Heartburn affects one out of 10 Americans on a weekly basis. This condition, which is not related to the heart despite of its name, can be triggered by different elements including medications, stress, or certain types of food. If you suspect of having suffered from this problem, it is important that you take time to study about it and discover effective treatment such as home remedies.
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a painful sensation felt in the chest, particularly in the area behind the epigastrium or the breastbone. The pain may travel from the chest up to the neck and throat. It is usually associated with gastric reflux, and is in fact a major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It occurs when the stomach acid travels upward and irritates the esophagus.
Causes and Symptoms of Heartburn
The primary cause of this problem is the failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to keep the stomach acid inside the stomach where it belongs. This can occur where a person eats excessively or when there is too much pressure on the stomach such as during pregnancy. Also, certain foods and drinks trigger heartburn. Examples of such include tomatoes, spices, coffee, peppermint, onions, garlic, fatty dishes, and chocolate. Apart from eating, some habits can also increase the risk of this condition. People who smoke, drink alcohol, or take certain medications are more likely to experience heartburn symptoms from time to time than those who do not.
So how do you know if you are experiencing heartburn? How do you know if it is not heart attack? For one, the burning sensation is felt behind the area of the breastbone and not on the area of the chest where the heart is located. Also, you would know that it is heartburn if it occurs after eating, as it usually does. Bending over or lying down aggravates the chest pain. Moreover, a person experiences difficulty in swallowing, feels a burning sensation on the throat, and suffers from chronic cough, hoarseness, or sore throat.
Effective Home Remedies for Heartburn
Occasional heartburn can be remedied by antacids. Over-the-counter medications for heartburn such as Zantac 75, Tagamet HR, Axid AR, and Pepcid AC also provide immediate treatment for this ailment. These medications work to neutralize the stomach acid and give quick relief.
Since heartburn is triggered by certain foods, it is imperative that you consume these foods in moderation or avoid them if possible. It is important to remember however that not all foods listed under the heartburn-causing category would automatically trigger your heartburn. For example, for some people, tomatoes can instantly cause their stomach acids to revolt while for others, it's chocolates that can be found as the culprit. It is a must that you observe your daily diet so that you can determine effectively which food types cause heartburn for you.
Also, remember not to lie down after eating a big meal. If you must, add more pillows to your back to lie down in almost upright position. In serious cases, surgery may be required to stop acid reflux and heartburn altogether.