Great resource on heartburn and acid reflux. Learn more about hearburn, it's cause, and heart burn symptoms.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Heart Burn

Heart Burn

Heartburn is a pretty common ailment that many of us suffer from at one time or another. However, chronic heartburn is not something to be taken lightly. It is good to know the what, how, and why regarding heartburn and its related problems.

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is not a disease; it is a digestive condition that can be corrected easily if attended to well in time. Acidic fumes or gases in the stomach reflux into the esophagus causing pain, a burning sensation or discomfort in the chest region. This is because there is some damage in the esophagus and when these gases come into contact with the sore area, it gives rise to the pain or discomfort. The discomfort experienced due to the reflux of the stomach’s acidic fumes or gases is called heartburn.

Heartburn can be triggered by acid reflux, G.E.R.D or indigestion. Chronic cases of heartburn can lead to inflammation of the esophagus; or ulcers, scarring or bleeding in the esophagus. Those who have these conditions are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

There are many remedies to control heartburn, among them drugs like antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. But these don’t really solve anything; they just mask the symptoms for a while. Antacids taken over a long time are not recommended.

Burping and belching help reduce the fume build-up, so a ginger-ale can go some distance in helping reduce discomfort. One really simple solution to get temporary relief is to chew gum. Definitely worth a try when the discomfort levels are high, chewing gum induces saliva by stimulating the salivary glands. The saliva helps in reducing the stomach’s acid by upto 50%. This in turn reduces the pressure leading to reflux, thereby affording some relief. If no chewing gum is available, just fill your mouth with saliva and swallow a few times till you can get to something a little more long lasting.

Heart Burn