Don’t Make These 6 Heartburn Mistakes
Heartburn symptoms affect nearly everyone at some point.
Even though a lot of people have heartburn, it isn’t a normal bodily function. To stay healthy, make sure you aren’t making these 6 heartburn mistakes.
1. Not seeing a doctor if you have chronic heartburn
Heartburn that happens occasionally will not likely cause long-term harm. However, when you have heartburn twice a week or more, you need to see a doctor. Untreated heartburn can lead to more serious conditions – even cancer. It becomes even more important if your heartburn requires over-the-counter medication to help you feel better.
If you have had chronic heartburn for years, you need to see a doctor immediately. They will likely need to perform an upper endoscopy (EGD) to look for damage to your esophagus that could lead to esophageal cancer.
2. Eating large meals
A frequent cause of heartburn is eating large meals. When your stomach is filled with too much food, it can put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Stomach acid will leak up into your esophagus when the LES is relaxed.
Stick to smaller meals to prevent heartburn from happening.
3. Laying down right after a meal
Right after you eat a meal, your stomach produces the most acid. If you lay down soon after a meal, that acid can leak into your esophagus.
By standing or sitting upright, gravity helps keep the acid in your stomach where it belongs.
4. Eating foods that cause heartburn
There are several foods (and drinks) that can cause heartburn. Common offenders include peppermint, garlic, onions, spicy foods, and chocolate. Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruit, along with greasy, fatty foods can also cause heartburn.
Drinks that contribute to heartburn include citrus juices, alcohol, coffee, and sodas.
Avoid foods and drinks that cause heartburn – there may be some that aren’t listed here that are heartburn triggers specifically for you.
5. Being overweight or obese
Being overweight or obese are risk factors for having frequent heartburn and developing gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). Losing excess weight can help you go back to normal risk for heartburn. In addition to reducing heartburn, there are lots of health benefits to losing weight if you’re overweight or obese.
Smoking can cause heartburn and leads to a variety of other health problems and cancers. If you are still smoking, quitting will be one of the best things you’ve ever done for your health.
A visit with a gastroenterologist will help you to stop experiencing frequent or chronic heartburn. Your doctor will first partner with you to determine the official diagnosis of GERD – usually through a physical exam and a discussion of your medical history. They may also recommend an upper endoscopy (EGD). Treatment options vary but may include prescription or over-the-counter proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2-blockers, lifestyle changes, and even surgery.
Don’t make these heartburn mistakes any longer – schedule an appointment today!