6 Home Remedies for Preventing Heartburn
If you have frequent or even occasional heartburn, you know that it can be miserable. Learn the symptoms of heartburn and how to prevent them.
If you have heartburn more than two times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). See your doctor for treatment. But if you have only occasional heartburn, you may be able to prevent it by making some lifestyle changes.
Here are some tips.
- Stop smoking. One more reason to quit smoking. Cigarette smoking can cause heartburn or make it worse. Plus, it raises your risk of esophageal cancer, which is also linked to chronic heartburn.
- If you are overweight, lose weight. Extra weight puts pressure on your stomach and can cause acids to back up. Even five to 10 pounds weight loss could help.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn. Common triggers include chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, citrus fruits and juices, spicy foods, fried and fatty foods, tea, coffee and carbonated beverages.
- Change eating habits. Try eating slower and smaller meals. Wait at least two to three hours after eating before you lie down or go to bed.
- Don't wear tight clothes. Loosen your belt and other clothes that put pressure on your stomach.
- Elevate the head of your bed. Use blocks under the bed legs to raise the head six inches or more. This can help keep stomach acids down. You can also buy a wedge to put between your mattress and box spring to achieve the same results.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your medication may be causing heartburn. Possible culprits include aspirin and other pain medications, some antibiotics, and iron supplements.
Over-the-counter medications may help. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Remember to call your doctor if symptoms are severe or occur several days a week.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus. This is the tube that connects the stomach to the mouth. Usually, heartburn goes away on its own or with over-the-counter medications. But if you still get heartburn after taking over-the-counter medications for a week or two, you should see a doctor.
Symptoms of heartburn include:
- A burning pain under your breastbone or upper stomach that may travel up toward your throat.
- Burning may worsen after you eat, or when you bend over or lie down. You might also get a sour taste in your mouth. It may also be more frequent or worse when lying down at night.
A note: You can't always tell the difference between heartburn and chest pain caused by a heart attack or other heart problems.
Call 9-1-1 for heartburn that:
- Causes any chest discomfort that feels like pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or a heavy weight
- Starts after you have just been active
- Is accompanied by shortness of breath or sweating
- Spreads to your arm, back or neck
- Does not go away and you have other risk factors for heart disease
- Has you worried or you are just not sure what is causing your chest discomfort