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Understanding About Nighttime Heartburn

Oct 8, 2007
Nighttime heartburn affects millions of people around the world. The symptoms of nighttime heartburn are not only painful and discomforting; but more importantly they lead to a restless night of sleep. Several nights of interrupted sleep leads to fatigue and affects all aspects of one's life - professional and family. Occasionally some sufferers of nighttime heartburn may face sharp pain in the chest area. These frightening sensations in the middle of the night may be mistaken for the onset of a heart attack. Instead of suffering needlessly, a heartburn sufferer can take some immediate steps to get relief from the symptoms.

Nighttime heartburn can arise from several causes. The most common is the consumption of a rich and heavy meal close to one's bedtime. Heartburn may also be triggered by certain lifestyle choices and habits. People who lead very stressful lives or exercise vigorously right before meals tend to be prone to heartburn. In some cases, heartburn may just be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition like esophageal cancer.

Chronic sufferers of heartburn should seek prompt medical attention to ensure that there are no serious underlying reasons for their condition. Doctors will be able to offer various suitable options of a treatment plan. This will include dietary and lifestyle change recommendations, use of prescriptive antacids, h2 receptor inhibitors and proton blockers. Additional measures that one can take include sleeping with the upper torso elevated to harness the effect of gravity and reduce acid reflux thereby decreasing the chances of nighttime heartburn.

How To Stop Heartburn Once And For All

While most people experience occasional episodes of heartburn, there are some who have a recurrent or chronic form of the ailment.

For less painful and occasional episodes of heartburn, a visit to the doctor may not be necessary. For all other cases, prompt medical attention is necessary to avoid the deterioration of the ailment. The occasional heartburn sufferer can take over the counter antacids or syrups to get quick relief form the symptoms. In order to minimize or put a stop to heartburn symptoms, there are several steps to take.

First, stop smoking. 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.

The next thing to do to stop heartburn is to end the intake of rich and heavy meals close to one's bedtime. Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks aggravate the heartburn condition. Spicy foods found in Indian and Mexican dishes, tomato-based dishes, citruses, chocolate aggravate the acid reflux from the stomach.

Food Choices To Stop Heartburn

Taking certain foods as part of one's diet will help to stop heartburn. These include fruits like bananas and apples. Other suitable food choices that are good for a heartburn sufferer's recovery are lean beef and chicken. Whole grains should be an important component of a diet as part of a cure to stop heartburn. If one must drink coffee and tea; then the suitable variety are the decaffeinated versions. Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps to dilute the caustic acids secreted by the stomach.

There are other remedies that can help to stop 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 cure to stop heartburn. Other items to consider especially as snacks to be taken several times during the day include almonds, dried figs and papaya.

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. This acid burns the sensitive inside walls of the esophagus resulting in the heartburn symptoms. Take smaller sized meals up to five times a day, rather than the traditional three larger ones.

If Simple Efforts To Stop Heartburn Have Not Worked Seek Medical Advice

If all previous attempts to stop heartburn have failed, then it is time to visit a doctor who would be the best person to determine from the symptoms if they are related to a severe form of heartburn. This may involve advanced diagnostic tests such as esophageal acid testing or another medical evaluation that can safely eliminate gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD. Unfortunately, the severe form of heartburn may be precursor of more advanced medical complications like short bowel syndrome, hiatal hernia and stomach cancer.
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit herbal heartburn remedies to learn more about causes for heartburn and pregnancy symptoms and heartburn.
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