When you eat, your stomach produces digestive acids. As you would probably imagine, these acids are meant to stay in your stomach. However, they can seep out and the result is what is commonly referred to as heartburn. This occurs when the acids back up into the esophagus or the throat. Being overweight, smoking, and eating certain foods can lead to heartburn. Here are some more facts about heartburn that you may not know about.
A common cause for many people’s heartburn is due to a hiatal hernia. The hiatus is the opening of the diaphragm. If the diaphragm is weakened, the portion of the stomach that is connected to the esophagus moves up into the chest area, causing sets of problems. A lesser known cause, but a very common one for heartburn, is secondhand smoke. Inhaling tobacco smoke can cause the esophagus to relax and acid to leak into it.
The way in which you sleep can also affect heartburn. Research shows that flipping from the right side to the left side when sleeping, decreases heartburn symptoms. By moving the head of your bed up, you can experience a greater sense of relief. Even just six inches helps to elevate the head and let any acid flow through the body and not get lodged in the chest.
Heartburn can cause chest pain just like a heart attack. In fact, many people who experience severe heartburn often compare it to having a heart attack, as the symptoms are very similar. Something as simple as loosening your belt and not wearing clothing that restricts, particularly in the chest, is a good idea to prevent heartburn, too. Usually, fabrics that constrain the belly make the stomach acid seep up into the esophagus, and cause discomfort. The usual culprits are tight belts and pantyhose.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.