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Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest accompanied by a bitter taste in the mouth or throat. Heartburn sensations may become more severe after a large meal or while lying down.
In general, heartburn symptoms can be successfully treated at home. If persistent heartburn makes eating or swallowing difficult, your symptoms could be a sign of a more serious medical issue.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is one of the significant causes of heartburn.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 15 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn regularly.
Heartburn, despite its name, has nothing to do with the heart. However, some of the symptoms are comparable to those seen in people who have had a heart attack or heart disease.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the middle of your chest that occurs behind your breastbone. When you bend over or lie down, you may get chest pain, a hot, acidic, bitter, or salty sensation in the back of your throat, or difficulty swallowing.
Why Does Heartburn Happen?
An issue with the lower esophageal sphincter or the LES, a muscle valve, can cause heartburn symptoms to appear. It’s below the rib cage and somewhat to the left of the center, where the esophagus meets the stomach.
Usually, the LES works with gravity to keep stomach acid where it belongs: in your stomach. The LES opens to allow food into your stomach or to allow you to belch when it is working correctly, then closes again. Stomach acid can infiltrate the esophagus and generate a burning sensation if the LES opens too frequently or does not seal strongly enough.
If your LES is not tightening as it should, one of two things is likely to be the cause. The first is over eating, which involves stuffing too much food into your stomach. Another cause is excessive stomach pressure, which can be caused by obesity, pregnancy, or constipation.
Some typical foods and beverages cause increased stomach acid output, which can lead to heartburn. Over-the-counter drugs can also exacerbate heartburn.
Excessive alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, acidic fruits, and even chocolate are some of the foods and beverages that can cause heartburn.
Smoking and eating high-fat foods can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax and enable acid to reflux into the esophagus, allowing acid to reflux into the esophagus.
A hiatal hernia, which occurs when a stomach piece protrudes into the chest rather than the abdomen, can cause the LES to malfunction and is a risk factor for reflux. Hiatal hernias do not create any symptoms on their own. Heartburn does not occur until the LES collapses.
Obesity, too, can produce increased abdominal pressure and, as a result, reflux.
How to Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn affects more than half of pregnant women, especially in the second and third trimesters. Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy influence the muscles of the digestive tract and how your body handles certain foods, causing heartburn.
Your LES may relax due to pregnancy hormones, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into your esophagus. Additionally, as your baby grows, your uterus may swell, crowding the abdomen and pushing stomach acids upward. Gallstones can cause heartburn during pregnancy, though this is uncommon.
Heartburn remedies that are not prescribed can help you feel better. However, before using antacids, consult your doctor. They could have much sodium in them, which can make you retain water. Some of them also include aluminum, which is not healthy to ingest while pregnant. Your doctor can recommend an antacid that is safe to use during pregnancy.
You can ease heartburn symptoms without harming your baby if you follow the proper precautions. You can change your diet by eating numerous little meals throughout the day rather than three large ones, avoiding fried, spicy, or fatty foods, and refraining from drinking or smoking at any level.
You might also try eating while sitting up straight, not lying down afterwards, and keeping the head of your bed higher than the foot of your bed.
Best Food for Heartburn
No food can cure heartburn, and your decision to try certain foods to relieve your symptoms should be based on your personal experiences.
Vegetables with low fat and sugar content by nature, such as broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, and other green veggies, are all excellent choices.
Ginger is a natural remedy for heartburn since it contains anti-inflammatory qualities. To relieve symptoms, add ginger root to foods or drinks or drink ginger tea.
Non-citrus fruits, such as melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less prone than acidic fruits to cause reflux symptoms. Low-fat meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, can help to alleviate acid reflux symptoms.
Despite the fact that doctors disagree about which foods induce reflux symptoms, certain foods have been proved to create issues for many people. High-fat foods, citrus foods, mint, and other herbs and spices are examples.
Which Side to Sleep on For Heartburn?
According to multiple studies, resting on your left side is the greatest sleeping posture for those with GERD. Reflux episodes and esophageal acid exposure are reduced when you sleep on your left side. Reflux can be exacerbated by sleeping in different positions, especially on your back.
COVID Vaccine Heartburn
After the first or second dosage, COVID-19 vaccinations might cause moderate side effects such as heartburn, among other things.
The majority of side effects occur within the first three days of vaccination and usually the last one to two days. It is not recommended to take pain relievers like paracetamol before getting the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid adverse effects. This is because it is unknown how painkillers may impact the vaccine’s effectiveness. If you experience side effects, including discomfort, fever, headache, or muscular aches after immunization, you can take paracetamol or other pain relievers.