Heartburn pain has nothing to do with your heart. When you experience the burning pain of heartburn in your chest or throat, it comes from stomach acid seeping back into your gullet or esophagus. This seepage, or reflux, results form a faulty valve between your stomach and esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Conventional treatments work by decreasing the amount of acid that your stomach produces to minimize the seepage of acid. The problem is that when you stop taking these medications, your heartburn comes back and is often worse that you had before. This is because you are treating the symptoms of heartburn and not the underlying cause. Fortunately, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to get heartburn relief.
Here are a few lifestyle changes that you can make right now:
Keep A Journal
The best way to treat heartburn is to get at the root cause of it. To do this, you need to learn what your triggers are and when they occur. Keep a daily journal and note the time of day and what you are doing when you start feeling heartburn pain. For example, pay attention to see if your heartburn occurs after meals and note what foods you were eating. Perhaps it happens at night or after you have an alcoholic drink or smoke a cigarette. After a short while, you will start to notice a pattern. Then work to eliminate the items from your lifestyle that are triggering your heartburn.
If you feel heartburn at night, it helps to elevate your upper body while you are sleeping. This should be enough elevation so that your shoulder area is higher than your hip. You get heartburn relief because elevating yourself helps to drain any acid in the esophagus back into your stomach. Elevating yourself also makes it hard for acid to get from the stomach into your esophagus because of gravity. You can elevate yourself in bed by using pillows, foam wedges, or placing wooden blocks under your bed posts.
Watch What You Drink and Don’t Smoke
For many people, heartburn is triggered or worsened by alcohol, carbonated drinks, or caffeine. Try to cut these out of your lifestyle and replace them with water. Then, you can start placing them back into your diet one-by-one and see which of the beverages trigger your heartburn. If you smoke, you should stop smoking. Nicotine causes your LES to relax which allows stomach acid to seep back into your esophagus. Eliminating these triggers will go a long way to help bring heartburn relief.
Loose Your Belly
If you are overweight, you need to loose weight, especially excess weight around your stomach. Belly fat puts excess pressure on your stomach which will increase the reflux of acid into your esophagus. If you are overweight, it’s best to wear loose clothing, especially around your waist. Try to find a healthy diet and exercise plan that works best for you. Loosing weight not only helps to you get heartburn relief, it also improves your overall health and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Change How You Eat
Heartburn often occurs after a meal because when your stomach is expanded and full, the excess pressure makes it is easier for the stomach acid to seep into your esophagus. For this reason, you need to eat smaller meals. If you need to have larger meals, try to eat more meals over the day, just keep them small. Also, when you are eating, try to eat smaller amounts of food at a time. It helps if you put down your fork between bites and chew your food completely before taking the next bite. Remember not to bend over after eating as this will push stomach acid into your esophagus. Also, your food needs to be fully digested before lying down. You should not lie down or go to bed for at least several hours after a meal to avoid heartburn pain.
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