What Causes Heartburn

By Victoria Bowden

Heartburn happens when gastric acid returns back into the esophagus. Heartburn symptoms include a sour taste in your throat, burping, the feeling like something is stuck in the back of your throat, and/or a burning sensation in the chest. This burning up sensation usually begins behind the sternum (the breast bone), and travels to the throat. It generally occurs right after eating and it may last from a couple of minutes to many hours. The acid backup might worsen while you are bent over or lying down.

Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), is a common medical condition which affects about 1 in 5 people. Acid reflux occurs when the valve mechanism that closes the esophagus from the stomach is weak. The muscles don’t contract properly and acids in the stomach get into the esophagus. Muscle weakness comes from genetics, excessive ingestion of fats, and being overweight. Age plays a role as well, over time our muscles gradually lose the elasticity they once had and take longer to heal from damage.

Some of the things we consume on a daily basis can cause heartburn. Some of the common things that trigger heartburn include aspirin, alcohol, caffeinated products, carbonated beverages, peppermint, fried foods, acidic foods like tomatoes, onions and garlic, acidic juices- mainly citrus fruit juices, chocolate, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, and even spices like pepper and mustard.

When it comes to having a natural and balanced digestive tract the foods that we consume play a major role. The foods, beverages, and medications above should only be taken in moderation. To help the digestion process it is also important not to eat large amounts of food at one time, try not to eat too fast, and avoid eating before bedtime. With these tips, small changes in your diet, and some motivation to improve your inner health you can be on the way to being heartburn free and improve the quality of your life.

Antacids are one of the least expensive, easiest, and most relied upon ways to get temporary relief from heartburn symptoms. Antacids are available over the counter and one dose lasts around an hour. They come in liquid form, which works the fastest, chewable tablets and gums, and also dissolving tablets.

If your heartburn occurs multiple times every week, has become more severe over time, if you have some difficulty swallowing, or the symptoms are interfering with your overall lifestyle then you should seek some medical advice and really start thinking about how you can change your health long term. Frequent heartburn may be a sign more serious problems with the digestive system and action must be taken to improve the health of your body on the inside as well as the outside.

Lifestyle changes in eating habits, activity, and behavior can help you to avoid heartburn. When you improve on these qualities in your life you will see improvements in your heartburn condition and be on your way to curing the problem and preventing its recurrence. You will also have a healthier body from the inside out.

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What Causes Heartburn