Heartburn is characterized by symptoms of a slight hiccup followed by a burning sensation in the throat and chest. Heartburn could be caused by eating acidic, spicy or fatty foods. It can also occur because of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Whatever may the cause be, it leads to upset stomach and discomfort. What can be done to get rid of heartburn?
1. Avoid Foods That Trigger Your Heartburn
If you know which food items act as trigger for your heartburn symptoms, try to avoid them. You should also eat with caution the following food items as they may worsen your heartburn – caffeine, peppermint, chocolate, soda pop, tomatoes, citrus fruits and their juices, spicy and fatty foods and onions.
Decrease your portion size. Instead of eating 3 big meals in a day, eat 5-6 small meals. Eat slowly and take small bites. Eat fiber-rich food for a healthy digestive system.
2. Stop Smoking
The effectiveness of the esophageal sphincter (the muscle that does not allow the stomach acid to come into the esophagus or food pipe) is reduced by smoking. Hence, it is a good idea to quit smoking to avoid the stimulation of stomach acid.
3. Make an Improvement in Your Posture
Your heartburn symptoms may be due to an improper posture; hence, it’s worth a try to improve your posture. If you are bedridden and having symptoms of heartburn, raise your upper body from waist up by putting wooden blocks beneath your bed so as to raise its head by around 6 inches. You can use an adjustable bed which can be raised to a desirable angle and it can also provide relief.
4. Chew Gum
How to get rid of heartburn? Chewing gum may aid in neutralizing stomach acid. By chewing gum, the production of saliva is increased. Saliva being alkaline in nature neutralizes the stomach acid that results in heartburn. According to a study, patients with GERD symptoms had relief in heartburn when they chewed sugar-free gum for duration of 30 minutes after a meal.
5. Keep Your Weight in Check
Though heartburn also occurs in thin people, but research suggests that extra weight raises your risk of getting heartburn as the weight puts pressure on the stomach. This occurs even if your BMI (bodymass index) is within normal range. Hence, losing excess weight is one of the lifestyle measures that you can take to relieve your heartburn.
6. Loosen Your Clothing
An attack of heartburn can occur due to wearing tight clothes as they may be constricting your stomach. In such cases you should loosen your clothing by either loosening your belt, your apron strings or your dress.
7. Take Medicine
Many OTC (over-the-counter) medicines to combat heartburn are available. These include
PPIs and H2 blockers are available both as prescription medicines and OTC meds. You can take these medicines and answer your question of how to get rid of heartburn. You should discuss with your physician if you are taking these medicines frequently or regularly as they may interact with certain other drugs.
1. Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate is the active ingredient in baking soda and it relieves heartburn in the same manner as OTC medicines do, by neutralizing the stomach acid.
2. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera gel is usually used to relieve ailments of skin such as bug bites, burns, acne, etc. but very few people are aware of the fact that it can reduce symptoms of heartburn. Make sure that the aloe vera you are using is 100% pure aloe vera gel and does not contain alcohol.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking apple cider vinegar can look counterintuitive; however, using acid to combat acid is an excellent home remedy. Use natural apple cider vinegar that is prepared from crushed apples, yeast and bacteria.
How to get rid of heartburn? Ginger is a natural home remedy to treat multiple stomach complaints such as nausea, gas, motion sickness and diarrhea. It can also help relieve symptoms of heartburn.
5. Slippery Elm
Slippery Elm is a plant that is used since centuries to treat various ailments such as boils and wounds, ulcers and diarrhea. It naturally forms a lining between the stomach and esophagus lining and the acid.
When to Call the Doctor
Sometimes, heartburn can be an emergency. You should immediately call your physician or visit an emergency room if:
Is It a Heart Attack or Heartburn?
Your heart is not affected due to heartburn but the symptoms can mimic a heart attack. Call 911 if you develop any of the following symptoms in association with chest pain, even if you don’t think that your symptoms are due to a heart attack: