What is Heart Burn?
Heart burn is a painful burning caused by the regurgitation of acid into the oesophagus. It has nothing to do with the heart, but is called heart burn because the pain is located very close to the heart.
Heart burn is primarily caused by diet. Eating unhealthy foods can trigger the condition, but even tight clothing can cause acid to enter the oesophagus. Heart burn is also a symptom of acid reflux disease.
Acid reflux disease can be a very serious medical condition and if you have heartburn that is not helped by diet, lifestyle changes and over the counter or herbal remedies you should see your doctor because it increases your chances for oesophageal bleeding and cancer.
Heart Burn Symptoms
Heart burn is characterized by a burning in the chest just below the breast bone. Depending on the severity of the heart burn the pain may radiate to the neck, throat or under the jaw. Acid reflux can cause a chronic cough that mimics asthma symptoms. Heart burn can be much worse at night when you are lying down.
Heart Burn Relief
The first step to eliminating heart burn is to raise your head slightly above your feet when you sleep. You can do this with pillows or an adjustable bed. This will help prevent acid from leaving your stomach and irritating your oesophagus.
You can also chew bubble gum because your saliva is thought to help neutralize the acid and keep it down. Many people have found that this helps when nothing else will. It is widely believed that drinking milk can stop heart burn; this is not true. While drinking milk will produce immediate relief, it will cause heart burn to come back even worse in 30 minutes due to the proteins in it.
You should eat smaller, more frequent meals. Eating large meals causes the stomach to produce a great deal of acid.
There are certain foods that you should avoid because they are known to aggravate heart burn. You should cut back on or eliminate acidic fruits, fatty foods, coffee, pretzels, tea, onions and chocolate.
It is also best if you avoid all spicy foods before bedtime. Eliminating these foods completely is no guarantee of relief, instead it is
better to reduce meal sizes and elevate your head when sleeping. Smoking can also cause heart burn, along with numerous other problems, and you should stop smoking. Fennel can be used as a tea to stop heart burn.
You seep one or two tablespoons of the seeds in a cup of boiling water. Peppermint and other types of mint can be used to sooth heart burn and other stomach discomforts. Gingerroot and rhubarb can also be chewed to alleviate heartburn symptoms.
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