Heartburn is a burning sensation that occurs in the chest. It’s usually felt behind the breastbone and near the heart. It can be mild or severe and last for several weeks or just a few minutes. Most people will experience heartburn at least once in their lives, but some will suffer from it on a regular basis. Heartburn isn’t considered serious and can be treated with over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes. Here are some tips for heartburn prevention:
1. Weight loss
Many people who suffer from chronic heartburn are overweight. When you eat, the added weight on your body can push against your other organs and cause pressure in the chest. This leads to heartburn. Weight loss can help make digestion easier and relieve heartburn pain.
2. Don’t eat late
Most people live a busy life and eat when they can. That leaves some eating very late at night and right before bed. When you eat less than four hours before bedtime or lie down right after eating, your body struggles to digest food properly. The stomach acids that help break down food so it can be digested go back up the esophagus, causing heartburn. Try not to lie down right after eating. Stay upright for as long as possible and move around to help digestion and prevent heartburn.
3. Eat smaller meals
Eating too much at one time can cause acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acids come up into the esophagus. This is one of the common causes of heartburn. If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, it may be because you are eating large meals too often. Try eating smaller meals if possible. This will give your stomach a chance to digest the food before more is added on top of it.
4. Elevate your pillow
When your body is elevated, it helps prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus and causing heartburn. Try adding an extra pillow under your head or sit with your back against a pillow. This can also help treat heartburn if you are suffering from it. It can help to lie down elevated for a few minutes before removing the pillows to lie flat to go to sleep. This is a good sleeping position for anyone who suffers from GERD as well.
5. Foods to avoid
There are certain foods that are more likely to cause heartburn than others. Spicy foods and foods that are acidic are harder to digest and can cause heartburn. Some people also suffer from heartburn if they eat specific foods. The foods that trigger heartburn can vary from person to person, and it can take some time to determine which foods are the causes of the problem. Avoiding these foods or limiting them in your diet can help reduce the severity and the frequency of your heartburn.
6. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
Cigarettes and alcohol can both weaken your esophagus and prevent it from closing when necessary to keep stomach acids where they belong. If you are suffering from recurrent heartburn, avoid smoking and drinking. If you choose to drink, try sipping water in between drinks and limit yourself to just a few beers or cocktails.