Why You Get Heartburn And How You Can Treat It

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heartburnIf you have ever woken up in the middle of the night with a burning pain in your chest and a sour tasting fluid in the back of your throat, you probably have heartburn.

It can keep you up all night and the pain can be so severe that it sends many people to the emergency room. If you don’t treat chronic heartburn, it can even cause cancer.

Heartburn is serious and you should never take it lightly, especially if you experience it more than three times a week. Read on to learn how you get heartburn and what you can do to avoid it.

What Causes Heartburn?

Heartburn can have many causes. What happens is that when you eat and swallow food, it usually stays in your stomach because the muscle band, or lower esophageal sphincter, at the end of your esophagus closes and keeps the food in. Sometimes the LES doesn’t close enough and your stomach acid travels into your esophagus causing pain and irritation. This is what causes heartburn.

Some people are more prone to having heartburn than others. If you have a hiatal hernia, you could experience heartburn more frequently because the hernia weakens your LES and allows the acid to back up into your esophagus. Pregnancy can also cause heartburn. Some medications will also cause heartburn, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, sedatives and progestin.

What Are The Symptoms of Heartburn?

heart brunHeartburn has quite a few symptoms. The most common symptom is a burning sensation in your chest. It starts after eating, and can last for hours.

You many also experience chest pain when you lie down or bend over. Your throat will burn, and you can taste a sour, hot fluid in the back of your throat.

As heartburn progresses, you may have difficulty swallowing. It will feel like your food is getting stuck in your throat or chest. You many also start to experience chronic sore throats, hoarseness, or chronic coughing.

How Do You Treat Heartburn?

Heartburn can be treated in a few ways. If you know what foods trigger your heartburn, you can cut them out of your diet. This is difficult for many people, and it is usually easier to take medication. Start with over the counter medication like proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers.

These slow down your production of stomach acid and will make your heartburn go away. You can also take antacids if you suffer from infrequent heartburn. If your symptoms do not improve, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication. Rarely, you may need surgery to prevent heartburn. Surgery can be used to repair your LES.

What Foods Trigger Heartburn?

Girl eating fatty food Certain foods trigger heartburn, and you need to avoid them. Alcohol can irritate your LES and cause heartburn, as can caffeine.

Soda and other carbonated drinks can cause heartburn. Many people report that chocolate and citrus trigger their heartburn. Peppermint and spearmint can cause an episode.

Fatty food and spicy foods are some of the most common heartburn triggers. They are hard to digest and stay in your stomach for a long time. Try to avoid fatty foods at night so that your heartburn doesn’t wake you up. Dairy foods and tomatoes are other known triggers.

What Else Can You Do To Stop Heartburn?

wieght lossIf you are prone to heartburn, try not to exercise after you eat. Don’t eat less than three hours before bed. When your stomach is full and you lie down, the contents of your stomach push against your LES and can cause it to open.

You should also eat smaller meals. Tight clothes and belts can also press against your stomach and force the LES to open. While heartburn definitely has the power to make your life miserable, it can be treated with dietary changes and medicine if necessary.

If you have heartburn, it is important to treat it right away. You don’t want to end up with any of the complications you can get from heartburn, including difficulty eating, swallowing, and esophageal cancer. Thankfully, heartburn can be treated.

Avoid the foods that trigger your heartburn, and if that doesn’t help, medicine can control your heartburn. Losing weight can also help get your heartburn under control. You don’t have to suffer with heartburn. Help is available.

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