For many people, what causes heartburn remains a mystery. Heartburn is characterized by the regurgitation of stomach acids up into the esophagus. It may also be experienced as a burning sensation in the chest, behind the sternum. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a common condition. Although its precise cause is unknown, there are several factors that seem to predispose people to develop this problem.
Firstly, a person with chronic heartburn symptoms is more prone to developing gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Secondly, if a person tends to lie down immediately after their meals, lying down for a long time may lead to an unhealthful lifestyle. Thirdly, those who eat too much spicy and high-fat foods are more likely to suffer from heartburn. On the other hand, if a person is a junk food addict, taking over-the-counter medications or prescription medicines that contain a large amount of caffeine or ephedra can cause heartburn.
The primary reason that people experience heartburn is because of the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. Therefore, it is important to avoid eating heavy meals too soon before one has to relieve the pain of heartburn. Eating smaller frequent meals will ensure that the stomach acid does not linger too long in the esophagus and cause discomfort. Furthermore, it is essential to drink plenty of fluids when one experiences heartburn. Doing so prevents the stomach acids from rising to the top of the esophagus and entering the bloodstream, which in turn helps to reduce the levels of stomach acid.
Another factor that leads to heartburn symptoms is the loosening of the esophageal sphincter, which prevents gastric contents from backing up into the esophagus. For some people, an over-production of gastric contents can cause the esophageal sphincter to relax too much, resulting in a painful heartburn episode. People who suffer from chronic heartburn symptoms can sometimes alleviate their discomfort by undergoing acid reflux surgery, which is performed by a doctor. Although this procedure can be effective in relieving heartburn, it can also damage the esophagus and other internal organs if it is done incorrectly. Therefore, people who are experiencing heartburn symptoms should avoid undergoing this type of surgery.
Other factors that may lead to heartburn symptoms include taking too many types of over-the-counter medications and prescription medicines. In some cases, the foods that people eat can trigger heartburn, as certain foods can cause the muscles of the esophagus to relax, resulting in the painful burning sensation that occurs with heartburn. In order to reduce the incidence of heartburn, people suffering from heartburn symptoms should avoid eating spicy foods, chocolate and citrus fruits, coffee, tea and alcohol, while taking on the oral contraceptive regimen that contains different estrogenic compounds, such as progestin or clomiphene citrate.
If you consume a lot of fatty or spicy food, you are more likely to experience heartburn. However, you do not have to just wait for an episode of heartburn to strike before you know why you are having it. If you are overweight, you need to work on losing weight. Excess fat can put unnecessary pressure on your stomach, causing it to weaken and produce excess stomach acid. Losing weight will help you avoid the discomfort of heartburn, as well as the complications that come with having heartburn.