
However, while the minty treat can help some digestive conditions, like indigestion and gas, it may hurt others, such as heartburn due to gastroesophogeal reflux disease .According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint can actually relax the sphincter muscle which closes off the stomach from the esophagus.Aline Charabaty, MD, director of the Center of Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., recommends using coated capsules of peppermint oil.Studies that showed benefit in improving IBS symptoms used two tablets of enteric-coated peppermint oil twice a day for at least four weeks, she says.Chewing any type of gum stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, which can help with the digestion of food and relieve the sensation of fullness and bloating after a meal, explains Charabaty. .
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Check For Other Diseases
Self-medicating with over-the-counter heartburn drugs can mask underlying health problems. Frequent burning or pain in the upper abdomen or chest can signal an ulcer or even esophageal cancer. Some people mistake pain from gallstones or heart disease for heartburn. So before starting any heartburn drug, see a doctor to rule out other health issues.
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Take Time To Eat Slowly
Many reflux and heartburn symptoms begin after meals, and eating too muchviii and too quicklyix are classic heartburn catalysts. Having five or six small meals a day is better than several large ones.viii Take time to enjoy your food, chewing slowly and eating it in a relaxed manner to head off heartburn.
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What Foods Should You Avoid For Heartburn
The NIH suggests restricting the following foods if you have heartburn.
Foods or drinks with caffeine
Caffeine may increase risk of heartburn in some people. Coffee and some teas can be obvious things to cut out, but chocolate products may also cause irritation because they can have caffeine.
Peppermint can be surprising because some heartburn supplements are mint flavor. However, the NIH suggests avoiding mint flavor if you have heartburn. Instead of drinking mint tea, drink ginger tea. If you want to add an herb that may help with heartburn, parsley may be a good choice.
Fatty or spicy foods
Fatty foods can make food sit in your stomach longer which may increase risk for heartburn. Therefore, choosing foods that are low in fat and with low fat cooking methods may be better tolerated for heartburn relief. Spicy foods may increase the stomachs acid production which can also increase heartburn risk.
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What Medications Can I Take For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Its important to be extremely careful about the medications you take when pregnant.
For heartburn relief, over-the-counter antacids are all considered safe medications to use during pregnancy.
As always, consult with your provider about any medications youre taking even if theyre considered safe.
If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking an over-the-counter medication, call your doctor immediately.
What Is The Best Diet For Heartburn
That does not have to be true, however. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be both enjoyable and heartburn-friendly if you know which foods to incorporate into your diet.
Heartburn can flare when your stomach produces too much gastric acid, and your food choices can directly affect this. Here are three meals that incorporate heartburn-reducing foods that your stomach will appreciate.
Oatmeal and Wheat: Try Whole Grains for Breakfast
Oatmeal has been a whole-grain breakfast favorite for generations. It is a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full and promotes regularity. Oats also absorb stomach acid and reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease . For something sweet, top your oatmeal with bananas, apples or pears. The fructose in these fruits is less likely to trigger acid reflux than other sugars. Of course, eating oatmeal every day could get boring, so switch things up with a warm bowl of Cream of Wheat, or some whole grain toast with peanut butter.
Avoid coffee and most teas that contain caffeine, which can cause heartburn. Instead, brew a soothing cup of ginger tea. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that will help regulate acid production.
Vegetables: Add Some Color and Nutrients to Your Lunch
Try these options for a light and tasty lunch:
- Baked potato with steamed broccoli
- Mixed green salad with fresh-cut vegetables and a light oil and vinegar dressing
- Veggie wrap or veggie quesadilla
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Is Ginger Tea Good For Acid Reflux
One such Herbal Tea that is bound to aid digestion is Ginger Root. Once recommended by the great Confucius, modern science has since established that its phenolic compounds relieve gastrointestinal irritation through their anti-inflammatory properties.
Should you want to know how to make Ginger Tea for acid reflux, all youll need are the root pieces with a Tea Infuser or Filter.
Follow A Low Carb Diet
Growing evidence suggests that low carb diets may relieve acid reflux symptoms.
In fact, some researchers suspect that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflux (
Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you experience heartburn, limiting your alcohol intake might help ease some of your discomfort.
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When Should I Consult A Doctor About My Acid Reflux Symptoms
If your symptoms are severe or persistent or you have an acid reflux complication, you must seek medical attention immediately.
Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
You have chest pain, particularly when combined with difficulty breathing, sweating, and nausea or vomiting.
You have heartburn that keeps you awake at night. This increases the risk of sleep apnea and other nighttime health issues like stroke and high blood pressure.
It could also be an indication of esophageal cancer. You should see a doctor right away, not only for treatment but also so that your doctor can perform tests to rule out these potentially fatal conditions.
If it is found that you have acid reflux, you can follow a more restricted diet and take appropriate medication to manage your symptoms.
You have a severe esophageal infection caused by acid reflux, which causes throat swelling or difficulty swallowing. Phlegmonous or necrotizing esophagitis is the medical term for this condition. You should consult a physician.
Chewing Gum To Alleviate Heartburn
One common tactic for immediate relief from the pain of heartburn is to chew gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and increases swallowing. Researchers believe that saliva plays an important role in flushing regurgitated stomach acid from the esophagus back into the stomach, providing quick relief. Try chewing gum for half an hour after a meal to keep the esophagus clear of acid.
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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:
- Fried food
- 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 Helps Heartburn
When you want to know what helps with heartburn, it seems everyone you talk to has a different home remedy for heartburn they swear by. But are these remedies safe? According to Mary Rouzer, DNP, a nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology with Franciscan Physician Network, “Unless your esophagus has damage we’ve seen on a scope and requires medication, it’s fine to try natural remedies for acid reflux.”
Find out which home remedies for acid reflux are safe to try and are most likely to help provide relief and when you should seek medical care.
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How What And When
Watch how you eat: Dont inhale giant mouthfuls of food. Take smaller bites and eat slowly, allowing your stomach time to digest and without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid.
Watch what you eat: Youre probably aware that specific foods trigger heartburn, usually foods high in acid or spicy foods. Avoid these as best you can to ward off
Watch when you eat: Dont eat within 3-4 hours before bed. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through.
Soothe Your Stomach With Aloe Juice
Aloe is a plant used to soothe burns, and people often think of using it to help something like sunburn, but it can do more than that. It may be able to help with heartburn too because it reduces inflammation. This means when your tummy starts getting irritated and inflamed, or your esophagus is getting eaten away at, a nice glass of aloe vera juice may be just the thing to help calm it down.
You will need-1/2 cup aloe vera juice
DirectionsDrink a ½ cup of aloe juice, cool or room temperature, before meals. Keep in mind that aloe can act as a laxative, so unless youre looking to fit in a few extra bathroom Sudoku puzzles, look for a brand that has the laxative component removed.
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Prescription Proton Pump Inhibitors
Healthcare providers prescribe PPIs to treat people with gastroesophageal reflux disease , peptic ulcer disease, or other digestive disorders that may cause excess stomach acid.
Prescription proton pump inhibitors are available under the following brand names and may have generic formulations:
Prescription PPIs are meant to be taken under a healthcare provider’s supervision and only for a limited amount of time. Chronic use of PPIs has been associated with heart attacks, kidney disease, and bone fractures.
Find The Right Drugs At The Lowest Possible Price
Remember Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is? Well, heartburn drugs have changed a lot since that TV jingle became popular. Americans spent $6 billion on the acid-reflux drug Nexium in 2012, making it the top-selling branded prescription medication. But other drugs work just as well and cost less, according to a Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs analysis. Heres how to treat heartburn right.
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Drink Or Chew On Herbs
Certain herbs aid digestion and can provide heartburn relief when consumed after a meal. Chamomile and ginger teas have both been shown to improve digestion, making them ideal home remedies for GERD. You can also chew on fennel, dill, anise, or caraway seeds, or crush the seeds into a soothing tea as a home remedy for heartburn. If you have a ragweed allergy, a Harvard Medical School report recommends skipping chamomile in favor of one of the other herbal remedies.
Top 15 Heartburn Remedies
Just because heartburn is common doesnt mean you have to suffer with it. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can develop into more serious health problems. Here are the top 15 heartburn remedies…
Despite humorous commercials touting heartburn remedies with funny words like plop-plop and fizz-fizz, heartburn is no joke. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least occasionally, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, occurs when acidic stomach juices flow backward into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining. The resulting pain can be uncomfortable, annoying or excruciating. It can hurt as much as a heart attack, says Paige Hastings, a certified nurse practitioner at The Little Clinic in Nashville, Tenn.But not everyone has such pain you could also feel a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your throat or the awful sensation of food or liquid washing back into your mouth and down the gullet.In fact, frequent heartburn and food sticking in the throat are signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease .Untreated, these problems can lead more serious problems, including strictures , ulcers, cancer and pneumonia, explains Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Virginia Beach, Va.
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What Foods Or Drinks Are Good For Heartburn
The following foods can help alleviate discomfort from heartburn: ginger, bananas, melons, oats, lean meats, fennel and green vegetables.
Research studies show heartburn has increased 47% over the past few decades according to a 2012 Today article .
The NIH estimates about 1 in 5 Americans suffer from heartburn , so chances are you or someone you know experiences at least occasional heartburn.
Heartburn can cause pain in the lower esophagus/upper stomach area because the stomach acid is coming back up into the esophagus. The esophagus is not designed like the stomach to handle acid, so it causes a burning sensation.
The NIH suggests other symptoms associated with chronic heartburn can include: bad breath, tasting acid in the back of your throat when eating, nausea, stomach pain, respiratory problems or wearing teeth down.
Treating chronic heartburn is important because left untreated it could lead to other serious medical conditions.
If you experience heartburn that does not get better with over the counter medication or dietary changes, consult your healthcare team.
Heartburn can be a result of weight gain, pregnancy, side effect from certain medications, inhaling second hand smoke or be a result of other medical condition.
A Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
Do you know your body mass index ? If not, start now by entering your weight and height into a BMI calculator to use the NIH calculator and find your current BMI.
A healthy BMI is between 19 and 25, but anyone with a compromised LES should not be at the high end of normal. We recommend a BMI of 24 or less. Why is this important? We wrote a cornerstone article titled How is your excess weight destroying your LES , which we highly recommend you read if you have a BMI greater than 24.
This excess weight does two things that will increase your GERD symptoms. First, it distends the stomach, pulling down on the LES and stretching it out. Over a long-term, this will reduce the effectiveness of the LES to act as an effective barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus.
Second, it puts added pressure on the diaphragm, potentially pushing stomach content into the esophagus. Many research studies have proven that a reduction in BMI will reduce GERD symptoms. In an NIH published paper researchers concluded the following:
In summary, our findings suggest that, beyond being overweight or obese, the risk of GERD symptoms rises progressively with increasing BMI, even among normal weight individuals. This appears true for all degrees of symptom severity and duration, as well as for nocturnal symptoms. Notably, weight loss was associated with a decreased risk of symptoms.
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What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn
There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .
Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.
Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.
Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.
A Few Lifestyle Changes Are Worth Trying Before Resorting To Drugs For Controlling Gastroesophageal Reflux
If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest.
Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.
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