Heartburn causes and symptoms. Treat heartburn using Home Remedies. Natural treatment using yoga and avoid trigger foods with sleeping techniques
Heartburn is a common enough problem, having that burning heartache after a heavy or spicy meal has nothing to do with your heart, in fact, it is the excess acid in your stomach that has crossed into your esophagus and causing all the trouble. The end of the esophagus has a valve that prevents only one-way movement of its contents that is from it to the stomach, but at times this valve gets weekend and acid from the stomach regurgitates upwards.
Severe heartburn symptoms
GERD (Acid reflux) Symptoms: The defining symptom of acid reflux is the burning sensation between the chest. It starts typically after meals and can last for hours. It may worsen after lying down or bending. You may also feel a sour taste in your mouth, you may have the feeling that the food is stuck behind your throat. If this happens more than two to three times a day then you have GERD.
GERD can be a serious ailment as it can cause permanent damage to the esophageal lining causing permanent damage and even cancer.
Causes of Heartburn
Foods that Cause Heartburn
- Eating too much: No matter what the food or occasion is eating too much will irritate your stomach to produce excess acid, which will cause heartburn. The easiest solution is to trim the amount of food ingested at one go.
- Eat Slowly: Eating fast or gobbling down is a strict no. It won’t lead to digestion; the body is forced to produce more acid anticipating a higher volume of food. Break your morsels into small parts, eat slowly and savor the food.
- Fatty Foods: They tend to reside in the stomach longer and hence prolong the discomfort. So avoid those fat-filled parathas and kachoris.
- Tomatoes and citrus foods like (Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and lime) can all trigger the production of excess acid. So can Vinegar (acetic acid) an essential part of dressings.
- Caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cocoa) all induce acid formation, so do juices like Tomato and lemon. Alcohol relaxes the valve between the stomach and the esophagus allowing the acid to escape. Carbonated drinks bloat the stomach. They all would trigger acidity. If you have to take them to reduce their size. Replace them with acid-neutral foods like herbal tea.
- Milk: Is supposed to neutralize acid but the fat in it causes the reproduction of more acid, So if you have to drink milk buy fat-free one. Use buttermilk instead. Avoid chocolates in any form.
- Avoid hot and peppery foods:- yes they do burn the stomach. Also, avoid those tempting vinegar dipped onions that are the staple of any good restaurant and yes pickles too, they might give a kick to your palate but are bad for acidity.
- Know thy enemy: You are the best judge of what triggers the problem, Maybe a small cup of tea is Ok during the day but not in the early morning. So keep a diary entry and avoid foods that trouble you.
Chronic stress is a killer, It has negative connotations for both mind and body. It also impacts your personality and social skills. It will also induce acidity. Chronic acidity may delve into stomach ulcers. So get a handle on your stress. Socialize; practice Yoga and Meditation, laugh whenever you can. Embrace yourself and let go of your past with its follies and failures.
Lying down immediately after meals, smoking, being overweight they can all give you heartburns. Allow at least a 3 hour gap between your last meal and bedtime, or even better do what jainis do, no food after sunset. Drink plenty of water. Start your day with a glass of warm water diluted with little honey and lime.
Certain exercises, particularly ones in which you bend forward like headstands in yoga can cause the acid to flow backward. Abdominal crunches can also force the food to go in the reverse direction. Be wary of these exercises.
Heartburn Home Remedies
Raise your bed 4-6 inches
This will allow gravity to do its job and confine the acid to the stomach. Otherwise Long time of inactivity at night would allow the little acid that has trickled in to cause great damage to the esophageal lining. Pillows will not have the same impact as they will only lift part of the body. Try to sleep on your left side. There are no reasons for it but lots of people have testified to its efficacy.
Wear Loose Clothes
Tight clothes tend to push the acid up and. Try to lose weight and wear loose fitting clothes and belts. Eat 3-4 hours before sleep, take small portions of food. Eat slowly allow saliva to mix with your food. Avoid food and drinks that cause acidity.
Standing up straight would give instant relief as it will allow gravity to do its job.
Baking soda and water
Baking soda neutralizes the acid in the stomach. Taking it with water would reduce any acid formation. However a word of caution, this is only a temporary remedy. It should not be overused as it would lead to a further increase in the production of acid.
It reduces inflammation, one of the conditions of acid reflux. Ginger may reduce nausea, prevent muscle pain and reduce swelling. Nibble on a bit of ginger post meals, let it mix with your saliva. Saliva also has anti acidic properties.
Just chew it.It induces the outflow of saliva, which will neutralize the acid. However make sure you are not using the peppermint one as it can lubricate the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
Sipping apple Cider Vinegar
It may or may not work: If you want to give it a try. Mix a tsp. of ACV with a glass of water and drink it before meals.
Take Licorice supplement
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) if taken 30 minutes before meals can sort out a lot of problems of the stomach including acidity.
Take over the counter acidity medicines; They are widely available and come in three types
- Anti-acid medicines ( They neutralize the acid present)
- H2 Blockers (They inhibit certain reactions in the cells)
- Proton pump inhibitors.( Prevent production of excess acid, They are considered faster and stronger in controlling acid))
There is an excellent method in yoga called kunjal kriya to clear up the acidity. Drink two-three liters of warm water mixed with a 3-4 tsp.of salt. The key is to vomit this ingestion out. This can be done by forcing your fingers down the glottis. It may be a bit awkward initially but can be easily learned from an instructor. The advantage is not only confined to physical level but transcends mental and spiritual levels. As it gives the body a jolt.
It cleanses the nerve endings and for a moment allows the mind to stop. This momentary stoppage of mind has tremendous benefits. At the deepest level a still mind is connected to the cosmic energy and taps into its vitals.
Do it initially every day and then gradually reduce the practice to once a week. This will also help in other ailments including Asthma.
Myths about heartburn
- Heartburn is no big deal: It is just a symptom of underlying causes that can range from moderate to serious. It could be caused by a condition called GERD, which if left undiagnosed in long term can cause permanent damage to the esophageal lining.
It can also be caused by a condition called hiatal hernia in which part of the stomach is pushing into your chest.
- Antacids can treat heartburn: They are attacking only the symptoms and not the disease. They work only to an extent after some time they become redundant and might have more negative effects than positive ones.
- Heartburn is caused by bad foods: No it is caused because lower esophageal sphincter or LES does not close properly. This pushes the food up the stomach. The food that you eat only makes the problem worse.
- Only medication can treat my heartburn: No, as mentioned over here you can do a host of things from really simple like raising your bed by 4-6 inches to slightly complicated ones like Kunjal kriya. They would all help in getting relief from the problem.
Conclusion: Heartburn is a serious enough condition to warrant changes ranging from sleeping to dietary habits. It is a symptom of an underlying problem wherein LES does not function as it should. If left untreated it can cause a host of more serious maladies like Asthma and even cancer.
At times heartburn causes severe pain in the chest, which has similar symptoms to that of a heart attack. You would need a qualified practitioner to help you in such a case. Heartburn is easily diagnosable and treatable.