Heartburn isn’t a pleasant experience, but it doesn’t have to be one. With some simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce the frequency and severity of your heartburn episodes. One of the best ways to do this is to alter your diet. It sounds strange, but there are certain foods that cause heartburn in people who are prone to having bouts of the problem. Here are a few examples:
Acid Reflux: This is a problem that almost everyone experiences at one time or another. Heartburn occurs when the stomach acids splashes up into your esophagus, creating a burning sensation in your throat and chest. This is a symptom of several different medical conditions, such as GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and pregnancy. If left untreated, acid reflux symptoms can become chronic, making it difficult to swallow and causing other complications, such as regurgitation.
Stomach Pain or Abdominal Pain: Heartburn can also occur with abdominal pain upon swallowing. This can also be accompanied by regurgitation of acid into the esophagus, which increases the acidity of the symptoms. Abdominal pain and heartburn often go hand in hand. If the heartburn symptoms seem to come on suddenly, chances are that you are experiencing some damage to the sensitive lining of your esophagus.
Antacids: If you’re prone to heartburn, then chances are that you will also be prone to the use of over-the-counter antacids. These help to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which is what causes the discomfort and burning sensation. Common over-the-counter antacids include Alka-Seltzer, Aspirin and Pepcid. However, if you take these medications regularly, it’s important to pay attention to how often you take them, as an extended period of usage can weaken the esophageal lining, potentially leading to more problems down the line.
Chest Pain or Chest Pressure: For some people, heartburn symptoms can result in pain in the chest area, sometimes even reaching the neck area. If this is the case for you, speak with your physician about ways to relax the chest muscles, such as by taking short breaths. You may want to consider using a breathing mask, which can help to keep the chest muscles relaxed. Also, try not to lay in bed too long, as this can cause you to lose the flow of oxygen through your lungs and into your bloodstream.
Acid Reflux Disease Treatment: Although it is possible for you to treat heartburn on your own, it is much better to speak with a health care professional, particularly if you are pregnant, have had acid reflux for many years, or are obese. These types of conditions can weaken the esophageal lining, making it easier for stomach acid to reach the esophagus. Some types of acid reflux drugs, called proton pump inhibitors, can help, as can using an antacid diet to prevent stomach acids from backing up into your esophagus. To get immediate relief, speak with your physician.