Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.
Heartburn that is more frequent or interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.
Signs & Symptoms:
Symptoms of acid reflux that may accompany heartburn include:
persistent sore throat,
regurgitation of foods or liquids with a taste of acid in the throat, and.
persistent hoarseness or laryngitis.
Heartburn is actually a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and is caused by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Risk factors include those that increase the production of acid in the stomach, as well as structural problems that allow acid reflux into the esophagus.
Some common foods that we eat and drink, stimulate increased stomach acid secretion setting the stage for heartburn. Over-the-counter medications also may precipitate heartburn. Examples of these irritants include:
aspirin (Bayer, etc.),
buprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, etc.)
Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve)
acidic juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple)
acidic foods (tomatoes, grapefruit, and oranges), and
Smoking and the consumption of high-fat content foods tend to affect function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), causing it to relax from the stomach and allow acid to reflux into the esophagus.
A hiatal hernia where a portion of the stomach lies within the chest instead of the in abdomen, can affect the way the LES works and is a risk factor for reflux. Hiatal hernias by themselves cause no symptoms. It is only when the LES fails that heartburn occurs.
Pregnancy can cause increased pressure within theabdominal cavity and affect LES function and predispose it to reflux.
Obesity may also cause increased pressure in the abdomen, and thus reflux in the same way.
Primary diseases of the esophagus can also present with heartburn as a symptom. These include, among others, scleroderma and sarcoidosis.
How To Cure:
- A spoonful of baking soda
A spoonful of sodium bicarbonate, or teaspoon-full to be exact, can help put an end to the gnawing, burning, sensation of heartburn caused by acid reflux. Baking soda, as sodium bicarbonate is more commonly known, can help your reflux and in turn help your heartburn because it is a base substance. It has a pH higher than 7.0, and therefore neutralizes stomach acid. Neutralizing the stomach acid means that if/when your LES decides to be lazy and acid comes up your throat, you dont get burned.
You will need
-1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon of baking soda
-a glass of fresh water
Mix either a ½ teaspoon or 1 single teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water that is no more than 8 ounces. Give it a good stir and drink all of the mixture. You can repeat this as needed but should not exceed seven ½ teaspoon doses in a 24 hour period. Also, avoid using this as a remedy for more than a week straight, as it is high in salt and can have side effects such as swelling or nausea.
- Soothe your stomach with aloe juice
Aloe is a plant used to soothe burns, and people often think of using it to help something like sunburn, but it can do more than that. It may be able to help with heartburn too because it reduces inflammation. This means when your tummy starts getting irritated and inflamed, or your esophagus is getting eaten away at, a nice glass of aloe vera juice may be just the thing to help calm it down.
You will need
-1/2 cup aloe vera juice
Drink a ½ cup of aloe juice, cool or room temperature, before meals. Keep in mind that aloe can act as a laxative, so unless youre looking to fit in a few extra bathroom Sudoku puzzles, look for a brand that has the laxative component removed.
- Chew gum
The Journal of Dental Research conducted a study that showed people with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn, experienced relief when they chewed a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal. This is because chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands, and increases the flow of saliva. Any acid that has built up in the gut is diluted and washed away or cleared out more quickly. The clearance of acid then improves the symptoms of GERD. It is possible that the same school of thought could be applied to occasional heartburn as well. Its our regular saliva that we swallow that actually makes normal bouts of reflux here and there completely painless.
You will need
-1 piece of sugar-free gum
After a meal, pop in a piece of sugar-free gum and chew for 30 minutes to help ward off heartburn.