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Is Poor Digestive Health Causing You Heartburn?

Digestive Health > > Is Poor Digestive Health Causing You Heartburn?

The thought of heartburn alone is enough to make your eyes water. That painful, burning sensation is uncomfortable and can be heart to get rid of. It seems to come on at the most inconvenient times and rarely goes away when it is willed to. Acid reflux is one common cause of that sensation known as heartburn, but abnormalities in the esophagus can cause heartburn too. If your heartburn does not respond to traditional prevention and treatment methods, ask your doctor to investigate more serious causes of heartburn.

When heartburn is caused by acid reflux, acid from the stomach is pushed up into your esophagus making your chest feel like it is burning up with fire. Sometimes this is caused by eating too much food, too fast. If you have heartburn often for extended periods of time, don’t let this problem go on too long without consulting a physician because it could be an indication of a more serious health issue.

If you have heartburn often, take measures to determine the cause. Does it happen after you eat certain foods or certain amounts of food at a specific time of day? Create a heartburn journal and note the foods you eat throughout the day, the amounts of food you eat and the severity of your heartburn on a scale of one to 10 at least three times per day and during the night if that is when heartburn bothers you most.

Some foods are more likely to be the cause of your discomfort than others. Consider these likely culprits:

  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Chocolate: This sweet treat contains theobromine which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle which is normally sealed tight to prevent acids from leaking up into the esophagus.
  • Foods high in fat: These are harder to digest so they stay in your stomach for a long time and can lead to heartburn.
  • Alcohol: This can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and let reflux come rushing in from the stomach to the esophagus. Stomach acid is sometimes increased by alcohol consumption.
  • Other products than can lower the esophageal sphincter are tobacco, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices.
  • Overeating is a common cause of heartburn because it puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and can increase the chance of stomach acids leaking back through it and into the esophagus. People who are overweight can suffer an higher incidence of heartburn because of the pressure put on their digestive systems. When you eat, chew food slowly and stop eating before you get over full.

If heartburn is a problem for you at night, try to eat dinner earlier in the evening and reduce the extra pressure that lying in a horizontal position can place on your lower esophageal sphincter. Some people find that raising the head of their bed helps by encouraging digestive juices to run down hill.

If you wear clothes that fit too tight, try loosening or lightening up. Those clothes put pressure on your body and can actually squeeze your stomach to the point of forcing food against the lower esophageal sphincter.

Digestive Health > > Is Poor Digestive Health Causing You Heartburn?