Most of us have wondered what causes heartburn at some point in our lives. When the lower esophageal sphincter – a strip of muscle tissue that connects the esophagus to the stomach – is compromised, heartburn ensues. Gastric acid refluxes, or moves back up the esophagus, due to the weakening barrier. Certain foods, herbs, medicines, and even movements like coughing might trigger this movement.
If you have frequent heartburn, the sooner you start treating it, the greater your chances of keeping it from getting worse. Let’s start with some background information for those of you who are unfamiliar with what causes heartburn. For starters, a diet strong in fat, simple carbs, acidic foods, and processed foods might cause the LES to weaken. Once this occurs on a regular basis, stomach acids will be able to regurgitate into the esophagus.
Many people who get heartburn at least once a week should make an appointment with their doctor. Other lifestyle changes, such as excessive eating, might exacerbate this illness, so it’s critical that it’s detected as soon as possible. If you eat more than four normal meal servings each day, it’s also a good idea to see your doctor. After your doctor has checked for food allergies, sinus infections, or anatomical abnormalities in your upper gastrointestinal tract, you are likely to have GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, which causes heartburn.
Many people who suffer with occasional heartburn can benefit from a change in their lifestyle. Changing your diet to include more fiber will lower your risk of developing GERD and heartburn. Antacids, such as those generated by H2 blockers, can relieve symptoms temporarily, but they do not solve the problem. Reduce the amount of antacids you take, or just take them when you feel like it. Changing your lifestyle can help you avoid heartburn and minimize the frequency with which it occurs.
If you have recurrent heartburn despite modifying your diet and removing items that may cause a burning feeling in your stomach, it may be worth undergoing a chest x-ray to rule out a possible heart condition. The symptoms of heartburn are easily mistaken for those of a heart attack or a severe arrhythmia. They can develop into a more serious problem if left addressed. If you want to reduce the risks of needing surgery to fix your problem, talk to your doctor about getting an ECG or electrocardiogram.
Heartburn symptoms can be embarrassing, and they can make it difficult to enjoy social events. They can also lead to long-term consequences like esophagitis, chronic bronchitis, and sleep apnea. Heartburn is a chronic problem for many people, which means they’ve had it for years without realizing it’s caused by a series of changes in their digestive system, not their heart. You can identify some triggers that can help you keep your symptoms under control by maintaining a detailed food record, noting the sorts of food ingested and when you’ve had a particular type of unpleasant attack. If you’re experiencing problems swallowing or are feeling chest pain while sleeping, you should contact your doctor right away to be sure there’s no underlying condition causing your discomfort.