如何對抗胃灼熱?

A burning sensation in the center of your chest - this feeling is terrible! Unfortunately, heartburn (also called acid indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux) is also common. Want to feel better? Here are some steps to take now and ways to prevent something like this from happening again.

What causes heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when acidic digestive juices from the stomach splash into the esophagus (the passage between the throat and stomach). Your stomach has a special lining that protects it from these acids, but your esophagus does not. This may cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest and may result in a sour taste in the mouth.

In some people, this happens because the valve between the esophagus and stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, doesn't work properly. Typically, valve seals close after opening. But it may become loose and not close tightly, allowing gastric juices to escape the stomach and seep into the esophagus.

Are some people more prone to heartburn?

Yes. There are a few things that can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. These include being overweight or obese, smoking, and pregnancy (due to hormonal changes). Having a hiatal hernia also puts you at greater risk for heartburn. Some medications can also increase your prevalence, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, some asthma medications, calcium channel blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants.

What foods make heartburn worse?

Some foods and drinks can trigger the formation of more acidic juices. These include caffeine and carbonated drinks, alcohol, spicy or greasy foods, chocolate, mint, tomatoes and tomato products, and citrus fruits.

What can I do to prevent heartburn?

If you are experiencing heartburn symptoms, you can try the following:

  • Avoid overeating. Instead, eat small, frequent meals (every 2-3 hours). An overly full abdomen causes the sphincter muscles to become more relaxed.
  • Take a walk after dinner. This may help keep gastric juices in the stomach where they belong.
  • Don't eat dinner before bed (or take a nap after lunch). When sleeping, try to hold your head up. Let gravity help prevent gastric juices from splashing out.

Can I take medicine for heartburn?

Yes. Antacids and other medications may help relieve your symptoms. But some medications may interact with other medications you are taking, so check with your doctor first.

Is heartburn dangerous?

unnecessary. While the occasional bout of common heartburn can be painful, it's not harmful. But if heartburn persists, it could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can lead to more serious problems if left untreated. Therefore, consult your doctor who can perform tests to check for damage.

Also, keep in mind that heartburn can be a symptom of other problems, including stomach ulcers or even a heart attack.

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