Tips for Handling Chronic Heartburn

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Chronic conditions can make your life painful and difficult, so sufferers are often in search of relief. Chronic heartburn is no exception. This condition is identified by a sensation of burning or pain every time you finish a meal. It’s caused by acid leaking up into your esophagus, which can cause pain, damage, or general discomfort. Experts say you should get heartburn under control before it does permanent damage or causes lasting side effects. If you suffer from chronic heartburn, don’t worry, there are some ways to help!

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and am not offering medical advice. These are general tips to help manage heartburn on a daily basis. Seek medical attention before attempting any at-home remedies!

What to Avoid

Several things can make heartburn worse, and these are known as triggers. You can lessen symptoms or even get rid of them entirely by avoiding triggers. One of the major heartburn triggers is cigarettes. Along with the other health problems it can cause, smoking cigarettes decreases saliva production, which ordinarily gets rid of excess stomach acid. Tobacco has also been known to increase the amount of acid that your body produces, as well as make it easier to reach the esophagus. Certain foods make heartburn worse. Spicy and high-fat foods are the biggest culprits, as well as acidic foods and beverages like coffee, citrus fruit juices, and tomato products. Alcohol is known to be a trigger. If you're not sure what your triggers are, try eliminating items one at a time to see if your symptoms decrease.

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What Can Help

Eat smaller meals often so that you don’t overload your stomach and increase the amount of stomach acid that you produce. Try eating eat at least two hours before you go to bed and avoiding large and fatty meals at this time. Sleep with your head elevated so that acid can’t travel up your esophagus. A foam wedge under your pillow can help with this. For some people, losing weight can improve symptoms or eliminate them. General good health may reduce chronic conditions, including heartburn. Take time to relax, since eliminating stress can help with health conditions.

Medical Help

If heartburn has been bothering you for a while or if it’s particularly severe, then you should visit a doctor. If it goes untreated, it can be a sign of a more serious condition or it can cause damage to your esophagus. Your doctor will give you advice geared toward your circumstances, and they may prescribe medication. Antacids are typically prescribed first and are available over the counter. They work by neutralizing acid in your stomach. They don’t last long, but they provide quick relief. H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors work by slowing down acid production. Some H2 blockers have recently been found to have cancer-causing properties, so if you’ve been taking Zantac or similar medications, then stop and visit your doctor. You can also check this website to find out more if you’ve had issues potentially related to them.  In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to strengthen the top of your stomach and prevent acid from reaching your esophagus, but this is usually a last resort. 

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