Heartburn: What you need to know the Risk & Remedies

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Saudi Gazette

Heartburn occurs when gastric contents flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus causing an unsettling and burning sensation behind the sternum or breastbone, either as a contraction or a sharp pain.

It is a symptom, of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or pyrosis. It can increase the production of acid in the stomach, as well as structural problems that allow acid reflux into the esophagus, which can endanger health and overall wellbeing.

If there is acid reflux near the larynx in the throat, it may cause coughing and unease. It can get worse after heavy meals, bending or lying flat. People suffering from the condition can awaken from sleep with heartburn. Sometimes the pain can be mistaken for the pain of a heart attack.

There are certain food and drinks that accelerate and trigger the condition, including caffeine, spicy food, consumption of high-fat content foods which tend to affect the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), acidic juices and food, chocolate, including painkillers like Advil, buprofen and others. But ignoring the condition will only worsen it. If it keeps recurring, the inflammation of the esophagus can lead to ulcers, which can cause bleeding. In the long run it could also lead to an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

While doctors can prescribe pills, it is best to try natural remedies at home to help cure the condition. Go for antacid foods and drinks that neutralize the acid in your stomach. Drink aloe vera, pineapple, and vegetable juices. Have apples that help calm down acid production and reduce the burning sensation. Have bananas, basil leaves, chamomile, celery sticks, cabbage, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, ginger and apple cider vinegar to minimize stomach acid. Drink more water to wash down the excess acid that splashes into the esophagus. Avoid eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Raise the head of your bed or pillows to make it harder for stomach acids to move into your esophagus. Get more sleep and curb stress. Anxiety, stress and worry can trigger acid reflux and other gut issues. Being overweight is a strong risk factor for GERD symptoms so try and shed off those extra pounds.

Some surveys suggest that as many as 25% to 40% of adults experience heartburn once a month, while about 7% to 10% have daily heartburn. Natural heartburn remedies incorporate lifestyle, dietary changes and stress management habits.


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