3 Tips and Tricks for Heartburn

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 MattersSleep heartburn

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

Eating habits may contribute to your symptoms if you suffer from frequent or severe heartburn. Avoid alcohol, heavy, 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 limiting your intake of spices, citrus, acidic foods, and fatty or heavy foods.

Lose Weight and Stop Smoking

Even a small to moderate weight loss can strongly impact 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.

A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery