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Reasons for Heartburn

June 1st, 2011

Heartburn typically occurs after eating a large meal or drinking a lot of alcohol. Some people get heartburn when they bend over or lie down.

The frequency of stomach acid reflux varies from one person to another. For most people, it happens very rarely. But weekly or daily incidents of heartburn or acid regurgitation may occur.

 

What can I do to help myself?

  • Try to lose a little weight by eating healthy. Extra weight around the midsection, especially, can press against the stomach and increase the pressure going up toward the LES (lower esophageal sphincter)
  • Avoid large fatty or spicy meals. Eat more frequently. the more volume in the stomach, the more likely the stomach contents will splash toward the LES. Try eating four to five small meals instead of two or three large ones.
  • Try not to eat just before bedtime.
  • Try to cut down on coffee. Coffee, caffeinated tea and cola can increase the acid content in the stomach as well as relax the LES.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
  • Quit smoking or reduce your smoking habits
  • If suffering from nightly symptoms, try using an extra pillow or putting a couple of books under the legs at the head of the bed.
  • Drink a small glass of water at the end of meals to help dilute and wash down any stomach acid that might be splashing up into the esophagus
  • Drink heartburn-friendly beverages like water, mineral water, decaffeinated tea, noncitrus juices, or nonfat or low-fat milk
  • Avoid Beverages like Sodas and certain Juices. Sodas can bloat the abdomen and encourage stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus, while Tomato and citrus juices can irritate a damaged esophagus
  • Eat a high fiber diet – A recent study found that people who followed a high-fiber meal plan were 20% less likely to have heartburn symptoms, regardless of their body weight. You’ll find fiber in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds (basically unprocessed plant foods).
  • If heartburn or acid regurgitations are rare (less than five times a month) medicines bought from a chemist such as antacids can be used.