The heartburn is a condition that anyone can experience occasionally, and that eating certain foods can increase the chance of developing this nuisance condition characterized by burning in the pit of the stomach that can go up into the esophagus, pathology known as gastroesophageal reflux. When this condition occurs occasionally, after a copious meal or after eating a certain food, then there is little reason to worry, however, having heartburn frequently, for example 2 or more times a week, warrants consultation with a gastroenterologist to determine the cause of this condition. In this FastlyHealarticle we explain everything you want to know about theheartburn: causes, symptoms and treatment , plus some preventive measures.
Table of Contents
Causes of heartburn
The burning sensation caused by heartburn can be experienced in the pit of the stomach, esophagus, chest, and even throat. But why do stomach acids rise to this area? When we eat or drink liquid, once the food reaches our stomach, a muscular band at the end of the esophagus known as the esophageal sphincter closes to prevent what we eat from rising back up into the esophagus.
However, if for any condition this band does not close well, we run the risk of the stomach contents returning to the esophagus, a condition known as reflux. When this happens very frequently, the esophagus can be affected and the patient can begin to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for its acronym, a pathology that requires medical attention for proper treatment.
Some of the conditions that can cause reflux are:
- Hiatal hernia , a pathology that can weaken the esophageal sphincter, giving rise to heartburn and reflux.
- The intake of certain medications can be the cause of this condition. If you take medication for high blood pressure, heart problems, tricyclic antidepressants, sedatives, medication for motion sickness, progestin as a contraceptive or for heavy bleeding in your period or medication for asthma and various lung conditions, these could be the cause of this annoying condition.
- Heartburn is also common in pregnant women, this occurs because the increase in progesterone relaxes the esophageal sphincter.
- Eating abundantly and then lying down increases the possibility of suffering from this disease.
- Suffering from obesity
- Eat a diet rich in fatty and very heavy foods.
- Frequently ingesting certain foods that can trigger this condition such as coffee, chocolate, tomato, oranges, onion or products flavored with mint.
Symptoms of heartburn
The heartburn symptoms clear characterized by burning sensation manifested in the mouth of the stomach and esophagus, but also can experience:
- Sensation of fluid rising up the esophagus into the throat.
- Acid taste in the mouth.
- General upset stomach, little desire to eat.
- Contractions the abdomen.
When these symptoms occur frequently, it is important to see a gastroenterologist , since the esophagus is not protected against stomach acids and constant exposure to them could significantly damage it, giving rise to serious diseases such as esophageal cancer.
Foods and habits that make heartburn worse
Once we begin to manifest heartburn frequently, in addition to visiting a doctor, it is important to control the intake of certain foods and reduce certain harmful habits that can increase the possibility of suffering from reflux.
That is why it is important:
- Do not eat large meals, it is better to eat 5 times a day in smaller amounts than to eat 3 large meals only.
- Avoid lying down after eating, it is recommended that you always rest while sitting.
- Do not exercise after eating, it is wise to wait until digestion is complete.
- Do not use belts or clothes that are very tight at the waist.
- Control the intake of foods rich in fat, fried or processed foods.
- It is also important to limit the intake of foods that promote acidity such as citrus fruits, foods rich in caffeine such as tea, coffee or chocolate, spicy foods, alcohol, tomato or tomato sauces, onion, soft drinks or mint and spearmint .
- Accumulating a lot of stress and tension can also be harmful, it is recommended to control it and also perform frequent exercise and relaxing disciplines such as yoga or Pilates.
- In the event that you are a smoker, quitting tobacco will greatly benefit you in the same way that it will lose weight if you are obese.
Faced with frequent heartburn, it is important to visit a specialist for a complete review to determine the cause of this condition, which may be due, for example, to a stomach ulcer , in addition to appropriate treatment. While you go to your appointment and also during the recovery process, it is important to follow the recommendations that we give you in the previous step, at the same time you can take various over-the-counter medications that will help you relieve discomfort, for example:
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid.
- Omeprazole to inhibit stomach acid.
- Blockers to reduce the production of acid in the stomach.
Additionally, some home remedies for heartburn will allow you to avoid discomfort if you do not want to ingest an antacid. You can choose to:
- Take an infusion of chamomile or chamomile as soon as the first symptoms of heartburn appear.
- Before a copious meal or after experiencing the first symptoms of discomfort, drink a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda, which will help improve digestion and reduce discomfort.
- Eating a serving of papaya or a banana can also help neutralize stomach acids and improve your condition.
When to go to the doctor immediately?
As we have already stressed before, sporadic heartburn is not a cause for concern, but as long as it occurs frequently, then it will be important to go to the doctor. Additionally there are certain symptoms that require an urgent visit, for example:
- Bloody or brown vomit.
- Bloody or blackish stools.
- Burning sensation and tightness in the chest, this symptom could indicate a heart attack rather than heartburn.
It is also important to visit a specialist if:
- You have lost weight for no apparent reason.
- You have difficulty swallowing food.
- You have a cough that won’t go away.
- Symptoms are made worse by taking heartburn medications.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Heartburn: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.