Heartburn is one of the symptoms of GERD, a medical condition that has been affecting more than 21% of our population. When acid from the stomach refluxes into the esophagus, it can cause inflammation in the esophagus since no lining is provided there. There are a number of reasons for heartburn to take place. So what causes heartburn? Most of the food items that we consume cause heartburn and these include alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, acidic juices such as grapefruit, some acidic foods, and chocolate. Other reasons cited are obesity, pregnancy, hiatal hernia, consumption of fatty food, and smoking.
Recommended Read: 10 Safe Exercises for Heart Patients
What are heartburn symptoms?
Some of the heartburn symptoms are:
- Regurgitation of food
- Sour taste persistent at the back of throat
- Burning sensation in the chest area
- A feeling that some food is stuck at the back of the throat
- Home remedies for heartburn
A number of home remedies are tried out for heartburn. Some work and some do not. But along with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, people do not hesitate to use these home remedies. Let us look at some of the important ones:
Recommended Read: Symptoms of GERD
- Baking soda: Baking soda is a natural antacid. Mix one teaspoon baking soda with a cup of water and immediately drink it. It relieves heartburn. But it should be consumed only sometimes.
- Aloe Vera juice: Drink one-quarter cup Aloe Vera juice 20 minutes before any meal. It helps to soothe inflammation in the esophagus and in the stomach.
- Chewing gum: Chew sugar-free chewing gum 30 minutes after any meal. It produces saliva that washes away any acid in the gut, while also neutralizing acids in the stomach.
- Apple cider vinegar: Mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of warm water and consume about 20 minutes before any meal. It helps in digestion and also clears acids in the stomach.
- Cold milk: Drink a glass of milk whenever you have heartburn. This can cause temporary relief of stomach acid.
Recommended Read: Breakfast Recipes for GERD
Myths about heartburn
Myth: Heartburn is also caused by lifestyle changes.
Fact: It is a medical condition and is caused by consuming unwanted or spicy food and not by any lifestyle changes.
Myth: Heartburn is cured by consuming bland food.
Fact: Bland food alone cannot cure GERD. But consuming bland food sometimes cures the person suffering from heartburn.
Myth: Acid reflux affects the digestive system.
Fact: Heartburn is caused by acid reflux. But in addition to this symptom, other symptoms caused by acid reflux are asthma, throat irritation, chronic cough, and sore throat.
Myth: People suffering nighttime heartburn should sleep by sitting up.
Fact: Nighttime heartburn requires a person to sleep using a wedge-shaped pillow or by raising one end of the bed on the head side. This allows gravity to keep acid in the stomach. Also, the person should sleep on the left side as compared to the right side.
Myth: If medication is taken to suppress stomach acid, food digestion is not possible.
Fact: The stomach and enzymes produce acid in the stomach to help digestion of food. Proton pump inhibitors reduce production of acid in the stomach, but due to acid produced by enzymes, digestion of food is still possible.
Myth: Heartburn is not serious.
Fact: Heartburn affects almost 60 million American adults. It should not be treated lightly because if it is chronic, it can lead to a number of problems such as GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal strictures, esophageal cancer, and erosive esophagitis.
Myth: Heartburn cannot be relieved.
Fact: Heartburn can be treated through lifestyle changes, diets, and some OTC medications.