Heartburn affects millions of Americans. It happens when acid from your stomach gets up into your esophagus. This causes a burning sensation that can be painful and nearly intolerable. Worse, it can cause esophageal cancer.
It’s best to talk to your doctor if you have heartburn, especially if it is frequent. There are also some steps you can take on your own to manage heartburn. Here are 10 tips.
Eat smaller meals.
Large meals can make your stomach overfull. This puts pressure on the muscle-like ring, or sphincter, between your stomach and esophagus. If the pressure from your stomach forces the sphincter open, acid can go into your esophagus and cause heartburn. Smaller meals are less likely to cause heartburn.
Eat dinner earlier.
Going to bed on a very full stomach can lead to heartburn. Instead, try eating dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. That gives your stomach more time to empty before you lie down to sleep.
Aim for a healthy weight.
Being overweight increases the pressure on the esophageal sphincter and increases the chances that you’ll experience heartburn. Strategies for weight loss include eating more vegetables, limiting sugary and fatty foods, taking smaller portions, and logging meals.
Wear looser clothing.
Tight-fitting clothing can put pressure on your waist and stomach, leading to pressure on the sphincter and heartburn.
Check your coffee.
Coffee is known for having a high acid content. Most of the acidity is from chlorogenic acid. Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee has a lower chlorogenic acid content than the average of national brands, including Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.
Lower caffeine intake.
Caffeine may be a trigger for heartburn in some people. Caffeinated coffee, black and green tea, and some soft drinks and energy drinks have caffeine. Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee is also available in decaf if you still want coffee but don’t want caffeine.
Sleep with your torso up.
Instead of lying flat on your bed, you may need to use a wedge-shaped cushion to keep your torso in an upright position while you sleep. That can help prevent acid from getting into your esophagus.
Check your diet.
Some experts suggest limiting acidic, spicy, or fatty foods, as well as alcohol. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppermint, fried foods, fatty meats, and chocolate are often seen as triggers for heartburn. Soft drinks and other carbonated beverages may also lead to heartburn.
Wait before exercising.
Before exercising, it can help to wait 2 to 3 hours after you eat. You may also need to keep the intensity lower to prevent heartburn if you are exercising too soon after eating or if you notice heartburn continuing to affect you during exercise.
Talk to your doctor.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether any of the medications that you may take are causing heartburn. Another thing to ask your doctor is about heartburn medications. Many types are available over the counter, such as proton pump inhibitors, H2-receptor antagonists, and antacids. Your doctor may also suggest a prescription medication.