Heartburn (indigestion) is caused by stomach acids backing up into the lower esophagus, the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The medical term for heartburn is gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) . The acids produce a burning sensation and discomfort between the ribs just below the breastbone. Another symptom is sour or bitter fluid backing up into the throat or mouth. Heartburn can occur after overeating and sometimes in reaction to medications.
Don't be concerned if you experience heartburn now and then, nearly everyone does (25 percent of pregnant women have it everyday). However, months of heartburn caninjure the esophageal lining. Most cases of heartburn can be prevented by following these home treatment tips.
Eat smaller meals, and avoid late night snack. Avoid foods that bring on heartburn. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, orange and tomato juices, peppermint and spearmint-flavored foods, fatty or friend foods, and carbonated drinks may make heartburn worse.
Avoid alcohol, which irritates your stomach and esophagus and may make your symptoms worse. Stop smoking. This is especially important because smoking promotes heartburn. Quitting will often relieve heartburn completely. If you are overweight, lose weight, even a few pounds. Being overweight can worsen heartburn. Avoid tight-fitting clothes, such as tight belts and waistbands.
Raise the head of your bed six inches by placing a foam wedge or thick telephone books under the mattress or legs of the bed frame. Don't lie down too soon after eating. Try to stay upright for atleast two to three hours after each meal. Avoid large meals and snacks before bedtime. Try acetaminophen rather than aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs, which may cause heartburn.
Take an over the counter product for heartburn. Antacids, such as Maalox, Mylanta, TUMS, and Gelusil, neutralize stomach acid. Acid controllers, such as Pepcid AC and Tagament HB, reduce the production of stomach acid. Ask your pharmacist for advice in choosing one of these medications, and follow the package instructions and your doctor's advice for their use.
When to call a health professional
1. If pain with shortness of breath or other symptoms that suggest heart problems such as chest pains.
2. If heartburn persists for one to two weeks despite home treatment. Call sooner if symptoms are severe or are not relieved at all by antacids or acid controllers.
3. If stools are deep red, black, or tarry. Small amounts of bright red blood on stool or toilet paper are probably due to scratch in the anal area.
4. If you suspect that a prescribed medication is causing heartburn. Antihistamines, Valium, birth control pills, and anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can sometimes cause heartburn.
note: originally posted at Exposeknowledge.com under the same author.