Heartburn tips

 Heartburn tips

Heartburn usually manifests itself as a burning sensation in the throat and a sour taste in the mouth. The burning chest pain is caused by the backflow of stomach acid (gastroesophageal reflux) up the esophagus. The symptom of heartburn (pyrosis) can be harmless, but does not have to be. You should consult your doctor to clarify the cause.

Heartburn is a common ailment: every second person in Germany suffers from it. Some only from time to time, others frequently. Pregnant women and the elderly are often affected. Many "heartburn sufferers" also know acidic belching and a feeling of pressure in the chest area. We reveal what helps against heartburn.

Heartburn: valve into acid

To understand how heartburn develops, it is worth taking a look at how digestion works. Every day our body produces around two to three liters of gastric juice, the task of which is to process the chyme and to eliminate harmful microorganisms. This is why gastric juice is very acidic with a pH of 0.8 to 1.5.

The esophagus is a muscle tube about 25 centimeters long with a diameter of one centimeter that is covered with mucous membrane. It connects the pharynx with the stomach. There is a sphincter muscle (esophageal sphincter) at the entrance to the stomach. This is like a valve that relaxes when you swallow and opens to the stomach. The contents of the esophagus can flow into the stomach.

Normally this is a one-way street. The aggressive and strongly acidic gastric juice is not a danger to the stomach thanks to its resistant mucous membrane. However, the esophagus is very sensitive. If the valve leaks, stomach acid can flow back and damage the esophagus.

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn can have several causes. These include stress and certain dietary habits, such as eating too fat or eating too late. The following reasons, among others, can cause a disorder of the sphincter muscle and thus cause heartburn:

Mentally stressful situations such as stress stimulate gastric acid production and trigger heartburn.

Certain foods affect the pressure of the sphincter.

Some medications (including some pain relievers) can be causally involved. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

A diaphragmatic hernia may have occurred. A part of the stomach moves through the diaphragm opening into the chest.

In pregnant women, on the one hand, the hormone progesterone relaxes the sphincter, and on the other hand, the greatly enlarged uterus presses against the stomach and, as a result, its contents into the esophagus.

In people who are overweight, it also happens that more stomach contents escape into the esophagus.

Burns to the lining of the esophagus

Occasional acid regurgitation is initially nothing to worry about. If the mucous membrane of the esophagus is exposed to the corrosive gastric juice regularly, e.g. several times a week, this can lead to irritation and damage to the mucous membrane (reflux esophagitis). The mucous membrane may be completely destroyed, internal bleeding or narrowing of the esophagus may occur.

The upper respiratory tract, teeth and gums can also be affected by the acid flowing back.

If left untreated, heartburn can lead to a disease like esophagitis. In the worst case scenario, an ulcer or cancer may develop.

By the way: The English term "heartburn" is misleading because the heart is not involved in heartburn. However, heartburn causes burning warmth in the chest, to which the name can be traced back.

15 tips and home remedies for heartburn

Below are some tips and home remedies that can help relieve the annoying heartburn.

Eat several (five to six) small meals a day. Large meals are very bulky and lead to overfilled stomach contents. The risk of gastric acid being pressed into the esophagus is increased.

Especially in the evening, you should avoid large meals and not eat too late.

Do not lie down right after you eat.

It is helpful to sleep with your upper body slightly elevated.

Reduce your weight if you weigh too many pounds.

Avoid stress as it is a common cause of heartburn. Relaxation exercises, exercise, meditation, and rest can help reduce stress and thus heartburn.

Don't wear tight clothing and loosen your belt.

Hunched or stooped postures encourage reflux.

Refrain from alcohol and tobacco.

Avoid highly acidic beverages such as grapefruit or lemon juice, and other juices made from citrus fruits.

Tried and tested home remedies are teas with chamomile, fennel or caraway seeds.

Chewing gum is supposed to

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