Heartburn is that feeling of pain and burning sensation in the chest that usually happens around the breastbone area. In most cases, the pain radiates up to the neck, throat, jaw, and even the head. Heartburn is associated with gastric acid reflux. Gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage.
It is the occurrence of stomach acid coming up from the stomach and reaches the esophagus. Dyspepsia and heartburn may have the same characteristics and the term is used interchangeably but there is a difference between the two. Dyspepsia has something to do with indigestion and the discomfort is felt in the upper abdomen and causes upset stomach. The term heartburn is widely used to describe that displeasure feeling in the chest but it has nothing to do with the heart. It is only because the pain is felt in the chest area that is why the term heartburn is coined.
It is just common to have occasional heartburn attacks. Heartburn is something that is not to be bothered about, and in fact, this condition is easy to correct. A trip to the doctor is not necessary if one knows how to deal with heartburn. It is enough to identify what over-the-counter pills to take to relieve the discomfort caused by this condition. A check on the kind of lifestyle is also recommended to avoid frequent attacks. If heartburn attacks too frequently and starts to cripple one’s activity and productivity, then to seek professional medical help comes in. The heartburn condition that happens too frequently may be a sign of more serious medical conditions.
As mentioned, to pop an OTC pill to ease the pain is the fastest remedy for heartburn, but there are more ways to deal with the discomfort other than antacid pills. There are natural remedies that deliver the same results and proven to be effective. These natural remedies are safe and non-toxic as well.
BAKING SODA – Baking soda must be the oldest home and natural remedy for heartburn. Baking soda aids in neutralizing acid in the stomach. Mix a half teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and drink it once heartburn attacks. The taste is definitely not great, but the results are. Do not be surprised if burps come more than once after taking the baking soda mixture, for it only means that this remedy is working.
CHEWING GUM – There is more to chewing gum than to make the breath fresh after a meal. Chewing a gum few minutes after eating is proven effective in easing heartburn. When chewing a gum, the production of saliva is stimulated and the saliva produced quickly washes the acid that is accumulated in the gut away. If this is the method effective for you and you plan to have chewing gums everyday, make sure to chew the ones that are sugar-free to protect your teeth and to not add calories.
ALOE – the extract of aloe eases inflammation in the stomach and prevents heartburn attacks. Aloe is known to treat burns, and that is very possible with stomach burns. Not all enjoys the taste of aloe extract, so mixing it with non-acidic juice is the best way to do it.
GINGER – Ginger has long been used as an aid for gastrointestinal tract and deters inflammation and nausea. A warm ginger tea can easily give comfort to heart burn because it has properties that absorb acid from the stomach. Another benefit of ginger is its nerve-calming ability. It is safe to take ginger tea on a regular basis to avoid the occurrence of heart burn.
CHAMOMILE TEA – these small white flower heads is known to have calming properties. Aside from it soothes the senses and relaxes the mind, chamomile tea also has some properties that help in easing heart burn and is effective in soothing the lining of the esophagus. Taking chamomile tea also prevents over production of pepsin in the gastrointestinal tract which protects it against stomach acid. Since it is herbal and has no adverse effect, drinking chamomile tea every after meal is okay.
These natural remedies, or any other remedies for that matter, will not be effective if one is living a poor lifestyle. A change in lifestyle paves a way to easing and eventually curing heartburn.
AVOID FOOD AND BEVERAGES THAT TRIGGER HEART BURN – Caffeine, sodas, some juices, citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, and food high in fat are the ones that trigger heartburn. Other foods and beverages may not be in the list, so it is important to observe your stomach behavior after meals and track which had might cause the heartburn. Once the food that caused the attack is identified, it is wise to avoid that on your next meal.
EATING HABITS – Eating too much causes heart burn. The stomach can only accommodate as much and loading it with more than what it can take usually causes the attack. Do not eat too fast, chew the food well, and do not eat dinner close to your bed time. It also helps to do some walking after dinner.
ELEVATE THE HEAD A FEW INCHES WHEN SLEEPING – With the head a bit elevated when sleeping, it avoids pressing the stomach contents against the lower esophageal sphincter. Adding another pillow is the easiest way to elevate the head.
DO NOT DRINK AND SMOKE – Alcohol and cigarettes have components that stimulate over production of acid in the stomach. Drinking and smoking also slows down the production of saliva, and as mentioned, saliva prevents over production of acid in the gut.
Staying away from heartburn requires only few, simple, and easy steps so there is no reason why one must suffer from it over long period of times. It is one of human discomforts that are easiest to treat. As long as right and healthy lifestyle is practiced, coupled with exercise and a right state of mind, attack of heartburns will less likely to happen.