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What causes heartburn? Can I remedy it at home?

Woman at the park wondering what causes heartburn

Heartburn isn't the type of problem you can leave at home when convenient.

What causes heartburn? Can I remedy it at home?

By Dhanesh Misir on January 18, 2018

Understanding what causes heartburn is an important first step for anyone seeking to ease their symptoms

If you’re a sufferer who isn’t sure what causes heartburn, you’re definitely not alone. You’re also in no danger of being the only person suffering from heartburn symptoms, which can be as common as they are unpleasant. Few things can derail a nice evening like an unwanted burning in your chest, and in some cases, this burning isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

Luckily, if you get familiar with what causes heartburn and the ways you can combat its symptoms, you’ll be much better equipped to overcome this persistent – and frustrating – condition.  
 

Avoiding certain habits is one of the best heartburn remedies 

Heartburn doesn’t happen for no reason. Your lifestyle and diet can have a notable impact on your likelihood of experiencing symptoms, and continuing with certain habits can make the symptoms worse over time. We’re sometimes tempted to believe things will improve on their own, but when it comes to heartburn and acid reflux, you’ll need to make some changes if you want to feel better.  

Dr. Abbey, a certified MD and Expert on JustAnswer, offers her take on heartburn remedies and their link to the condition’s causes: “Certain foods and alcohol can increase relaxation of the muscle between the lower esophagus and the stomach, which leads to increased acid reflux/heartburn.”  

In response to a JustAnswer customer suffering from heartburn symptoms who recently increased their alcohol consumption, Dr. Abbey said: “The increased alcohol intake is likely contributing to your heartburn. Chocolate, caffeine, peppermint and fatty foods will also increase acid reflux, so avoid these foods.”  
 

Some heartburn symptoms may indicate another issue

Heartburn is unpleasant enough on its own, and can make you think twice before digging into your favorite meal or partaking in your preferred adult beverage. However, sometimes people experience symptoms that go beyond the scope of a typical bout with heartburn.  When a customer mentioned pain around the abdomen in addition to throat pain and nausea, Dr. Robert, a Medical Expert on JustAnswer, assessed their heartburn symptoms.  

“When you have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), the harsh stomach acid backs up through a defective valve at the top of the stomach," Robert says.  

Symptoms of heartburn include: 

  • Severe stomach pain, similar to an ulcer 
  • Bloating 
  • Gas 
  • Other gastrointestinal (GI) distress  

“This harsh acid enters the esophagus (“food tube”) and from there, it can go all the way up to the mouth, especially when you’re laying down during sleep. This produces a 'sour' taste in your mouth. It also mimics a heart attack because the food tube runs directly behind the heart and it confuses your body.”  

Even those of us familiar with what causes heartburn could be thrown off by some of these symptoms. It’s important to keep in mind that when your symptoms extend beyond what you’d believe to be a standard case of heartburn, you should seek out medical assistance right away. This is especially true if you notice the signs worsening as time goes by.
 

Using home remedies for heartburn relief

There is no shortage of over-the-counter remedies for excessive acid in your stomach, as antacids have been proven to help neutralize this acid buildup. Some of them even help coat the lining of your esophagus in order to relieve some symptoms. Of course, it is possible to overuse antacids, with complications including, but not limited to, constipation, electrolyte imbalance, and diarrhea.  

Over the counter drugs and prescription medication can help a great deal, but there are also steps you can take on your own to improve your condition. Aside from limiting certain foods and alcohol as discussed earlier, there are other measures that might help. While assisting someone afflicted with ongoing acid-related issues, Doctor Manju, a Health Expert on JustAnswer, offered some guidelines and home remedies for heartburn symptom relief. “A suitable diet must be strictly followed avoiding spicy, salty and acidic foods,” Doctor Manju says. Foods that match this description can worsen acidic feelings in the stomach, leading to increasing levels of discomfort.  

 “Eat healthy and (nutritious),” Dr. Manju goes on to say. “Make healthy dietary modifications, especially decreased intake of refined carbohydrates. Get regular but moderate exercise. Relieve stress through exercise and other relaxation techniques.” He then adds that a nutritious diet containing good amounts of iron, calcium and magnesium could also help relieve the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.  

If you’ve been suffering from heartburn and you’re searching for relief, you have a number of options at your disposal. Sometimes dietary measures or adjustments to your lifestyle will work, if you’re willing to make the necessary changes. If this doesn’t relieve your symptoms, and you’re already familiar with what causes heartburn, you can turn to the Experts on JustAnswer for the assistance you need.  
 

 Do you have experience with heartburn? Is your GERD acting up as we speak? Share your pain in the comments below!