For sure you know the burning feeling in your stomach or throat area. It sometimes happens after we eat a particular kind of food or when we eat too much. It likes to wake us up in the middle of the night and it is called heartburn.
The studies have shown that even more than 60 million Americans deal with the discomfort of heartburn at least once a month. Moreover, around 15 million people suffer from it every day. Heartburn is also a very common condition among pregnant women.
Despite its name, it has nothing to do with our heart, but with acid indigestion or reflux. When it happens just from time to time, you can easily deal with it, but when you suffer from it every day, it might become a real nightmare. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to fight the problem of heartburn.
What is Heartburn
To deal with the problem of heartburn successfully first you need to understand it. Heartburn is actually not a condition, but just a symptom of so called acid reflux. It happens when the ring of muscles in your throat area, where the food you eat passes on its way to your stomach, known as lower esophagus sphincter (LES) relaxes when it should not.
When the LES does not work as it should, the acid from your stomach goes up towards the esophagus and you end up with a burning feeling in your chest, throat or stomach area. If you suffer from this sensation just occasionally, it’s known as heartburn. However, if it happens to you at least twice a week, it means that you deal with the medical condition known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
GERD is a more serious case of acid reflux, which suggests that acidic pH levels in your stomach become unbalanced. As a result, GERG causes more severe and more troublesome symptoms than simple heartburn and usually requires more advanced treatment.
Now, when you already know what heartburn is, you should also learn that the burning feeling is not the only symptom of this issue.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn
The burning sensation in your chest area is not the only symptom of heartburn. Apart from that after food consumption you may experience some kind of pressure in the chest together with a burning feeling.
Very often because of the excessive amount of acid our throat is irritated and we often feel the need to harrumph. Also, you can feel the accumulated amount of bile in your throat, which often has bitter or sour taste.
What’s more, you might also struggle with the feeling of bloating or discomfort in your stomach and you burp frequently. It is also common that the burning feeling accrues or is accompanied by pain when you bend or lie.
The most important thing about heartburn and dealing with it is knowing what causes the condition so keep reading.
What Are The Causes of Heartburn
Very often the main causes of heartburn refer to our unhealthy lifestyle and food habits. Read about the main factors that may lead to heartburn and see if you make any of these mistakes.
First of all, think not only about what you eat, but also how you eat. If you eat fast or gulp the food without chewing, you may end up with heartburn. Similarly, when you have too short gaps between the meals, you can suffer from heartburn more often.
Bad diet is another common reason for heartburn. Some types of food boost the production of stomach acid, which later causes discomfort in the chest area.
Spicy food, chocolates, tomatoes or ketchup, citrus fruits, onions, and garlic are the products which shouldn’t be on your shopping list or at least you should reduce their consumption to minimum.
Watch out what you drink too. Carbonated drinks often cause heartburn because the gas puts extra pressure on the esophageal sphincter. Too much coffee and energy drinks are also a common cause of heartburn as caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter.
Remember that when it comes to diets, it’s recommended to keep the balance. If for one meal you eat to heavy and for another one too light, it’s probable that you will have problems with heartburn.
If you are a fan of big and fatty meals, for sure you struggle with heartburn. It’s even worse if you eat a lot in the evening or at night as your stomach may have difficulties with digesting the food and the acid.
It is a scientific fact that people who are overweight or obese are also at higher risk of heartburn. When you have too much of the abdominal fat, there is an extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.
Regular exercises are of course healthy to your body, but there are some exercises that may boost heartburn. These are all the activities which put pressure on your abdomen, such as crunches, leg lifts, headstands or jogging. So choose your exercises wisely and never work out with a full stomach.