Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is a burning pain in your chest, affecting many people. It occurs when the stomach acid rises up into to the oesophagus (food pipe) and throat where we don't have a protective lining, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
Heartburn usually occurs after eating a big meal or while lying down, which can last for a few minutes or a few hours. It can also result in sleepness nights due to the pain and discomfort.
Occasional heartburn is common, but if you get it frequently, it can lead to more serious conditions such as Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer. Also, if you have severe chest pain or pressure, it may be a symptom of a heart attack. In such cases, you should immediately see your doctor.
While medications can help ease heartburn, making some changes in your lifestyle can help avoid or relieve the symptoms:
- Lose weight if you are obese
- Try to eat at least 2-3 hours before lying down
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Avoid overeating
- Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn
- Avoid smoking, and if you do, quit it
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medications
- Cut back on alcohol as it can cause the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), which over time can damage the esophageal lining, to relax.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothing, which can put pressure on your abdomen
- In case of frequent heartburn at night, elevate the head of the bed (or use two or three pillows) to avoid acid reflux.