What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation around the chest and is caused by acid reflux of stomach acid into the food pipe.
Acid reflux is referred to the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus (food pipe).
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) a common digestive disorder worldwide.
A sour taste in the back of the mouth is another symptom of a burning sensation that is frequently present.
People who are deep alcohol drinkers are more at risk of heart-related diseases, like heartburn, and heart attack than people who do not drink.
Causes of Heartburn
It is a common condition, where acid backflow to the esophagus, which leads to heartburn, but why does this acid go back to the food pipe?
Here are several reasons for heartburn include:
GERD – A gastroesophageal reflux disease condition in which the food pipe is frequently irritated by stomach acid.
Hiatal hernia – A condition where the upper portion of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and into the chest.
Obesity – Excess weight put abdominal pressure, which increases the risk of stomach acid to backflow more likely (2)
Heavy meal – It put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (that acts as a value b/w food pipe and stomach) and causes leakage of stomach acid to the food pipe.
Smoking – It damages your stomach health, where weakens your lower food pipe, and causes stomach acid to flow back to the food pipe.
Food and drinks – Some food and beverages that lead to heartburn – spicy food, alcohol, excessive oily food, coffee, citrus food, and chocolate.
Medications – Certain medications and if you are in a medication period, then some food, drinks, and conditions may interact with your medicines and lead to heartburn.
Other reasons that raise acid reflux situations are:
- Sudden lying down after eating
- gas or indigestion
- had a late dinner
- bending over
If it occurs frequently and leads to discomfort, or pain, then consult the doctor, because it may be the reason for other health issues.
There are various signs and symptoms of heartburn which include:
- Chest pain
- burning sensation middle of the chest
- bitter mouth
- sour burping
- difficulty in swallowing due to a sour or acidic taste in the mouth
- burning sensation in the throat also
- sour throat
- nausea or vomiting
- dry cough with hoarseness
New research has shown that heartburn can be managed, by losing excessive weight, eating well, and reducing stress.
Why Does Sudden and Everyday Heartburn Occur?
If you experience it suddenly, frequently, and every day, then may be due to several reasons.
One of the common reasons for sudden and everyday heartburn is acid reflux (where stomach acid backflow to the food pipe)
Frequent heartburn was defined as GERD, and frequent symptoms were defined as heartburn occurring at least weekly.
Eating before bedtime can also grant to everyday heartburn, and other reasons are given in the “Causes of Heartburn” headline.
If you experience it for the first time, then it may be due to your recently changed in lifestyle or in diet, which will gradually increase over time.
However, these are common reasons, but if it leads to pain, and causes other health issues, then you should talk to the doctor.
Who Are More At Risk of It?
It is commonly seen through making one of the common symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease worldwide.
Several people are more at risk of heartburn and should also avoid the following food, and drinks include:
- pregnant ladies
- if you are on medication
- aged person
- people who have a history of acid reflux and GERD
- overweight people
- smoker and second-hand smokers are also at risk of it
- recently has an abdominal and stomach treatment
- weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES) or history of LES
Also avoid the following food and drinks, especially if you fall into these categories include:
- spicy food
- oily food
- street, processed food that is high in sugar, and oil, which even leads to other health issues.
- citrus food includes – lemon, lime, orange, etc
- peppermint oil
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both relaxing the LES, which causes stomach acid to leak into the food pipe and leads to heartburn.
Heartburn During Pregnancy
During pregnancy chest burning sensation is a common concern, where a growing baby puts pressure on the mother’s stomach, causing pushback to acid to the food pipe.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy also become a triggering factor for heartburn.
It is vital to pregnant women talk to their healthcare provider, if heartburn occurs frequently, every day, and pain.
Because heartburn during pregnancy is not normal, it may be a sign of other health issues like gestational diabetes and high BP.
Treatment depends on what cause of your heartburn.
If it is due to GERD which is the most common reason for it, then the doctor may treat GERD first.
If it is happening due to your unhealthy lifestyle, then you should work on it including lifestyle changes – such as avoiding smoking, alcohol, processed food, etc
OTC-prescribed medicines, help in relieving symptoms, and according to your condition, other treatments may be needed.
The doctor may also suggest PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medicine (which reduces the production of stomach acid)
According to the magazine.MedlinePlus, you should first work on lifestyle, if you have heartburn and need a PPI.
A 2021 research found that patients who used prescribed medicine to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers were more likely a gap between teeth and gums.
How Long Can Heartburn Last?
Heartburn may last for minutes to hours, and if it happens due to a heavy meal, so it goes away when the meal is dissolved (6)
It depends on what type of meal you eat, for example – fatty, protein foods like beef, whole milk, and nuts, take longer time to digest.
How long it will remain? also, dependent on ongoing treatment, if left untreated, then this may lead to esophagitis.
In the worst scenario, it may lead to ulcers in the stomach lining, and if it is not treated or triggering it again, may lead to cancer.
In addition, Indigestion is defined as epigastric discomfort lasting longer than a month without heartburn.
Home-Remedy For Heartburn
Certain home remedies that help with it, which is also a good habit are:
- Avoid eating a bigger bite of food, eat smaller and slowly
- avoid triggering food and drinks like alcohol, spicy food, citrus food, etc
- chewing gum
- make sure not to lie down suddenly after eating a meal
- Do yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises which reduce stress (a triggering factor of heartburn)
- during pregnancy, it is good to talk to your doctor
- if you frequently face a burning sensation, so lift your head during sleep with the help of some pillows.
- drink enough water throughout the day, which will push back acid back into the stomach.
You will also hear that milk is helpful in relieving heartburn, but it is really true?
Milk can reduce the burning sensation, through neutralizes stomach acid, but it may stimulate the stomach to produce acid.
But make sure, don’t over drink it, otherwise, it will work as same as – when you eat a heavy meal
Some people believe that – water may also reduce the burning sensation, but how? here water works with acid effectively to reducing.
- Water is easily diluted with acid, which helps in irritation to an extent.
- It cleans the food pipe
- Keeping the body hydrated also helps in constipation and nausea (which also backflow the stomach acid)
- drinking water during meals reduces your food intake capacity by filling in your stomach own.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the middle of the chest, which occurs due to GERD, and some other triggering factors that backflow the acid to the food pipe.
Many studies have shown that obese or overweight people are more at risk of irregular heartbeats, and heartburn.
Obesity, GERD, under medication, and pregnant women due to hormonal imbalance are more at risk of heartburn.