Heartburn is technically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is a burning feeling in the neck, throat, or upper chest by irritation of stomach acid and occurs after eating which is also called acid indigestion. This is a common malady and not everyone needs drug therapy to manage the symptoms that occur.
Heartburn results from irritation brought about by stomach contents backing up into the esophagus. In extreme cases, GERD can lead to erosion of the esophagus when stomach acids burn a hole. Some medical conditions may also induce heartburn, such as obesity, hiatal hernia, diabetes, gastritis, and peptic ulcers. The main symptoms of heartburn are burning of the lower chest region, belching and stomach bloating.
Heartburn relief can be classified into:
Over the Counter Preparations
Over the counter preparations are meant for quick relief, prevention or for the relief of symptoms. For quick relief, some of the preparations include Tums, Mylanta and Maalox, while Tagamet and Zantac help to prevent and relief symptoms. These are mainly antacids, histamine receptor blockers and prokinetic agents Histamine Receptor Blockers (H2 blockers) decrease stomach acid production and are said to be effective against heartburn. H2 blockers also help in the healing of esophageal damage and these drugs are taken daily for several weeks. H2 blockers are Pepsid AC, Zantac and Tagamet.
Life style changes can also be used to avoid or prevent or avoid symptoms of GERD. These are self-care measures that provide relief and they include:
i. Elevating the head of your bed at least six inched
ii. Avoiding foods that promote acid reflux such as coffee, chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, citrus fruits, peppermint, tomatoes, whole milk, onions and carbonated beverages.
iii. Eating Measures:
a. Avoid lying down after eating
b. Not overeating and eating slowly
c. Avoid eating 3-4 hours before retiring to bed
d. Eating smaller food quantities and more frequently
iv. Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol
v. If you are obese, lose weight.
vi. Avoid tight-fitting garments
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors are a group of drugs prescribed by the physician. These work by blocking the pumping of stomach acid from cells where it is produced (Harvard Health Commentaries, 2006). Proton pump inhibitors include Prilosec, Protonix, Nexium, Prevacid and Aciphex.
Herbal Remedies and Homeopathic Remedies
There are also herbal and Homeopathic remedies that have been suggested to relieve heartburn. Common vegetables, flowers and fruits that are widely available are usually taken as home remedies for heartburn.
* Slippery cinnamon tea
* Marsh mallow
* Lillorice Ayurvedic
* Calcarea carbonica
* Nux vomica can be consumed after eating foods that are spicy
* Carbo vegetalis is also recommended after eating rich food
* Arsenicum album is suggested for burning pain
* Natrum muriaticum is also good for tension, nervousness, and pain
* Zinc metallicum right after eating food too fast
Heartburn solution is not always about taking antacid or any type of drug to lessen the pain because you can solve the problem just with the use of natural home remedies.