Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week or continues should be assessed by your doctor. You may be suffering from acid reflux. The lower esophageal sphincter is the muscle at the upper entrance to your stomach, which prevents stomach acids from making their way back up into the esophagus. If the muscle becomes damaged or stretched, painful symptoms can result. You may need prescription medications or other interventions to address acid reflux. If you suffer from occasional heartburn, there are some tricks you can try to stave off the burning and get back to your normal activities.
Sleep Position Matters
Sleeping on your left side has been shown to reduce nighttime heartburn symptoms. This position seems to direct stomach acids down and away from the esophagus. For persistent heartburn, try sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated, to help keep acids down where they belong. Be sure to get enough sleep. A lack of sleep is hard on your body in many ways and may contribute to symptoms.
How Eating Habits Contribute To Heartburn
If you suffer from frequent or severe heartburn, your eating habits may be contributing to your symptoms. Avoid alcohol, greasy, heavy, and spicy foods, and stimulants such as chocolate and coffee. Ironically, peppermint, often recommended as a remedy for upset stomachs, can aggravate heartburn. Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes and sauce. Try breaking up your food intake over the course of the day, eating several smaller meals rather than one large one, and limit your intake of spices, citrus, and acidic foods, and fatty or heavy foods.
Lose Weight and Stop Smoking
Even a small to moderate weight loss can make a strong impact on your heartburn symptoms. If you find it difficult to lose weight, talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise program that may help. Everyone’s metabolism is different, and you may need professional support to find the fitness routine that’s best for you. Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, so talk to your doctor about smoking cessation options.