Heartburn is a caused by stomach acids backing up into the lower esophagus, the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The acids produce a burning sensation and discomfort between the ribs just below the breastbone. Heartburn can occur after overeating or sometimes in reaction to medications. Let’s explore effective home remedies for heartburn.
Don’t be concerned if you experience heartburn now and then; nearly everyone does. However, repeated episodes of heartburn can injure the esophageal lining.
- Don’t overeat. Avoid late-night meals.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes, such as belts and girdles.
- Avoid constipation, since it can increase pressure on the stomach.
- Try acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of aspirin and ibuprofen, which may cause heartburn.
- Prevent future attacks by taking note of what foods or beverages bring on distress. If certain foods seem to cause trouble, avoid them. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, peppermint, and citrus fruits and juices are common culprits. If you can draw a connection, you may be able to prevent future attacks by avoiding the substance.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine weakens the opening at the top of the stomach and is directly related to heartburn.
- Discontinue alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, caffeine, and fatty foods since all of them weaken the valve that keeps stomach acid out of the esophagus.
- Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar.
- Don’t lie down too soon after eating. Try to stay upright for at least two to three hours after each meal.
- Raise the head of your bed four to six inches using wooden blocks or thick telephone books.
- Take an antacid, such as Maalox, Mylanta, or Gelusil, but use it wisely.
When to Call a Health Professional
- If the problem lasts for more than three days. Call sooner if symptoms are not relieved at all by antacids.
- If you suspect that a prescribed medication is causing the heartburn. Antihistamines, Valium, and ibuprofen sometimes cause heartburn.
- If shortness of breath or other symptoms suggest heat problems.