While heartburn does not actually have anything to do with the heart, many people find that the symptoms of heartburn tend to mimic those of a heart attack. Occasional heartburn due to certain foods is harmless, but chronic heartburn may need medical intervention.
Who Can Get Heartburn?
Anyone can get heartburn. A major cause of occasional heartburn is spicy or unfamiliar foods, so many people often have the experience of heartburn. But if you are a person that gets heartburn on a daily basis, you will need to be check by a doctor because this can turn into a serious problem called acid reflux. A daily occurrence of heartburn happens in about 10% of the American population, as well as about 50% of pregnant women.
Causes of Heartburn
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid that irritates the esophagus. This is due the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) either not closing tight enough or not closing at all, allowing stomach acid to rise into the esophagus. This causes the familiar burning sensation.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The most common symptom of heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest that comes from just behind the breastbone. This often occurs right after eating and can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to several hours. Chest pain also occurs with bending over and lying down. An acidic or sour taste can occur in the back of the throat, making it difficult or painful to swallow.
Alternative Treatments for Heartburn
There are many over the counter treatments for heartburn. For occasional heartburn, many people turn to products such as Tums or some other type of liquid or chewable tablet. For those who often experience heartburn, or know what can trigger it, they will often take a pill that can be ingested before the meal to prevent heartburn, such as Pepcid AC.
There are many natural and alternative treatments that will allow of
person to prevent of reduce the pain from heartburn. First, never go to
bed with a full stomach. Food should be eaten at least two hours before
lying down, and it’s also important to remember not to overeat.
When eating, those who have recognized the triggers in their diet should avoid foods that cause heartburn and eat slower the foods that do. Also, losing weight and avoiding alcohol and tobacco have been known to reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
Medical treatment for heartburn is necessary when it occurs daily and has not special triggers, such as certain foods. Left untreated, this can turn into acid reflux and it will have the chance to damage the esophagus.
Those who have severe acid reflux disease can benefit from a radio wave procedure that will help to reduce the symptoms of the disease, but many people will not have to go trough this type of procedure. Medications, natural treatments, and over the counter treatments will work for the major of people.