Frequent Heartburn is the bane of our modern society. 1 in 5 Americans are said to suffer from heartburn and frequent heartburn due to gastroesopageal reflux disease (GERD) is becoming a more common diagnosis by doctors all over the country. GERD is the result of your stomach’s acid contents breaching your lower esophageal sphincter and flowing back up your esophagus.
People who suffer from GERD experience…
-Chest Pain, especially when lying down
-A Sour Taste in the Mouth
-Food or liquid coming back up
While occasional heartburn might help you lay off the pizza, frequent Heartburn as the result of GERD can result in some rather serious health consequences including bleeding, ulcers, strictures and may even contribute to cancer.
The biggest contributor to heartburn is your diet. Some of the foods that we all just love to eat also happen to be known triggers for heartburn.
-Chocolate (Double No!)
-Deep Fried Foods
-Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Pepper and pretty much everything else found on pizza
While diet is the major reason why so many of us get heartburn, our lifestyle also plays a big factor. Large portion sizes, eating our food too fast and right before going to bed, and living a stressful lifestyle that causes us to eat fast food, smoke, drink, and over dose on caffeine all help contribute to this growing problem in our society.
While seeing a doctor is important, especially if your heartburn is frequent, there are other things besides taking acid blockers that play havoc on your digestive tract or having surgery to get your sphincter tightened that you can do to help curb your heartburn woes. Making some changes and your diet and lifestyle can be the first big step in eliminating heartburn. Keeping a food journal to eliminate the culprit foods is a first good step and not taking a nap after eating a big meal is a great second rule of thumb.
How you eat is also as important as what you eat. Instead of wolfing down your food as your are driving home from the drive thru, try sitting down and eating slowly, being sure to savor thoroughly chew your food. Smaller portions will also help eliminate heartburn as well as cut down on your waistline. Also, eliminating distractions while you eat will help you focus on what you are eating and even help you find the food that is causing your problems.
Working at reducing your stress can also help contribute to lessening your heartburn. While research has yet to find a direct link between stress and GERD, it has been found that a stressful lifestyle does spur people to do things like eat fried foods, drink copious amounts of coffee and booze and smoke, all which can lead to heartburn.