The Heartburn Survival Guide: How to Beat This Common Digestive Disorder

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Pyrosis, or what’s more commonly known simply as heartburn, is a common digestive disorder that’s characterized by a hot burning sensation originating in the upper chest or stomach. According to Harvard Health, over one in three U.S. adults experience heartburn on a monthly basis, and roughly 10% of U.S. adults experience it on a daily basis. Whether you suffer more or fewer bouts of heartburn, though, you should take measures to control this digestive disorder. If left unchecked, heartburn can cause serious pain and discomfort while potentially damaging your esophagus in the process.


What Happens During a Heartburn Attack

Even if you’ve experienced heartburn before, you may not know how it affects your body. During a heartburn attack, stomach acid rises back up into the esophagus where it creates a burning sensation. Stomach acid plays a critical role in the digestion of foods. Consisting of hydrochloric acid, potassium chlorine an sodium chloride, it’s responsible for breaking down food so that it can pass more easily through the digestive system.

While stomach acid normally resides in the stomach, it can regurgitate into the esophagus — a condition known as heartburn. The esophagus is essentially a mucus-lined channel joining the throat to the stomach. As stomach acid makes its way into this channel, it creates pain and discomfort, which is typically felt in the upper chest or stomach.


The Dangers of Living With Heartburn

Because it’s such a common digestive disorder, many people simply brush off the symptoms of heartburn, believing it won’t cause any long-term harm to their health. While most people recover from heartburn without experiencing permanent or long-term complications, this isn’t true for everyone. In severe cases of chronic heartburn, permanent damage may occur to the esophagus.

The esophagus isn’t designed to contain stomach acid. As stomach acid continues to rise into esophagus, it will damage the esophagus’s mucus lining. This doesn’t happen immediately. Rather, it can take months or years of heartburn for such damage to occur. Once the esophagus becomes damaged from stomach acid, however, it can cause other unwanted symptoms to manifest, including pain when swallowing and increased stomach acid. To prevent these problems and maintain a healthy esophagus, you must take precautions to minimize your risk of heartburn.



Identify Triggers

To stop heartburn in its tracks, you should try to identify exactly what causes it. If you typically experience a heartburn attack after eating a specific food or drinking a specific beverage, it’s safe to assume the food or beverage is a trigger, in which case you should avoid eating or drinking it. Caffeinated beverages, especially coffee, are a common heartburn trigger. It’s believed that caffeine causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. As a result, stomach acid can pass through the lower esophageal sphincter with greater ease, allowing it to enter the esophagus and cause a heartburn attack.


Limit Consumption of Fried and Fatty Foods

Even if they are direct triggers of heartburn attacks, you should still limit the consumption of fried and fatty foods. Like caffeinated beverages, fried and fatty foods have been shown to relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Furthermore, it’s believed that fried and fatty foods stimulate the production of excess stomach acid. The combination of these two effects makes them particularly bad for heartburn sufferers.


Eat More Bananas

Not only are they are loaded in potassium, but bananas can protect against heartburn by coating your esophagus. They won’t prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus. Bananas may, however, reduce the severity of heartburn symptoms by creating a protective layer over your esophagus’s mucus lining. So, if you’ve been fighting a long and seemingly endless battle with heartburn, add more bananas to your diet. Eating just one or two bananas per day may help to prevent heartburn attacks or minimize the severity of attacks, all while providing your body with an excellent source of potassium and other essential nutrients.


Eat More Vegetables

How many servings of vegetables do you eat in a typical day? If you fall short of the recommended three daily servings, you should add more vegetables to your diet. Vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, are invaluable in protecting against heartburn. They are effective at combating heartburn because of their alkaline properties. When you consume lots of vegetables in your diet, the alkaline properties of these veggies will neutralize some of your stomach acid, thereby suppressing the symptoms of heartburn.

The problem is that most people consume few or no vegetables in their diet, leaving them at risk for heartburn. If you struggle to eat three servings of vegetables per day, try investing in a juicer. A juicer will allow you to create delicious beverages by pressing the nutrient-rich liquid out of your favorite vegetables (and fruits).


To learn more about Atlanta Chiro and Wellness’s chiropractic and integrative medicine services, contact us today.

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