Tips to Prevent Heartburn

September 27 2017 at 12:00 AM by Wuser

Heartburn is actually a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and is caused by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Risk factors include those that increase the production of acid in the stomach, as well as structural problems that allow acid reflux into the esophagus.

It is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain is often worse when lying down or bending over. Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.

Heartburn that is more frequent or interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.Heartburn results from a backup of acid-containing stomach contents into your esophagus. Here are tips for prevention:

  •  Eat smaller meals

Too much food expands your stomach and puts pressure on a band of muscle (the lower esophageal sphincter) that helps keep food and acid from backing up into your esophagus. Avoid alcohol, fatty foods, chocolate, spearmint and peppermint.These foods can relax your lower esophageal sphincter and promote upward flow of stomach contents.

  •  Consider using an antacid or H-2 blocker

Antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums and others help neutralize stomach acids temporarily. Over-the-counter H-2 blockers such as famotidine (Pepcid AC), ranitidine (Zantac) and others reduce stomach acid production, which may relieve or prevent symptoms when taken before a meal. But overuse of antacids or H-2-receptor blockers can cause side effects.

  • Donot eat before sleeping

Wait two to three hours after eating before lying down. This allows enough time for the stomach to empty and increased stomach acid to taper off.

  •  Stop smoking

The nicotine from cigarettes can relax your lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to flow back into your esophagus.

  •  Lose excess weight

Slimming down if you are overweight helps reduce the pressure your abdomen puts on your stomach when you're lying down.

  • Wear loose clothes

A tight belt or waistband can put pressure on your stomach and push acid into your esophagus, causing discomfort.

  • Elevate the head of your bed

Raise the head of your bed four to six inches. This helps keep stomach acid in your stomach, where it belongs.