Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies for Heartburn

Heartburn is a condition where the body produces an excessive amount of acid in the stomach resulting to gastrointestinal covering irritation and burning pain. When the excess acid goes up to the gullet it creates the heartburn. The gullet is part of the digestive system is a tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. While the stomach has protective lining that can tolerate the presence of acid, the gullet is simply a tube. Between the stomach and the gullet, there is a muscle that acts as a barrier to stop the acid from reaching the gullet. When this protective barrier malfunctions, acid from the stomach reaches the esophagus and a burning pain can be felt coupled with inflammation. This occurrence is called reflux.

Where is Heartburn Felt?

Heartburn is usually felt behind the breastbone, chest, and at the back. Since the pain is felt in the area of the heart, there is a danger that this could be mistaken as heartburn where in fact it could be heart attack. Heart attack is often caused by the lack of oxygen supply at the heart leading to severe pain in the chest while heartburn is a digestive problem.

How to Avoid Heartburn?

Since heartburn is mainly a digestive problem, the best way to avoid it is to eat properly. Refrain from eating spicy food. Also avoid eating fast without chewing the food properly. Avoid too much vinegar, fried chicken, chocolate, and vegetable salads with too much cabbage, radish, peppers, and onion. Avoid eating before going to bed. Eat regularly. Do not eat on large gaps. It is far advisable to eat little every 3 or 4 hours than eating large meat every 6-7 hours. Drink plenty of water. Do not drink too much alcohol. And most of all, create a balance diet.

If you are smoking, stop it. Aside from disease caused by cigarette, smoking after meals increases the chance of heartburn attack.

Before going to bed, make sure you give your body enough time to digest the food you eat. Your stomach digests the food with the help of acid. Avoid lying after meal to keep the acid where it should be. 

Improper posture is another cause of heartburn. While eating, avoid slouching on the table. After the meal, keep your back straight and upright.

Relax your stomach by not applying pressure on it. Wear comfortable underclothes. Tight belts should also be avoided.

Pregnant woman often experiences heartburn by eating over the limit. Try to eat right amount of food to keep your weight within the limit. This reduces the risk of severe heartburn.

And of course, there is no better way to avoid heartburn than by keeping your body in normal shape. Eat right amount of food. Overweight people are more prone to heartburn attacks. Finally, eat vegetables and fruits rich in fiber.

What to do when heartburn attacks?

  • Acid causes heartburn; your aim is to keep it at level.
  • Eat bananas, cucumber or watermelon each hour. This can counter the acid level your system.
  • Drinking a glass of cold milk is also effective. Fresh mint juice after every meal could help reduce acidity.
  • Coconut water is also effective. Drink it 4 to 5 times a day.
  • If there are symptoms of heartburn, eating few almonds can ease the pain.
  • To help reduce acidity, take a small piece of harad or jaggery and keep it in your mouth. Suck it slowly. Harad should be taken every hour while jaggery is taken after every meal.  
  • Clove is also effective to reduce acidity. Take one and suck it slowly.