About Sarskia Flemming

Sarskia has a passion for all things Australian and is a regular blogger on Aussie Blogs. You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

What is Heartburn Disease?

Heartburn disease is a painful problem that plagues millions of people worldwide. In short, heartburn disease is when the acids from the stomach come into contact with the lining of the esophagus. This contact causes a burning feeling in the chest area that can last for up to several hours, and in some cases, even several days.

Heartburn disease is categorized by how many times you have symptoms in any given month. For example, if you haveheartburn once a month or less then you your heartburn disease will be considered mild. If you have heartburn four or five times a month then it is considered moderate. The worst scenario is having heartburn daily. In this case the heartburn disease is considered severe and requires the attention of a doctor.

If you think that you have heartburn disease, don’t worry, you are not alone. It is believed that up twenty percent of people who live in America are afflicted with some form of heartburn. In most cases heartburn can be managed by watching what you eat and taking over the counter medication. However, those severe cases may require the use of prescription medicine in order to control the symptoms.

People who have heartburn disease on a daily basis know that the pain can be quite severe. At this point, the pain can be enough to stop you right in your tracks or send you running to the cabinet in search of your medication. If you experience bad bouts ofheartburn disease it is important to know that you can be causing damage to your body if you don’t give the disease some attention. Untreated heartburn can cause scarring of the esophagus which will make it narrow. This narrowing will make it hard for you to swallow and in turn eat. You may also may be increasing your risk of getting esophageal cancer because the heartburn disease will cause the cells in your lower esophagus to grow in an abnormal fashion.

Heartburn disease is a serious problem that requires your attention. If you continuously ignore the disease then you may be doing yourself more harm over the long run. Take the time to change your habits or even see a doctor if your heartburn becomes frequent. The last thing that you need is your heartburn getting to the point where it is out of control and causing permanent damage to your body.

The Long and Short of Treating Heartburn

Treating your heartburn will vary depending on how severe it is. Simply, put a person who experiences heartburn once a week will have the condition treated differently than someone who experiences it once a day. Regardless of how severe your heartburn is, it is Important to treat it as early as possible. If you let heartburn go on untreated for years and years then there is a good chance that it can cause permanent damage to your body.

For a person who suffers from mild heartburn the easiest way to treat it is to make a few simple changes. Take the time to really look at the types of food that you eat when you get heartburn and cut them out of your diet. Eliminating these foods may be all that is necessary in order to rid yourself of this condition. If you are a person who smokes a lot and drinks alcohol then these two things may be one of the major causes. Also, try to get a little more exercise. Exercising will aid in speeding up the process of digestion which will give heartburn less of a chance to occur. Working out just one or two times a week may do the trick for you.

Over the counter medicines are a heartburn treatment that will work for many people. By taking an antacid you will be stopping the production of stomach acid before it starts. Since stomach acid is directly related to heartburn it is a wise idea to cut it off before it even has a chance to affect you. Antacids can be purchased at any drug store and can be very effective for most people if they are taken before eating a big meal.

If you find that over the counter medications do not work, you can see your doctor for a prescription. In severe cases of heartburn disease a prescription will be able to stop your symptoms and even aid in the healing process of any damage that there is to the esophagus. Many prescription drugs work by preventing the release of acid that occurs in the intestines as well as the stomach. Preventing the release of acid will improve your condition almost immediately.

Heartburn treatments are very effective. The different approaches to treating this condition can vary by how long you have had symptoms and how severe it is. Try to make a few changes to your diet in conjunction with over the counter medication. If this fails, see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

The Symptoms of Heartburn

If you find that medication is not working when treating your heartburn there are somenatural heartburn remedies that you can try in an effort to relieve the symptoms. Oftentimes these remedies are effective at providing temporary relief if used just before eating a big meal. The key with any natural heartburn remedies is to take the time to try a few out to see what works best. Since there are so many different options out there you want to give yourself the best chance to get immediate relief.

Drink a lot of aloe vera juice. This juice will help to heal the esophagus and provide relief from the heartburn symptoms. If you drink a small glass of aloe vera juice just before eating a big meal you will be reducing the chance of feeling any effects of stomach acids that come into contact with your esophagus. It is important to purchase aloe vera juice that does not have any artificial elements in them. Artificial elements can reduce the effectiveness of the juice.

Eat a lot of marshmallows. It is believed that the marshmallow is effective in coating the lining of the esophagus. The coating will protect you from getting heartburn as your stomach acids will not be able to penetrate the lining of the esophagus. Be careful not to go overboard if using marshmallows as one of your heartburn remedies. Eat just one or two before a big meal. Any more than that and you are risking ruining your appetite!

Drink a half glass of apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Apple cider vinegar is know to aid in the digestion process. By drinking this right before you are going to eat you will be ensuring yourself that you will digest your food more quickly than normal. By digesting your food quickly there is less time for the stomach acids that cause heartburn to flare up and have a negative effect on your body.

Heartburn remedies that are natural can have a long lasting and positive effect on your body. Find out which one works best for you and use it to your advantage. Remember to experiment and try each one for a period of at least a few weeks. If you can get relief for your symptoms by using a heartburn remedy then you will be able to treat yourself without having to make a dreaded trip to the doctor’s office.

New Forms of Heartburn Relief

In an effort to get some heartburn relief there are a few things that you can do. If you are living with heartburn then you know just how painful and uncomfortable it can make you. The bad part is that finding relief is not always as easy as it sounds. In many cases, one thing will not cure you of heartburn. It is important to try combination of many different heartburn remedies until you find a combination that works for you. With this in mind, the combination that will help you get heartburn relief can consist of things such as lifestyle changes and over the counter or prescription medicines.

If you have always had heartburn then you may want to look into making some lifestyle changes. In short, you will need to exercise more in order to achieve a healthier body. Additionally, if you drink alcohol or smoke you may need to look into cutting back or quitting the habit altogether. Making these changes will help to relieve some of the symptoms almost immediately. When you are thinner and in better shape your body will digest food more quickly because you will have a higher metabolism. The less time your food sits in your stomach the less chance there is of getting heartburn. Also, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes have both been known to weaken the muscles around the bottom of the esophagus that keep stomach acid out. If you weaken these muscles by drinking or smoking you are inviting the acid into your esophagus to do damage. Breaking these habits will allow the muscles to become stronger thus keeping youheartburn free.

Heartburn relief can also be found in the form of medication. You can find over the counter medication at any pharmacy that will be effective in treating heartburn. Most of these over the counter medications work by eliminating how much acid the stomach produces when digesting food. Simply put, the less acid your stomach produces the less chance you will have of getting heartburn. If you find that over the counter medications are not giving you heartburn relief then you may want to consult your doctor. Your doctor will be able to prescribe you a stronger medication that will further aid in your quest for heartburn relief.

Try making a few of these lifestyle changes along with taking medication if you are looking for heartburn relief. Find a combination that works for you and stick with it until you are heartburn free.

The Causes of Heartburn and Indigestion

There are a lot many reasons behind the occurrence of the heartburn but some which are more prominent are described here which will surely help you to get escape from heartburn and its symptoms.

  • Additives containing caffeine:

Coffee, tea and many other drinks have caffeine in their composition and the caffeine present ion these drinks relaxes the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) due to which the contents of the stomach are refluxed back into the esophagus and heartburn is felt.

  • Chocolate:

Chocolate normally contains theobromine which is a naturally occurring compound in cocoa, tea and coffee plants and this compound is responsible for the relaxation of the LES and which ultimately results in heartburn.

  • Fried and fatty foods:

The foods which are fried or contain more fats are hard to digest and that’s why they remain in the stomach for longer time and due to them other food. This delay in the digestion of food and its presence in the stomach for longer time exert an increased pressure on the walls of the stomach and this elevated pressure in result exerts pressure on the weakened walls of the LES and this induces acid reflux which leads to heartburn.

  • Products of tomatoes:

The types of food which have more concentration of tomatoes in them like tomato sauce, salsa etc are also a cause of heartburn as they also relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

  • Alcohol:

Alcohol is the thing which when used in high quantity or regularly can cause heartburn as it increases the amount of the stomach acid released and more stomach acid is released in addition to which the lower esophageal sphincter muscles get weak by the use of alcohol and hence reflux of the stomach acid occur.

  • Tobacco:

Another cause of heartburn is the use of tobacco whether it is in the form of cigarette or used directly. As the smoke of the tobacco passes from the lungs into the blood stream the walls of the lower esophageal sphincter get weakened and hence results in heartburn.

  • Large consumption of food:

If we eat up to our mouth then this can cause heartburn as the stomach full of food exerts extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and due to which acid reflux and heartburn is felt. To avoid such condition it is always advisable to eat a little less then your hunger.

  • Fruits containing citric acid:

The citric acid present in citrus fruits and juices relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and quite evidently which results in heartburn.

  • Eating before going to bed:

Lying suddenly after having meal can cause reflux of stomach contents as the lower esophageal sphincter is pressed heard by lying and this result in the upward movement of the food.

  • Tight dressing:

The tight dressing which causes the fitting around the abdomen like fitting belts or undergarments used to get a slenderized shape exerts pressure on the stomach and squeeze it which in return push the stomach contents upward and hence heartburn is caused.

Chocolate and Heartburn

HEARTBURN TRIGGER – CHOCOLATE

TO PUT IT SIMPLY….
Chocolate causes the muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach to relax. This allows for stomach acid to flow back up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn.

I WANT A BIT MORE DETAIL…
How can something so good be (for some people) so bad?
Sorry to say folks but, for those that are susceptible, chocolate can mean a one-way ticket to Heartburn town.
There is a naturally occurring compound within chocolate called Theobromine. Theobromine causes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle to relax, leaving the doorway open for stomach acid to reflux back up into the oesophagus. Unfortunately, some people are highly sensitive to theobromine, and so even the smallest amounts can trigger heartburn.

The level of theobromine differs dependent on the type of chocolate. As a guide, dark chocolate usually has higher theobromine levels (roughly 10g per kg).
Milk chocolate on the other hand has significantly lower theobromine levels (anywhere from 1g to 5g per kg). The higher the quality of chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine.

SO, NO MORE CHOCOLATE THEN?…
Research studies from the University of Michigan and University of Minnesota have suggested that the serotonin levels in the gut may provide an answer to chocolate heartburn. The studies pointed to the increased serotonin levels in the intestines, stimulated by the consumption of chocolate. The studies looked at a serotonin-blocking drug (called Granisetron), with results indicating that it was effective at decreasing the number of reflux events.
Before you get too excited though, it does not appear as though the use of Granisetron in the treatment of chocolate heartburn has progressed any further.
Given that Granisetron is commonly used for nausea, perhaps there were other factors that detracted from its use in relation to heartburn.

Did you know that Tomatoes can cause Heartburn?

TO PUT IT SIMPLY….
Tomatoes cause the body to produce too much acid in the stomach. The excessive amount of acid can reflux into the oesophagus resulting in heartburn.

I WANT A BIT MORE DETAIL…
Who would have thought that the innocent little tomato could cause so much grief? And yet for people who have heartburn triggered by tomatoes, the little tomato can turn a small meal into a night of pain and sleeplessness.

At the heart of the issue is acid content. Tomatoes have two acids – malic and citrus. Not surprisingly then, tomatoes have a high acid content. Both kinds of acids contained in tomatoes are heartburn triggers. For those sensitive to tomatoes, when the acids from tomatoes are consumed, the body responds by producing extra amounts of gastric acid. The excess amount of gastric acid in the stomach results in acid refluxing back into the oesophagus, and pain of heartburn is the subsequent result.

SO, NO TOMATOES FOR YOU?…..
Depending on the sources that you read, there seem to be 2 popular suggestions to counter the acid content in tomato-products, mainly in relation to tomato sauces.
The first suggestion is the use of Baking soda. Apparently adding anywhere from 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of baking soda to your tomato sauce can neutralise the acidity from the tomatoes.
The second suggestion is to use a pinch of sugar to achieve a similar result.
Tread carefully with these solutions, as whilst some will swear by them, there have been no clinical tests to prove them as heartburn remedies.

Do Fried Food Cause Acid Reflux or Heartburn?

TO PUT IT SIMPLY….
Fried foods take longer to digest. The muscle between the stomach and oesophagus relaxes as a result of the excess stomach content, allowing stomach acid to reflux and causing heartburn.

I WANT A BIT MORE DETAIL…
While no one will argue that fried foods should be consumed in moderation, unfortunately for some a tasty cheeseburger or a serving of hot chips can mean a ride on the heartburn pain train.
But what is the cause of this injustice?

Whether it’s a piece of chicken or a fillet of fish, fried foods are all cooked in fats and oils. It is these fats and oils that are the root cause of the heartburn problems. Fats and oils are difficult for the body to digest, and so as a result fried foods are held in the stomach for a longer period of time. The high level of stomach content causes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, creating an opening for stomach acid to pass back into the oesophagus.
An additional factor is the amount of food consumed. Some people, knowing that they are eating foods that aren’t good for them, might decide to binge on fried foods. Excessive amounts of food causes pressure on the stomach, which also results in the LES relaxing. Acid can reflux back into the oesophagus as a result, causing heartburn.

SO, NO MORE FRIED GOODNESS?….
Unfortunately there is no magic bullet if fried foods are a heartburn trigger for you. If you want to run the gauntlet, try and ensure that any fried foods you consumer are drained well. Obviously being mindful of how much you are eating is also advisable.

Does Garlic Help Cure Heartburn?

TO PUT IT SIMPLY….
There is no simple answer to this question. The jury remains out on whether Garlic is an effective heartburn treatment or another one to add to the “triggers” list.

I WANT A BIT MORE DETAIL…
When it comes to natural home remedies, Garlic is a sure fire inclusions on most lists when it comes to herbal health properties. Whether it is to boost the body’s immune system, or to reduce the cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease, the effectiveness of garlic as a herbal remedy is promoted across the world. But is garlic an effective remedy for heartburn?

You will be quick to find many supporters of Garlic as an effective heartburn treatment, with the popular home remedy suggesting that, heartburn occurs, chewing a clove of raw garlic is the best method for getting rid of the pain. How on earth could that work, you ask? Raw garlic is described as a natural antibiotic, and so when chewed, the garlic kills the microbes that are the common cause of digestive disorders (such as gastritis), relieving pressure on the stomach and alleviating heartburn.

Unfortunately for heartburn sufferers, the story is not quite as straight forward as this.
Many equally cite the downsides of garlic, noting that for those that are sensitive to it, garlic can actually one of the heartburn causes in people. The University of Maryland Medical Center and the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine both highlight that side effects of garlic may include an upset stomach, flatulence or gastrointestinal issues. This information suggests that, in instances where people try utilise garlic as a remedy, they may actually make their heartburn even worse.

Ultimately, it would appear as though the use of garlic as remedy or the avoidance of it as a trigger is largely dependent on the individual and how their body responds to it as a natural alternative.

Can Alcohol give you Heartburn?

To put it simply…..

Alcohol affects the regular behaviour of the muscles in the digestive process and also stimulates the production of stomach acid. The result is a cocktail for heartburn.

I want a bit more detail…..

So you’ve been looking forward to this special dinner for weeks, you’ve had a tough week and you’re in desperate need of some time to wind down. You’ve just taken your seat and the waiter casually asks, “Can I get you anything to drink?” Surely a little glass of wine couldn’t hurt?
Or is it the big game. The hype has been building all week and all of your friends are meeting up to watch the action on the big screen. You are only minutes from kick-off when one of the guys pipes up, “My round. Who wants a beer?”

There are some many similar situations where a social drink may seem like a great idea at the time, but for heartburn sufferers ends in a night of seemingly endless pain and zero sleep.

But why, you ask?

Heartburn pain occurs when acid from the stomach moves back up from the stomach into the oesophagus. The impact of the acid on the fine lining of oesophagus results in a burning pain in the lower chest that can work its way up towards the throat.

When alcohol is consumed, it can lead to heartburn in a number of different ways.

The flow of food from the mouth, through the oesophagus, to the stomach is regulated by a muscle between the oesophagus and stomach called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). This muscle ensures that food travels into the stomach and doesn’t come back the other way.

Alcohol causes the LES to relax, impacting the ability for this muscle to play its role in regulating the one-way flow of food content into the stomach. As a result, it is easier for stomach acid to reflux back into the oesophagus.

To make matters even worse, the body also responds to the consumption of alcohol by producing excess stomach acid. This increases the chance of heartburn symptoms even further.

The triple-threat of alcohol is completed with its impact on the swallowing contractions within the body. When alcohol is consumed, the progressive contractions which naturally occur as a part of swallowing become erratic. This allows acid to back into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn pain.

So does that mean I have to give up the drink for good?

As with all causes of heartburn, the effect of any specific trigger differs from individual to individual.
If you suspect alcohol may be a heartburn trigger for you, but still want to try and enjoy a drink, there are steps you can take to lessen the potential impact that alcohol might have on you:
•    Trying drinking white wine rather than red wine
•    Try cutting / watering down your drink
•    Drink in moderation
•    Ensure that you leave a gap between your last drink and lying down
Be mindful of what you drink and whether it is a trigger for your heartburn pain.