Friday, June 26, 2009

GERD and How to Prevent Heartburn

Heartburn affects several people each day. Recurring or incessant heartburn is a ubiquitous sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Other symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • sore throat
  • wheezing
  • chest pain (especially while you are lying down at night)
  • coughing
  • regurgitation of food or liquid.
  • sour taste in the mouth
  • hoarseness

With GERD, the acidic contents of the stomach run back into the esophagus, exasperating the esophagus’ feeble covering and consequently causing pain. If you are experiencing heartburn, consult your doctor at once in order for you to be evaluated because if GERD is not properly treated, it may lead to more serious problems, which include esophageal bleeding, esophagitis, ulcers, strictures, Barrett’s esophagus and even esophageal cancer.

To be able to cure heartburn or to prevent experiencing it, here are some measures to follow:

1. Avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that cause heartburn. These include

  • chocolate
  • peppermint
  • tomatoes
  • citrus fruits
  • spearmint
  • black pepper
  • raw onions
  • fatty foods
  • garlic
  • vinegar
  • spicy foods
  • carbonated beverages
  • coffee
  • alcoholic beverages
2. Avoid sleeping or lying down after eating. You should eat your last meal or snack at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed and it would be better if you eat foods in smaller parts/sizes.

3. Practice watchfulness while eating. Remove all the distractions and savor instead of swallowing your food. Focus on how your food smells like or what it looks like and how it tastes, then slowly chew it.

4. Reduce stress and change your lifestyle. According to several people who have experienced having heartburn, work-related stress is the chief factor that caused their heartburn to worsen. However, scientists haven’t yet established a connection between heartburn and stress.

5. Avoid cigarettes or products that contain nicotine. Your lower esophageal sphincter can be deteriorated by nicotine, preventing your acidic stomach’s contents from flowing to your esophagus.

6. Take deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL tablets. DGL usually comes in large tablets that you should melt into your mouth.

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