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Tips To Overcome Heartburn

Aug 30, 2007
Heartburn can arise from several causes. The medical condition pyrosis or commonly known as heartburn, results from a reflux of the acidic contents of the stomach. This acidic regurgitation burns the inner walls of the esophagus and the sufferer experiences a searing or burning pain. Since this pain is felt around the chest area, people often mistake it for the onset of a heart attack.

Although the common name for this ailment is heartburn, the condition has nothing to do with the heart. It has earned it's moniker due to the fact that the burning pain is felt around the heart. People who suffer from some heart conditions may describe similar sensations.

The Impact of Certain Foods On Heartburn

The first dietary step to stop heartburn is to control the amount of food consumed. The intake of fats in large meals is high. These remain in the bloated stomach for a long time to be digested. The stomach is unable to contain its acidic contents and some escape as acid reflux. Take smaller sized meals up to five times a day, rather than the traditional three larger ones.

Knowing which foods and drinks to avoid help one from future episodes of heartburn. If this is done consistently, it may be possible to completely stop heartburn.

The common foods and drinks to avoid include the following:

1. Spicy dishes like those found in Indian and Mexican diets
2. Tomato rich dishes like those found in Italian pastas and pizzas
3. Chocolates, Donuts, Creamy desserts
4. Citrus based fruits and desserts; containing oranges and lemons
5. Certain forms of potatoes: mashed potatoes and French fries
6. Raw Onions
7. Caffeinated drinks, Alcoholic beverages
8. Some dairy products: sour cream, ice cream and cottage cheese

Smoking has been found to weaken the esophageal sphincter muscle that keeps a lid on the stomach's caustic contents. Smoking is a key risk factor that causes acid reflux.

Taking certain foods as part of one's diet is a good ingredient of a natural cure for heartburn. These include fruits like bananas and apples. Other suitable food choices are lean beef and chicken. Whole grains should be an important component of a diet as part of a natural cure for heartburn. Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps to dilute the caustic acids secreted by the stomach.

Heartburn Treatment Options

A heartburn sufferer's agony is exacerbated when he or she lies down during a pyrosis episode. The best approach to relieve the pain is to take an antacid and lie down with the torso raised - either with pillows or by raising the bed's headboard. The best approach is to avoid eating meals rich in heartburn inducing food and drinks too close to bedtime.

Medications can be a suitable alternative if preventive measures to thwart heartburn fail. Doctors will be able to prescribe suitable treatments to quell the discomfort. These may include antacids, proton pump inhibitors and h2-receptor antagonists. For those who suffer from mild forms of heartburn, antacids and other neutralizing medications are the most effective forms of treatment.

Proton pump inhibitors are usually used when antacids and other neutralizing agents are ineffective to treat heartburn. These inhibitors block the production of acids in the stomach cells and provide instant relief. Once the inhibitors reach the stomach, it disables the "protein proton pumps", which control the stomach's pH levels.

Another course of treatment for heartburn is h2-receptor antagonists. H2-receptor antagonists work by decreasing the acid production of "parietal cells" in the stomach. These are however rarely used today due to the efficacy of proton pump inhibitors.

Heartburn sufferers who prefer not to consider pharmaceutical options as their first choice can consider holistic and natural therapies. Stressful lifestyles can be moderated through meditation and yoga. In 90% of heartburn sufferers, inappropriate food and drinks have been found to be the main culprits.

There are other remedies that are natural cures for heartburn. Heartburn sufferers can take peppermint in forms like peppermint tea, which has properties that ameliorate heartburn symptoms. Likewise, apple cider vinegar is another well known natural cure for heartburn. Other items to consider especially as snacks to be taken several times during the day include almonds, dried figs and papaya.
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit herbal heartburn remedies to learn more about all night heartburn and the relationship between hiccups and heartburn.
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