We all experience heartburn from time to time, but finding relief is essential for people who suffer from chronic heartburn (known as acid reflux or GERD).
Many people commonly lump heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) together, but they actually mean three distinctly different things.
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not work properly and allows stomach acid up through the esophagus. GERD is the name for chronic acid reflux.
Heartburn is a symptom of both acid reflux and GERD. The burning sensation occurs when the acid seeps up through the esophagus. Although it can be mistaken for heart attack pain, true heartburn is not related to the heart.
So, what causes that sphincter to allow acid into the esophagus? Here are some common triggers:
In the quest to ease symptoms from heartburn, many people have turned to medications and they can be a very effective option.
These medications can certainly be helpful to treat heartburn, but they don’t address the cause, and they don’t come without risks and potential side effects.
For example, Zantac one of the most popular heartburn meds was recently recalled because of a new cancer risk found.
The medicine was found to have a contaminant called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) which increased with storage time, and especially when stored at higher temperatures. NDMA is a probable carcinogen, and it has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer.
People who believe they have been negatively affected by Zantac have already begun to file lawsuits against the manufacturers.
This recall has left many people scrambling to find an effective (and safe) treatment for their heartburn. For those looking for some suggestion we have compiled a list of good natural options to help reduce heartburn.
Many people suffer from heartburn however their cause is not always the same. One of the major things that can help is determining a trigger. For some it could be to stop eating a few hours before lying down, for others it could be simply eating smaller meals and there are many people that have certain foods that can cause heartburn.
What can you do to naturally relieve your heartburn?
Eating small meals more frequently keeps your stomach less full, which can reduce heartburn. Try grazing or eating 6-8 small meals throughout the day.
This is easier said than done if you don’t know what your trigger foods are. An objective way to find out is to keep a food diary. You may find that your main trigger is actually a beverage or that there is a certain food that relieves your heartburn.
Staying upright for a few hours after eating and practicing better posture helps you use gravity to your advantage and reduces pressure on your abdomen. If you eat too close to bedtime, try sleeping on an incline.
If you are overweight, you may find relief from reflux by losing weight. It can relieve pressure on the abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
Smoking can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, so quitting smoking may take care of your problem.
A medication may be the cause of your heartburn. Rather than adding another medication to mask a side effect of your first medication, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medication that gives you fewer side effects and relieves your heartburn.
Before trying any herb or supplement, check with your doctor to make sure they won’t interact with any medications you are taking. While the use of herbs and supplements to help heartburn is largely unproven, some people find relief from peppermint oil, ginger root, chamomile, and licorice.
These natural remedies can be healthier and easier on your body than medications to treat heartburn. Talk to your doctor before trying strategies, and especially before stopping any medication.
Although Zantac was not the only medication that helped with heartburn it was by far one of the most popular and frequently used.
However, if you feel the natural route is not for you and you want other options there are four main types of medications that effectively treat heartburn:
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