Heartburn Home Remedies

Try these heartburn home remedies. Learn how to reduce your chances of getting heartburn and how to treat it now.

Heartburn is known by many names. Indigestion, bloating, borborygmus and dyspepsia are all used to define this condition, which in many cases, occurs after eating.

DEFINITION

Heartburn is a vague chest or abdominal discomfort often suffered after consuming food or liquids.

SYMPTOMS

Mild nausea.

Burning sensation behind breastbone.

Upper abdominal fullness or heaviness.

Excessive gas or belching.

Full feeling in abdomen.

Acid taste in mouth.

Growling stomach.

Pain or pressure behind breastbone.

Pain between shoulders or in neck that follows food.

CAUSES

The exact cause of heartburn is not known. Most symptoms are related to eating, drinking, swallowing air, and emotional upset. Excessive smoking, eating and drinking are the most common causes of heartburn.

PREVENTION

Heartburn and its symptoms can often be prevented or at least minimized by following a few, standard guidelines.

1. Never smoke before or while eating. Smoking often causes one to swallow small amounts of air, which form air pockets in the digestive tract with the added pressure of food. Smoking also slows the body's ability to digest food.

2. Monitor which foods cause you to suffer heartburn. Often times, eliminating certain gas forming foods (such as beans, cabbage, cucumbers and onions) from the diet, brings an end to suffering.

3. Eat at a dinner table in an upright, sitting position.

4. Go for a small walk after eating, which will help stimulate the digestive system.

5. Don't chew gum before meals, which also causes one to swallow air.

6. Never exercise following a large meal.

7. Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing.

8. Chew food thoroughly and slowly, allowing for a leisurely meal.

9. Don't consume alcohol with food.

TREATMENT

Traditionally, heartburn and its many symptoms have been relieved through the use of antacids. Many mild cases of heartburn respond well to medications which help to absorb excess stomach acids and increase the rate of digestion. Liquid antacids most often work faster and neutralize stomach more quickly than their pill or tablet alternatives.

Doctors also now suggest that heartburn sufferers keep a daily food diary, so they are better able to see what food triggers are present in their day-to-day life. Once a list of common triggers have been found, begin eliminating foods one by one. Common heartburn triggers include chocolate, fried and fatty foods, and spices.



While suffering heartburn, you're advised to refrain from consuming alcohol, caffeine, over-the-counter pain relievers, and other stimulants, which change the acidity of the stomach, and irritate the lining of the stomach further.

Severe cases of recurrent heartburn are now successfully being treated with acid reducing medications. Over-the-counter medications like cimetidine and rantidine reduce stomach acidity by curbing the production of acids. Long term sufferers remain on acid blockers for 6-8 weeks, during which time the lining of stomach begins to heal itself.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS

There are many promising alternative treatments for heartburn, as well.

THE GINGER ALTERNATIVE

Many find that ingesting ginger with a meal helps to reduce suffering and stomach upset. Fresh ginger can be ground and added to foods or taken in tea or capsule form. Herbalists recommend consuming 500mg. of ginger with a full glass of water after each meal.

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

Enzymes which help to speed the digestive process often eliminate heartburn altogether. Papaya enzymes are sold in chewable capsule form, and are taken immediately following a meal with a full glass of water. Both ginger and digestive enzymes are not medically proven to help with symptoms.

INCREASE FIBER

Consuming more fiber nutrient foods is another natural way to alleviate future suffering. Bulk foods help to absorb excess acid and gas, and allow your body to rid itself of toxins more quickly. For those who respond poorly to high fiber vegetables, fiber pills and beverages are an easy alternative.

ADD MORE WATER

The more water you drink, the less likely you are to suffer the pains of heartburn. Drinking at least 8-glasses of water each day will rid the body of toxins and allow your body to expel acid naturally.

TRY TEA

Green tea has been used for centuries in Japan as an after dinner drink. Green teas aid the body in the digestion process, and help soothe the stomach's sensitive tissue.

GO HERBAL

Herbal teas containing even trace amounts of peppermint, chamomile, ginger, licorice root and catnip help the stomach lining repair itself. Often, one cup of tea following dinner is enough to stave off future heartburn episodes.

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