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Heartburn Prevention Tips

What Is Heartburn?

Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest that can move up your neck and throat. The pain is often worse after eating, in the evening, or when lying down or bending over. The uncomfortable burning feeling that is more frequent or interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs medical care. 

It’s not uncommon to experience occasional heartburn. However, you may have chronic acid reflux called GERD if you suffer from frequent and severe heartburn. You should seek medical attention if you frequently suffer from heartburn.

What Does Heartburn Feel Like?

Heartburn typically feels like a burning sensation behind your breastbone, in the center of your chest. Other symptoms of heartburn may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down
  • A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours
  • A hot, sour, acidic, or salty taste in the back of your throat
  • A burning feeling in your throat

What Can Trigger Heartburn?

The things you do daily can cause heartburn. Some people suffer from heartburn due to their eating habits and lifestyle. Eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime, or even being stressed can be considered these habits.

Certain foods and drinks can also trigger heartburn for some people including:

  • Citrus juices
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato-based products
  • Alcohol
  • Onions
  • Citrus fruits
  • High-fat foods

Heartburn can also be caused by lifestyle habits. Lifestyle habits play a significant role in heartburn-related illnesses. Among the lifestyle habits that may trigger heartburn are:

  • Having a high-stress level
  • Wearing tight clothes and belts
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker

How Is Heartburn Treated?

Prevention Tips

You can often prevent and manage heartburn by making changes to your lifestyle. These changes include:

  • Avoiding overeating
  • Not going to bed with a full stomach
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes
  • Eating slowly
  • Avoiding certain foods that might trigger heartburn 
  • Not smoking. Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. 
  • Sleeping on your left side helps with digestion and the removal of acid from your stomach and esophagus more quickly. 
  • Raising the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet.
  • Planning your exercise to avoid heartburn. Wait at least two hours after a meal before exercising. If you work out any sooner, you may trigger heartburn. You should also drink plenty of water before and during exercise.

Medications 

Over-the-counter medications for heartburn usually include acid blockers and antacids. If nonprescription treatments don’t work or you rely on them often, see your health care provider. You may need prescription medication and further testing.

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