Heartburn or pyrosis is a painful sensation in the esophagus just below the breastbone and is usually associated with regurgitation of gastric acid. The pain often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the arm.
It’s is a major indicator of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); acid reflux is also identified as one of the causes of chronic cough, and sometimes even mimics asthma.
Despite its name, it actually has nothing to do with the heart; it is so called due to a burning “pressure” near to where this vital organ is located – although some cardio problems may give rise to a similar sensation.
Compounding the confusion is the fact that hydrochloric acid from the stomach comes back up the esophagus because of a problem with the cardiac sphincter, a valve which misleadingly contains the word “cardiac,” referring to the cardia as part of the stomach and not, as might be thought, to the heart. Source: Wikipedia.
Home Remedies For Heartburn
Everybody’s different so what works for one perhaps won’t work for another. Once you’ve found a remedy that provides solace–stick with it.
- Chamomile Tea: Sip during attacks as well as following eating to prevent it happening in the first place.
- Peppermint Tea: Same as above.
- Baking Soda & Water: Helps neutralize stomach but should only be used moderately, regular use could dramatically increase a person’s salt intake (baking soda is high in salt). Mix 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of bicarb per glass of water. Due to the high salt content in bicarb, pregnant women should avoid this treatment.
- Ginger: Cook into food, sip Ginger tea or chew a fresh piece for relief.
- Celery: Eating a stalk of raw celery can help (excellent choice for pregnant women).
- Almonds: Chew on raw almonds until discomfort eases–just a handful will do the trick.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Is there anything ACV can’t tackle? A teaspoon to two tablespoons (whatever is needed) of apple cider vinegar should stop this in its tracks. Another option is to mix apple cider vinegar with honey (2:1 ratio).
- Mustard: Take a spoonful (or two if needed) of mustard when discomfort hits…will take a minute or two to bring relief.
- Pickle Juice: A couple good sips settles the tummy.
- Pineapple: Eat a few pieces of fresh pineapple when it hits or right after meals.
- Yogurt: Consuming a couple spoonfuls of yogurt when you feel it coming on can ease things away. If regular occurrences are experienced, try adding yogurt to the diet on a routine basis–it has numerous health benefits (excellent choice for pregnant women).
- Lemon Juice: Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to half a glass of water and drink.
Signs & Symptoms To Watch For
- Burning feeling or sense of pressure inside the chest
- Bitter or sour taste in the mouth
- Rising bile in the throat
You may be suffering from acid reflux disease if symptoms are persistent and experienced on a daily basis, consult a doctor.
Triggers & Causes To Avoid
Heartburn can be a symptom of indigestion so paying attention to diet is beneficial. If a certain ingredient is found to be the culprit, abstain from it. Some common triggers to lookout for:
- Coffee & caffeine beverages or items
- Soda beverages
- Fried & fatty dishes
- Spicy dishes
- Smoking: The habit oftentimes affects the digestive system and the esophagus. If a heavy to moderate smoker, consider quitting or at least dramatically reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked.
- Shed Tight Clothing: Wearing tight clothes or belts around the waist can trigger an episode.
- Snacking Before Bed: Avoid victuals 2 or 3 hours before going to bed or laying down to give the body time to digest the food consumed.
- Lose Weight: If someone is a few pounds overweight or even obese, losing weight generally helps stop regular occurrences of discomfort.
- Exercise: Going for a walk after meals will assist the body’s digestive process. If that’s not possible, do so at least once a day after the heaviest meal (typically supper).
Note: These are simply my collection of tips and research notes, not professional medical advice. Treatments are not intended to replace professional medical care.