Heartburn...or something more?

Published: November 19, 2021

Got Heartburn? Relief is on the way!

Food is an important part of any celebration, regardless of culture or religion. However, food is not supposed to make us feel bad. We hear about heartburn and acid reflux on television ads but what is it and how can you curb the symptoms? And, when should you take it seriously so it doesn’t become a chronic condition.

What exactly is heartburn?

Heartburn is a commonly used term to describe symptoms when stomach acid comes up into your esophagus (throat/swallowing tube), creating a burning feeling in your chest. When you eat, it causes a surge in stomach acid production, which is a natural way to help digest the food.

Yet, eating too much or laying down too soon after eating can cause your stomach acid to come up from your stomach and into the esophagus. Greasy and spicy foods, carbonated beverages and alcohol can also trigger it or make your symptoms worse.

How to prevent acid reflux and alleviate heartburn symptoms??

If this only happens once in a while, then an over-the-counter remedy, such as Tums, can neutralize stomach acid. If you are concerned about heartburn, try the following: 

  • Keep a food journal to identify key triggers of your symptoms
  • Limit alcohol and carbonated drinks as they may irritate your stomach
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes that won’t put pressure on your abdomen
  • Don’t lay down (or go to bed) within two hours of eating
  • Make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress
  • Be alert taking aspirin or anti-inflammatories such as naproxen, ibuprofen on an empty stomach, as it can eat away the protective lining of your stomach 

But if heartburn happens often, ask your doctor about possible causes and treatments. 

How do I know if it is something worse?

Heartburn caused by acid reflux is different from having a heart attack, which often involves sudden, crushing chest pain and difficulty breathing, brought on by exertion. If you experience symptoms such as tightness in your neck or chest or have any shortness of breath, call your doctor or 911.

If you are unsure and can’t reach your doctor, use our 24-hour telehealth services:

  • Nurse24 to talk directly with a nurse at 877.793.3655
  • Teladoc can be reached at 800.835.2362. You can usually talk to a doctor within 15 minutes. Consider creating an account ahead of time here, so it is available if/when you need help anywhere, at any time.

 

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