What Is Heartburn?
Let’s start off by clarifying that heartburn and acid reflux are technically NOT the same things. Heartburn has nothing to do with your actual heart, but in fact, heartburn is a common problem created by acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition where some of the stomach contents are forced back up into the esophagus due to eating very fatty and oily food. These types of food prevent the lower esophagus from fully tightening; this then creates an opening for stomach acids to flow upward. Greasy and heavier foods are also harder to digest. Due to the heavy food, the stomach empties itself slower, which can trigger heartburn.
What Causes Heartburn?
As I mentioned earlier acid reflux is one of the main causes of heartburn, but there are other factors that come into play. 20% of Americans get heartburn once a week. It can’t be possible that all these people suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. So what is causing all this heartburn? Studies suggest that a lot of everyday factors also contribute, for example, factors like sleep deprivation, poor diets, and obesity play a big role. But with all this being said there is not 1 reason why this happens to us. Everybody’s body works differently and while your wife is enjoying a nice meatball marinara sub with cheese you can be having the worst case of acid reflux in your life. There’s really no way to tell unless you have experience in the matter.
Food and drinks that commonly trigger heartburn include:
- Black pepper, Garlic, Raw onions, and other spicy foods
- Citrus fruits and products, such as Lemons, Oranges, and Orange juice
- Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including Tea and Soda
- Tomatoes (There’s that marinara sauce I was talking about)
Symptoms Of Heartburn
The symptoms of heartburn are reasonably self-evident to most victims. The most common is a feeling of warmth or heat, sometimes burning, in the chest and throat, caused by the stomach acid. It is scary to think that heartburn is a great example of what a heart attack might feel like (Yikes!!)
- burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
- rising pain, sometimes reaching the jaw.
- burning and indigestion-like pain.
- foul taste in the mouth and throat.
What Can We Do When We Have Heartburn?
If you experience a lot of acid reflux, one of the main treatments is to reduce the production of stomach acid which can be achieved by changing your diet. Following a healthy diet can reduce the risk for GERD. You should avoid eating before lying down, and don’t lay down while you’re eating. Monitor your consumption of foods such as alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, full cream milk, gassy foods, soft drinks, and acidic food, such as tomato, lemon, or orange juices. Not all of these have been supported by research though just through personal accounts of people throughout the decades.