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Heartburn сauses and how to relieve it: Doctor's advice

Heartburn сauses and how to relieve it: Doctor's advice Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Every once in a while, everyone experiences that burning sensation in the chest area, which could signal heartburn. Such a condition arises due to specific reasons, and it's essential to know how to alleviate the symptoms.

Causes of heartburn

Heartburn sometimes occurs after consuming particular foods or drinks and is related to the reflux of acid from the stomach to the throat.

If such incidents persist for a long time and occur frequently, a person may be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease - a condition in which stomach contents partially return to the esophagus and damage it.

The main symptoms of heartburn include:

  • Sensation of burning in the chest area
  • Unpleasant sour taste in the mouth, caused by stomach acid
  • Cough or hiccups, which often recur
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unpleasant odor from the mouth
  • Swelling and nausea

Symptoms often worsen after eating, when lying down, or when bending forward.

This unpleasant condition occasionally troubles many people, and the exact causes of its occurrence are unknown.

Heartburn can also occur as a result of other health problems, such as a stomach ulcer or a hiatal hernia - the displacement of part of the stomach into the chest cavity.

How to alleviate symptoms

To alleviate symptoms, it is advisable to follow these recommendations:

  • Eat smaller portions, but more frequently
  • If you are overweight, try to loose some weight
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Do not consume food that triggers symptoms
  • Do not eat 3-4 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid tight clothing around the waist
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Do not stop taking prescribed medications without consulting a doctor

Antacids, drugs that reduce the acidity of stomach contents, can alleviate heartburn symptoms. It is best to take them with or right after food.

But you must consult a doctor first.

Pediatrician Tetiana Kulikova explained that the main group of drugs for the treatment of regular heartburn is proton pump inhibitors. They reduce or gradually suppress the secretion of gastric juice.

Alternative methods

Mostly, alternative methods are not effective and can even be harmful.

However, for heartburn, some advice may indeed temporarily alleviate symptoms, such as drinking milk. It is essential to choose skim milk, as it acts as a temporary buffer between the stomach lining and acidic contents.

Also, ginger tea and water with honey and a small amount of lemon juice can be helpful. This may provide temporary relief, but it is not a treatment for the underlying cause.