Reflux, Heartburn Pain
Seven simple ways to get heartburn relief23 Jan 2017
Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart.
Some of the symptoms, however, are similar to those of a heart attack or heart disease.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid that rises to irritate the esophagus creating a burning discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone.
You often feel bloated and uncomfortable – and feel a “burning” sensation.
The symptoms can come and go at any time, but often eating is the trigger. Sometimes the discomfort begins during the meal, other times, about half an hour later.
This is often referred to as dyspepsia – and if you experience it regularly – you’re not alone.
A large percentage of the Australian population is affected – hitting men and women equally.
Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous, but chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can sometimes lead to serious problems.
Heartburn is a weekly occurrence for up to 20% of Australians and is very common in pregnant women.
The good news is that there are simple things you can try to help get some heartburn relief.
Harvard Medical School offers these seven tips:
- Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms (This may include tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, caffeinated products, and peppermint. Meals high in fat and oils may also lead to heartburn).
- Eat small portions and don't overeat; try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and be sure to chew food slowly and completely.
- Avoid activities that result in swallowing excess air, such as smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.
- Reduce your stress. Try relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exercise. An aerobic workout 3-5 times per week can help, but don't exercise right after eating.
- Get enough rest.
- Don't lie down within two hours of eating.
- Keep your weight under control.
But when symptoms don't improve and start to interfere with sleep or daily life, it is time to get your doctor's help.