Does your morning coffee cause you pain? Are you frustrated when a night out dining with friends ends in discomfort instead of relaxed conversation? Do you carry antacids with you every day?
Heartburn is more than just a nuisance. It can detract from enjoying a meal, force you to change your routine and hang over your every decision - what to eat, what to drink, when to lay down.
What is this monkey on your back and how can you find relief?
WHAT CAUSES HEARTBURN?
Heartburn occurs when acid content of stomach makes its way back into esophagus. A burning sensation and even a bitter taste are experienced by heartburn sufferers.
If you are suffering more than twice a week you may have acid reflux disease - also known as GERD. Why is this important?
Not all heartburn is caused by GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). Occasional heartburn can be caused by a variety of factors but if you have regular episodes there are things you can do to help.
WHAT CAN I DO?
If you have regular heartburn first thing you should do is stay away from regular use of antacids. Antacids can relieve pain of occasional heartburn, but because they are designed to neutralize acids in your stomach they can cause stomach to create MORE acid - a cycle called 'acid rebound'. Some medications can also cause diarrhea or constipation or even increase risk of food poisoning by inhibiting growth of good bacteria.
Watch out for trigger foods such as caffeine, alcohol, citrus, chocolate, minty, spicy or tomato-based foods as well as fatty or fried foods, onions or garlic.
Being overweight or smoking also increases risk of GERD and lifestyle changes may help to control symptoms.
Activities such as lying down after a meal, bending forward, lifting heavy items or eating large meals can bring acid reflux on. Avoiding these activities after a meal, eating smaller portions and raising head of your bed several inches may help.