Causes of heartburn remain hidden to most. This is evident in the escalating cases of heartburn among the populace across the world, because it is growing at an alarming rate. It is indiscriminately affecting anyone regardless of demographic factors. What are the causes of heartburn? Could we help stop it or control it for those already affected? The answer is right here with us.
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You perhaps have heard several people complain about heartburn; and more so, they do it with their hand fixed at their chests, an indication that the pain is emanating somewhere right inside the chest. For those who have had an experience of being plagued by this menace, are without a doubt aware of it. Some might have experienced heartburn, but failed to know what the complication was, for lack of knowledge of what it is. If you have not experienced then you have at some point heard of heartburn. This article serves to shed more light on heartburn and causes of heartburn.
Heartburn is an inflammatory disease which occurs when digestive juices and stomach acids flows back into the esophagus from the stomach. Esophagus is the tube in the alimentary canal connecting the mouth to the stomach. Stomach contents are prevented from moving back into the esophagus by lower esophageal sphincter, a circular muscle located at the point interception between the stomach and esophagus. Food combine with acids and juices in the stomach to commence digestion. The walls of the stomach has special mucus lining which protects it from this digestive juices and acid. The esophagus wall does not have the lining and thus in case of a reflux occurring, the “corrosion damages” resulting from the acids causes inflammation hence causes of bad heartburn.
Heartburn is a complication affecting majority of us. With recent survey indicating that about 25% to 40% adults experience heartburn at least once in a month. 7% to about 10% experience it on daily basis and worse part precipitation out that majority of the people victimized by heartburn are male. This is very nauseating let’s get into it right away and unearth this constant heartburn and gas, symptoms of heartburn and cast an eye too at the remedies.
What causes heartburn and bloating?
We have looked extensively on the definition of heartburn up there. Bloating on the other hand refers to become swollen or expand of the stomach. Quite often, the two develop from similar sources and are very painful when suffered at the same time.
The following are what causes heartburn and bloating.
1. Lifestyle encounters
Most of the life experiences exhibited could result into increase in bloating, constant heartburn and gas. According to FamilyDoctor.org, being obese could trigger heartburn too.
Our day to day habits such as eating ravenously especially when stressed or when in a hurry contribute in a great measure to increased heartburn cases. These eating habits interferes with proper digestions amounting to gas, bloating and heartburn.
Smoking also causes these. It contributes to stomach and esophageal difficulties by increasing the swallowing of gases and inhibiting the production of saliva.
2. Certain foods we eat
Consumption of fatty foods may result into bloating. This is because fats delay in emptying of the stomach hence resulting into the feeling of fullness. Excessive intake of drinks such as pears, apples, peaches can result in bloating too if the gases coming from this drinks do not exit the stomach when one belches. Chewing gum, eating food stuffs such as hard candy, contribute too to bloating and gas because during their intake there is much swallowing of excessive air. As much as this doesn’t come as a discouragement, it should be known that food rich in carbohydrates bloating, constant heartburn and gas. These foods include, lettuce, broccoli, Brussel sprout, cabbage, cauliflower and baked beans.
3. Health conditions may also be a great cause
Some medical conditions e.g. gastrointestinal infections and blockage brings about bloating, gas and severe heartburn complications.
Other health conditions such as lactose intolerance and celiac disease interfere with the process of digestion and this amounts to bloating.
It should also be understood that certain medications bring about the changes in intestinal bacteria or constipation. These are associated to increase in gas and the following complications e.g. peptic ulcers gastritis and hiatal hernia which will cause heartburn.
Heart burn and nausea
Nausea can be caused by a variety of reasons. They range from infections, severe pain, migraine, pregnancy, food poisoning and use of medicines. Nausea comes in two forms. Those that a mild hence persevering uncomfortable to the ones which are extremely severe. Like I mentioned earlier heartburn and nausea is as a result of acid reflux. We have already looked at how this happen in patient with heartburn. In case you are wondering about nausea then this is how.
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) are weak and allows back flow of digestive juice and acids in the stomach and then to the throat hence misconception of heartburn in the throat. This therefore results in one experiencing a sour taste in his or her mouth. This taste together with coughing and burping contributes to nauseatic feel.
Those with weak lower esophagus sphincter (LES) will experience acid reflux if their diet contains the following foods; Citrus fruit and juices, peppermint, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, tomato and red sauces, fried or fatty foods etc.
Nausea can also be an indication of far-reaching health implications, diabetes, possible heart attack and brain trauma just to mention a few.
Heartburn and burping
Burping is simply belching. This an act of expelling gases contained in the stomach through the mouth. Burping is often experienced after a delicious meal and one is on full stomach and also after intake of some juices and sodas. Burping is important as it gets rid of the gases in the stomach. These gases if not removed results in a feel of fullness which could be a recipe to heartburn. Much about the gas, bloating and heartburn has been talked before. However this came to expound on why heartburn and burping to together.
Heartburn during pregnancy
Studies indicate that young women often experience heartburn for the first time in their pregnancies. To some it’s a frightening feel because perhaps it is their first time this is happening to them. A burning sensation develops right below the sternum and can travel all the way to the throat and mouth. When this occurs, one experiences a bad taste in the mouth and heartburn in throat. Let’s look at why heartburn, indigestion and pregnancy come hand in hand.
There are a number of causes of heartburn during pregnancy amongst our dear women. To begin with, problems related to digestion are very common during pregnancy. This can be explained as the causes of morning heartburn and sickness. That said, the levels of estrogen and progesterone changes rapidly in a pregnant woman, this according to the doctors is another reason why nausea and vomiting too occur in women.
Morning sickness only occurs during the early stages of pregnancy and disappears latter on. However, heartburn tend to emerge latter on during the pregnancy. It happens when the pregnant woman experiences acid reflux. In pregnancy, hormones weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) leading to the sphincter becoming loose and to leak. This allows digestive acids from the stomach back to the esophagus causing irritation. The hormones too slows down digestion resulting into indigestion and along the pregnancy as the baby grows and the uterus expand, it presses on the stomach increasing the chances of heartburn.
Foods that may cause heartburn
Diet has a role in taming this problem. Many food in your diet causes the weakening the LES and getting to know this will help you prevent this or minimize its effects.
Here is a list of heartburn foods to avoid;
1. High-fatty foods
High fatty food stimulate the secretion of cholecystokinin (CCK). This hormone may result into the weakening of lower esophageal sphincter (LES) causing a back flow. To add to this CCK hormone encourages the food to stay longer in the stomach for proper digestion, unfortunately this too brings about acid reflux.
2. Citrus Juices
Fruits such as orange and grapefruits are rich in citrus acids. Such fruits when taken in unduly amount are great contributors to heartburn
Raw onions are a common trigger of acid reflux. Onions are rich in fermentable fibers that may cause belching. Belching when it occurs aggravates heartburn.
It important too to note that the fermentable fibers contained on the onion are made up of FODMAPs. This is a group of compound which may result into digestion complications.
Alcohol brings about heartburn in a range of way. It weakens the LES causing acid reflux, it increase the amount of stomach acids and lastly alcohol damages the walls of the esophagus which in time becomes so sensitive to the stomach acids.
5. Spicy foods
They are a notorious group of foods causing heartburn. These food contain a compound referred to as capsaicin. The compound slows down digestion and like earlier seen this causes heartburn.
The list is long. However it is also important to understand that all these causes of bad heartburn are as a results acid reflux. And there are many food components that are responsible for it. Caffeine for example in a case of heartburn from coffee, acidic food and lastly hormones from the body.
Heartburn symptoms and treatment
Symptoms of heartburn
There are quite a number of heartburn symptoms. They include;
- Chest complications more so pain especially after eating, bending over and lying down
- Burning in the throat
- One may experience too a feeling of food sticking in the middle of the chest and throat and this is so irritating.
- A burning sensation in the chest at the back of the sternum. This happens regularly after eating food.
- An experience of difficulty in swallowing
- At the back of the throat, one may too experience sour, acidic, hot and salty tasting fluid.
Heartburn treatment – heartburn and remedies
Heartburn medications ranges from heartburn home remedies to heartburn natural remedies.
Heartburn home remedies
If you thought I will provide a procedure to a concoction! You are right. Under this categories we look at foods to relieve you from heartburn. Isn’t this home-made? Definitely it is.
1. Apple cider vinegar and water
Mixing vinegar with water and consuming combats heartburn. Vinegar neutralizes the excess acids in the stomach and balances intestinal pH.
2. Fresh pineapple juice
The juice contains bromelain. It helps digest proteins.
Ground tea is taken as tea. And it is helpful because it works to help in digestion and give a soothing effect to the stomach and intestines. This prevents heartburn from occurring.
Lifestyle can also be used to cab heartburn and this is how.
1. One needs to eat smaller and frequently
Smaller amounts of food tend to be digested faster and saves the stomach from pressure from large amount of food.
2. Avoiding tight fitting clothes
Develop the habit of wearing loose clothes around the waists.
3. Avoid lying down immediately after you have eaten
Heartburn natural remedies
1. Don’t over eat
Most acid reflux occur after meal. If large amount of food is consumed there will be high amount of acid reflux
2. Limit alcohol intake
We have looked at the effects of alcohol concerning heartburn. They are immense and its consumption has far reaching effect. So lower intake or none at all would be advisable.
The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.