TAMING YOUR HEARTBURN

A frequent heartburn is most times a sign of a medical condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease.(GERD).

GERD normally occurs with signs/symptoms such as heartburn/pyrosis which is made worse or triggered by bending over, lying down while facing downwards or eating a high fatty meal. Other symptoms include water brash/increased salivation, belching and regurgitation.

Many people do not regard it as a serious issue to take care of however it could lead to a cancer of the esophagus and so people suffering from it should consult a pharmacist or physician. Evidence exists of approaches that are helpful without taking drugs but give better results when they are undertaken with drugs. It is very important to use the approach you are most comfortable with.

Cigarette/Cigar smoking correlates with high percentage of discomfort and GERD and should therefore be most importantly avoided or at least reduced. Alcohol consumption also should be stopped to prevent getting frequent heartburn.

Eating habits will also contribute greatly to preventing heartburn (triggering GERD symptoms). Meals high in fat should be avoided as much as highly spiced foods are. Foods such as chocolate, garlic , caffeine containing (colas, coffee & tea) and carbonated beverages have also been reported to increase or trigger symptoms. So we could do with a bit of perseverance and keep away from these rather wonderful foods.

Eating light meals, avoiding lying down on your belly after food and avoiding tight fitting clothes are other ways of reducing pressure in the stomach and obviously reducing the symptoms of GERD/heartburn. It is also important to avoid meals within 3 hours to bedtime.

Nighttime symptoms may often awaken you. A technique that will help you to avoid these and as will improve your quality of life is raising the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches by putting blocks under your bed or using a foam wedge.

Symptoms may be relieved by taking antacids such as Maalox or Gaviscon whenever one gets the symptoms. Of course quintessentially you should talk to your pharmacist or physician to discuss a treatment regimen that ameliorates your problems.

It is also important to keep a record of whenever you feel the symptoms and the factors that trigger the symptoms.