More than 60 million people have at least one instance of heartburn each month. And throughout our lifetime, each of us is bound to experience it at least once.
What Is Heartburn?
It goes by many names: heartburn, acid indigestion, reflux, or GERD, and it occurs when acid from our stomach reverses course and enters our esophagus. It can be extremely uncomfortable, causing a painful burning sensation that can feel like your heart is on fire. Hence the term “heartburn”. Persons may also experience difficulty breathing from the intensity of the pain.
Causes and Triggers
Common causes of heartburn and reflux are dietary choices, obesity, and certain medications. You might not be able to avoid it completely, but the triggers may increase the frequency and intensity
● Caffeinated beverages and alcohol
Because of the acidic nature of these drinks, it only makes sense that they will increase the acid content in your stomach. If you can’t avoid them, it’s best to exercise moderation.
● Spicy foods
And spicy and fatty foods, too, for that matter. Tacos, pizza (anything tomato-based actually), anything deep-fried, even chocolate are known culprits in wreaking havoc on your stomach. Of course, it’s the things that taste good that would make us sick.
● Pressure on your stomach
Ever wonder why pregnant women have such high incidents of heartburn? Now you know. Anything that puts pressure on your stomach forces stomach acid up your esophagus. That means being overweight, eating too much, or not wearing your buffet pants to the buffet, too.
As if you needed another reason to avoid smoking or breathing second-hand smoke. Not only is it bad for your lungs, it also weakens the lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the little flap that keeps your stomach contents where they belong.
Healthy Treatment Options
If you’re one of the 15 million (and rising) unfortunate souls that experience heartburn, or acid reflux daily, you know how important it is to have a treatment that works quickly to offer you relief. There’s no shortage of over-the-counter and prescription medications available, but consuming those regularly can cause long-term damage.
In fact, Zantac, one of the most widely prescribed medications for heartburn and acid reflux, has been banned from the US by the FDA and there are several pending lawsuits. Law firms, like those at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, argue that due to the high levels of NMDA found in Zantac, thousands of people subsequently developed cancer.
That’s certainly not good, but what IS good is that there are many wonderful, natural home remedies to cure your aching heart.
A common ingredient in antacids, calcium helps neutralize the acid in your stomach. While it shouldn’t be used for more than two weeks if you don’t notice improvement, taking calcium chews can offer pretty rapid relief. Use them as directed and make sure you’re not ingesting something that has a ton of additives.
● Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is known as the “world’s oldest remedy” and can be taken orally or applied topically (with a carrier oil, of course) to the stomach to reduce nausea and sour stomach. There are many other proven health advantages of using peppermint oil, too.
● Ripe Banana
Bananas are considered alkaline and as such, consuming a ripened one can counteract the acid in your stomach. Other alkaline foods include melons, nuts, and cauliflower.
● Baking Soda
You heard me. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and tip it back. It’s not tasty, but it will work quickly to neutralize the acid in your tummy.
● Apple Cider Vinegar
Here’s another one that you’ll want to plug your nose for and swallow. Mix three teaspoons with 8 ounces of warm water, then down the hatch with it. It will only be gross for a second and relief should come quickly.
● Sugar-free Gum
This handy trick works because when you chew gum, you produce more saliva and more saliva neutralizes your stomach. Bonus is that since you’re swallowing more often, you’re also forcing that rancid acid back into the pits from whence it came.
● Stop Smoking
If you’re a smoker, quitting will be your best defense against reflux. So, do yourself a favor, and get to work on that.
If you’re suffering from heartburn and acid reflux, it might be tempting to resort to OTC or prescription medications, and in some cases, that might be your best solution. Talk it over with your doctor and stick to their recommendations carefully.
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