Pain in the solar plexus? You must go through this article to find out the cause, cure and prevention for the heartburn. What is a heartburn? It is an intense pain in the middle of your torso. This pain gets worse every time you bend or shift the position of your body. Heartburn is clinically known as pyrosis, cardialgia or acid ingestion. The symptom of this condition are burning sensation in the solar plexus of the body – the area behind the breastbone or in the epigastrium (upper abdominal region). The pain that originates in the thoracic cavity can propagate to the throat, neck and the angle of the jaws. If you experience heartburn occasionally, there is no reason to be alarmed. But, if your heartburn is reoccurring more frequently and meddling with your day to day activities, then it’s time you paid attention to it because it may be a sign of a serious condition. In next few lines of this article, you will find some of the home remedies for heartburn, please go through it for proper understanding.
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Heartburn is triggered by the acid reflux (regurgitation of stomach acids). The acids with the partially digested food backtrack upwards to the tube that carries food from the oral cavity to the esophagus.
Your esophagus is a muscle system that coordinates its function such that when you swallow the food, the muscles at the bottom of the esophagus leading to the stomach will relax to allow the food to pass below into the acidic chamber of the stomach. Once the chunk of food has descended, the relaxed muscles tighten up to seal the orifice.
During the abnormal functioning of this muscle, it relaxes at an untimed interval where, rather than opening the muscles to allow the food pass below. It then allows the acids from below to flow back into the esophagus. Since, these acids are irritable and cause inflammation, they will irritate the walls of the food pathway. When you attempt to lay down or bend, the acid reflux worsens.
Here is a list of foods that can trigger the heartburn attack:
- Tomato (ketchup and other tomato products)
- Spicy food
- Citrus product
- Fried junk food
- Fatty meals
- Alcohol caffeinated and carbonated beverages
- The heartburn can also be witnessed during pregnancy and when you are overweight.
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Symptoms Of Heartburn
- Inflammation in the thoracic cavity (chest region) after a meal. It usually occurs in the night.
- The pain amplifies when you are bending or lying down.
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1. Baking Soda
Also called as Sodium Bicarbonate, it is an ideal item found in the kitchen to provide easy and quick relief from the irritation of heartburn. It is a natural antacid that works efficiently in minutes and relieving you from the discomfort.
Take a teaspoon of the baking soda and add it to a glass of warm water.
Add a small quantity of lemon juice to it and you are ready to seek relief in few moments.
How Does It Work?
Although baking soda is known for its household and cooking properties, it can also be used as an effective treatment for acid reflux. The main ingredient is sodium bicarbonate that acts as an antacid so that stomach acid is neutralized, and the symptoms of GERD are brought under control. It is well-known that pancreas in the human body produces sodium bicarbonate for neutralizing the acid. But an unhealthy lifestyle associated with smoking can make the body condition vulnerable for acid reflux.
Not Good, If:
You are allergic to sodium bicarbonate. The side effects might be nausea or bloating. Contact the doctor in case of these symptoms.
- Your body pH is more than the normal (alkalosis), and you should refrain from taking baking soda.
- You have a kidney problem called as Bartter syndrome ( as it can cause the sodium, chloride, and potassium levels to be out of balance).
- If you are an almond patron, you couldn’t be merrier to know that the almonds can bring relief against the heartburn.
- Eat up to 4 almonds after snacking up a meal. You can choose to eat them raw or roasted.
- It is known that every individual responds uniquely to the remedies. You can try experimenting till you know what suits you the most. If the symptoms don’t show any signs of receding, then you can consult a doctor.
How Does It Work?
- Raw almonds are rich in the alkaline substance, an excellent ingredient to balance the pH. The oils from the almonds are the critical ingredients that resolve the heartburn. To release the oil from the almonds you will have to chew the seeds till they are reduced to a fine paste. In comparison with all nuts, almonds can be described as the best one packed with beneficial ingredients and nutrients.
- A great source of folic acid, it also contains two fatty acids by name linoleic and linolenic acid which are responsible for reducing inflammation all over the body.
Not Good, If:
- Almonds are tree nuts. It can induce allergic attack in some individuals. If you are allergic to tree nuts do not take almonds.
- You are a diabetic. Sweet almond can lower blood sugar in some people. Look out for hypoglycemia (the same condition) and monitor the blood sugar carefully in case you have the same ailment.
- You are undergoing a surgery. Doctors advise against the use of sweet almonds at least two weeks before the scheduled date. They can decrease blood sugar and slow the nervous system.
Although, an extensive research regarding use of licorice is still pending, it is known to cure the heartburn. Many natural health experts promote the use of licorice to treat the heartburn. Although, eating excessive quantity of licorice can cause undesired consequences. Licorice in vast quantity can cause elevated blood pressure.
You can chew three sticks of licorice to draw the juice.
You can also take seven licorice sticks and a bowl of water.
You can put the licorice sticks in the water and boil them. After making them warm, strain the mixture and drink the juice.
How Does It Work?
- The medicinal properties of licorice come to the fore when applying for heartburn. Licorice juice soothes the mucous membranes of the stomach, lungs, throat and intestine and calms any membrane that need support. It is best suited for expectorant and it thins as well as loosens the phlegm (in respiratory tract) so that the mucus is expelled from the body.
- The glycyrrhetinic acid which is found in licorice can be described as the first drug for effective treatment of duodenal and gastric ulcers.
- Licorice enhances production of interferon, the immune system chemical that can easily fend off many viruses.
Not Good For, If:
- You are pregnant. Consumption of more than 250 grams a week can cause a premature delivery.
- You have a history of high blood pressure. Licorice can make your BP shoot to high levels.
- You have a heart problem. The medicinal root can make the body store excess water and you might suffer a congestive heart failure.
- You have a history of hormone-sensitive conditions such as uterine cancer, uterine fibroids and breast cancer. Licorice acts similar to the hormone estrogen in the body.
- You have a nerve problem or hypertonia. Licorice can decrease potassium levels in the blood.
- You have an erectile dysfunction (ED) problem. The testosterone hormone levels will decrease further by the usage of licorice.
- You are to undergo surgery. Usage of licorice may make your blood pressure levels go haywire.
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Do not think twice if you have excruciating pain in the chest or any form of intense discomfort. Especially, if you witness associated symptoms like pain in the jaw, arms; difficulty in breathing. Sometimes, your chest pain could also mean heart attack. So be aware of the symptoms.
You can make changes to your habits and lifestyle to prevent your symptoms of heartburn. Here are some things to try:
Change the timing of your diet patterns.
It is advisable to eat small meals instead of two large meals and one breakfast.
After you have food, do not lie down. Late night snacks are a big no-no.
Mint, Chocolate, alcohol can make the situation worse. So refrain from having them. Having tobacco in any form is non-advisable. Having heartburn at night, raise the head of the bed to more than 6 inches by adding more pillows.
Spices in non-vegetarian diet can spruce up a lot of acids in the stomach. Do not eat food which can trigger acidity in the stomach. The other foods which can make a mark are coffee or caffeine, fatty foods, tomato sauce, citrus fruits as well as juices.
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- You have repeated heartburn in a short span of time
- You see persistent symptoms despite the use of over the counter meds
- You experience difficulty to swallow
- You have reoccurring nausea and vomiting episodes
- You experience weight loss and loss of appetite.
Tips For Drugs
- Do not take more than what is prescribed to you
- Follow the instructions carefully. Some meds are best taken before you have a meal, while the other are all right to be taken after a meal
- If you are regularly taking the medicine for other conditions, then you should consult the doctor or pharmacists whether they have the tendency to induce heartburn
- Heartburn can be eased by switching the meds and taking creams rather than pills for healing to take place
- Do not lay down immediately after taking meds
- Drink ginger tea for some relief
Natural Remedy Vs Pharmacy
- It is a routine to be recommended antacids as a traditional treatment method. It will cure minor heartburns without an incident. Your stomach acids will be quickly neutralized and relief will come quick.
- OTC meds will usually contain magnesium, aluminum and calcium as the critical ingredients in the meds. They may also contain hydroxide and bicarbonate ions.
- Typical form of antacids is chewable and dissolving tablets. They are also brands that make them as gums and liquids.
Some examples of H2 blockers for over-the-counter are Axid AR, Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC and Zantac 75. The name of antacids are Milk of Magnesia, Alternagel and Pepto-Bismol.
Some common OTC antacids include:
Some famous H2 blockers are:
- Nizatidine (Axid, Axid AR)
- Ranitidine (Tritec, Wal-Zan, Zantac 25, Zantac 75, Zantac 150)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
- Famotidine (Calmicid, Fluxid, Pepcid AC)
Protein Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
- These are powerful acid regulators. They are used in the treatment of GERD as they are most effective in combating more serious cases of heartburns.
- Usually PPI’s are available as prescription drugs. But, they are also available as OTC’s. Some PPI’s available at the local OTC are:
- Omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR)
- Omeprazole (Losec, Omesec, Prilosec OTC)