Quick Remedies For Heartburn - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on July 23, 2013

Quick Remedies For Heartburn

If you’ve ever had heartburn, you know that it can sometimes be so painful, it might seem as though you’re having a heart attack. Yes, it can be that bad. But fortunately, there are ways you can immediately treat your heartburn and even reduce your chances of getting it again.

So what is it about heartburn that causes you to feel chest pain and other symptoms?

Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with your heart. Heartburn is the feeling you get when the muscles in your lower esophagus don’t function properly, which causes acids from the stomach to leak up into the esophagus. But heartburn isn’t only triggered by the foods you eat—certain medication, stress, and other factors can cause it as well.

Although chest pain is one of the more common and telling signs of heartburn, some of the other symptoms may not be as obvious. Heartburn can also cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat, a hot or salty tasting fluid at the back of the throat, trouble swallowing, chronic cough or sore throat, and feeling as though food is stuck in the middle of your chest or throat.

While most cases of heartburn don’t indicate anything serious, it can be a sign of gastroesophaegal reflux disease (GERD), which is a chronic acid reflux that can cause other complications, including – worst case – cancer. 

To treat the sudden onset of heartburn and reduce your chances of experiencing it again, try following these simple lifestyle changes:

To Treat Heartburn:

  • Drink water, milk or herbal tea to wash the acid back down into your stomach. If you have a cup of tea, opt for non-caffeinated teas that include licorice root, ginger, chamomile, meadowsweet, or lemon balm, which all aid in the soothing of your digestive tract. Avoid peppermint teas, which can further irritate heartburn.
  • Chew gum. Saliva helps neutralize the acid in your stomach. Avoid mint-flavored gum.
  • Take an antacid. Over-the-counter medications can help relieve heartburn.
  • Stand or sit upright. Gravity will help keep acid in your stomach, so try not to lie down after eating.

To Prevent Heartburn:

  • Change your eating habits. Eat slowly and enjoy small meals throughout the day to avoid overeating. Don’t go to bed with a full stomach and give yourself at least two to three hours to digest your food. Avoid fatty foods, acidic foods, and drinks that have caffeine, carbonation, or alcohol. Stick to foods that are safe for most who experience reflux.
  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing some extra pounds can help relieve heartburn symptoms.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine promotes heartburn since it weakens the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach, which allows the acid and food from your stomach to easily enter the esophagus.
  • Keep a food journal. Certain foods may trigger heartburn for some people but not others. Record what you eat and how you feel afterwards to identify which foods are safe for you.

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).

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