Heartburn -medically termed as GERD (Gastro esophageal reflux disease), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the food pipe (esophagus). Such acid reflux irritates the esophagus and one feels a burning sensation behind the chest. Although GERD is a chronic digestive disease, occasional heartburn can be considered as a condition and not a disease if we understand its cause and then be able to treat heartburn naturally. Here are few things we can do to reduce and stop heartburn naturally:
When the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle responsible for keeping stomach contents in their place, begin to relax or leak it causes heartburn. If we take care not to allow the valve between the stomach and esophagus to loosen, we can to a great extend, prevent heartburn. Controlling how to eat is as important as choosing the food we eat. Overeating, frequent or irregular eating habit, drinking less water, etc., can cause this problem despite maintaining a healthy choice of food.
- When we eat more than our stomach can bear we increase the chance of the excess matter to move up to the esophagus, that causes the burning sensation. Likewise when we do not eat for a long time letting acidity to be formed and then we pack the food into the stomach, it can let the acid to pump up to the esophagus. In such cases it is wise to drink some water to calm down the acid fury in the stomach before eating anything. But more importantly one should avoid odd interval of eating and overeating.
- Increase in weight also increases chance of heartburn as it slows the movement of food in the digestive system and releases pressure in the abdomen. Taking weight control measures can give an overall solution to the heartburn problem. Eating balanced diet in regular interval and taking exercise that helps the food to digest not only helps in reducing weight and thenby triggering heartburn, but also leads to maintaining a healthy lifestyle!
- Going to bed right after a heavy meal can also cause heartburn. Allow the food to settle down and go to bed at least after 1/2 hours from having a meal. If heartburn persists then sleeping with the head in an elevated position will also help.
- Chances of heartburn are more during pregnancy as more pressure is exerted by the uterus on the stomach and esophagus. The hormone also slows down the digestion and theby causing acid flow to the esophagus. To avoid heartburn during pregnancy one should reduce the amount of food and cover up by increasing the frequency. One should also avoid or reduce tea / coffee, fried and spicy food. Although citric food is good during pregnancy, but if it causes acidity than it can be diluted or added with sugar to avoid heartburn.
- Smoking and consumption of alcohol also causes heartburn. Too much alcohol consumption relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), thus leaving the acid to leak to the esophagus.
- Age makes the muscle in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weak. In such case taking care to choose right food and eating at regular intervals will be helpful. Since the digestive system also would be less active, maintaining a balanced diet is important.
- Avoiding certain food that causes acid helps in stopping heartburn. Excessive consumption of spicy and fried food, tea or coffee or citric fruits and even chocolate can cause acid reflux. Just need to keep a check on the acid contents accumulating in your stomach so that it does not burst out against the lower esophageal sphincter and leave your with a heartburn and a grimace.
If heartburn is permanent then it is possible that one's liver is affected. One should seek medical help and take care of the liver.