Have you ever had one of those days? A great day with friends, a terrific meal, a few drinks, then heartburn. You may be aware of some obvious reasons, but there are some things you may not know that can help you deal with it:
Definition: Heartburn, acid indigestion or acid reflux is an irritation of the esophagus caused by acid that flows up from the stomach.
Causes: Causes of heartburn include overeating, drinking carbonated beverages, alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy foods and sauces, eating processed foods, wearing tight clothing, being overweight, smoking, lying down after eating, pregnancy, stress, and insufficient stomach acid.
Consequences: Heartburn is fairly common, but chronic excessive heartburn can cause serious problems such as gastritis, stomach ulcers and esophageal cancer. Chronic heartburn flares up when partially digested food, hydrochloric acid and enzymes from the stomach return to the esophagus.
Solutions: When you eat and how much you eat can trigger heartburn, so changing your habits can provide relief. Eat smaller meals and make sure you eat three to four hours before going to bed.
Stick to grilled or steamed foods, as grease can trigger heartburn. Choose lean cuts of meat and load up with veggies, but avoid tomatoes and ketchup, as they’re acidic.
And of course, relax. A National heartburn Alliance survey revealed that 58% of frequent heartburn sufferers identify "hectic lifestyle" as a factor that contributes to their heartburn, and 52 percent pointed to work-related stress as an aggravator.