These days, heartburn is about as common a complaint as headaches. A touch of stomach acid to the esophagus is all it takes to cause the most awful burning pain in the area of the chest and stomach. The problem is that the esophagus is so inconveniently close to the sphincter that opens and closes to allow food into the stomach.
Swallowing too fast, too much acid, not enough acid or lying down too soon after eating can all cause that awful feeling even in the healthiest of people. Add in too much exercise, pregnancy and the stomach flu and it’s a wonder that anyone can get through the day without a touch of heartburn. You can keep an over the counter remedy on hand at all times, or you can try some natural heartburn relief.
Understanding Your Heartburn
Since some of the causes of heartburn conflict with others – too much acid versus too little acid, for instance – it’s difficult to find a remedy that will work every time. The first step is to get an idea of what is causing your heartburn. Usually, the intense discomfort is enough to make the occurrences stick in your mind. For some, it’s a nighttime episode, for others, it’s a result of spicy food. Once you find your trigger, consult your doctor or do some research on the internet to discover how to handle the problem.
Nighttime heartburn is often the result of lying down too soon after eating – or worse, while eating. That sphincter has to open every time you swallow. Without enough gravity to keep the acid where it belongs, you’ll get that painful splash of acid on your delicate esophagus. Doctors call it “reflux.” Pile up the pillows or use the comfy chair and you’ll avoid the problem in the first place. Avoidance is the best form of natural heartburn relief.
Certain foods can trigger that burning sensation, and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint without keeping a heartburn diary. When you feel that heat start, jot down whatever you ate over the course of the last hour or so. If you can’t pinpoint the caloric culprit, you can get a list of the most likely suspects and eliminate them all. Then just add each one back to your life one at a time. If there’s a painful reaction, take it out of your diet again.
The best you can do is hope that it isn’t one of your favorite foods. There are still things you can do to get your favorites back. If the problem turns out to be coffee or cola, for instance, the problem may just be the caffeine – try decaffeinated. Again, avoidance equals natural heartburn relief.
Sometimes, the sphincter that keeps acid away from your esophagus can relax and allow acid reflux. On occasion, this can be caused by too little acid because acid is a trigger for the muscle to contract. If you have cut down on acidy foods or you are on a diet, this might be a cause of your pain. Adding an acidic food like vinegar or just eating and swallowing can be of help. One natural heartburn relief in this case can be a plain old stick of gum. Once you understand your heartburn, your natural heartburn relief is just a step away.