Heartburn specifically affects the esophagus and the stomach. The esophagus is a tube that delivers food into the stomach. It has a valve that opens and closes, allowing food into the stomach, while keeping it down during digestion. This valve can become overwhelmed by too much food or too much acid. This condition causes stomach acids to reflux or spill back up through the valve onto the esophagus, causing discomfort within the center of the chest.
Is There a Cure for Heartburn?
Well…yes and no. Yes, because it can be treated and relieved effectively, but also no, because researchers cannot find a root cause of heartburn and it can re-appear at any time. Heartburn treatments can range from medications, lifestyle changes and even stress management. Depending on the severity of your condition, heartburn can be curbed with as little as only a few behavioral modifications such as quitting smoking and eating better. If those options don’t work for you, you can try powerful heartburn medication treatments. (Under a physician’s supervision of course.)
Heartburn Medications vary in how they defend the body. With serious, recurring heartburn, a physician may recommend your medications to include histamine antagonists that suppress acid secretions triggered by histamine and gastrin. Your doctor might also prescribe you a proton pump inhibitor. The pump inhibitor is a newer compound designed to block the last step in acid production. Prokinetic agents make up another group that, unlike the first two, does not block or suppress acid production, but instead aims to increase the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, helping to push food through faster.
Is there a Heartburn Treatment?
In many cases, minor lifestyle changes can provide you with a great deal of relief from heartburn related symptoms. We mentioned some of these lifestyle changes earlier in the article, but here are a few more:
– Change your diet to reflect healthier eating habits
– Quit smoking
– Sit up after meals
– Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
– Specialized pillows
Exercise is highly effective in relieving heartburn symptoms because it aids in speeding digestion and stifles one of the peskiest acid reflux culprits–being overweight. Also be sure to check out specialized pillows. These are pillows shaped into wedges that elevate your head higher than your stomach so acid stays where it should while you sleep.
Another popular heartburn treatment is natural herbal remedies found in health food stores. These herbal remedies consist of all-natural ingredients that relieve heartburn symptoms and tend to be milder than medical treatments. Prescription medications are the most aggressive heartburn treatments and are designed to provide relief for those who suffer from serious, chronic heartburn or acid reflux disease.
You may have to try more than one acid reflux or heartburn treatment in order to find one that’s effective for you. Remember to consult your physician on any medical concern, and always stay educated and proactive when it comes to your health.