Digestive or stomach acid causes the pain or discomfort you experience from heartburn. Its symptoms include a burning sensation in the upper abdomen as well as a sour taste in the mouth.
Left untreated, heartburn can create more serious issues like inflammation, narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory issues, chronic cough and maybe even cancer.
What increases your chances of getting heartburn?
Some risk factors include eating spicy food, onions, citrus products, tomato-based foods or products, fatty or fried foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeinated beverages, peppermint, chocolate and large meals.
You are also at greater risk for heartburn if you are overweight or pregnant.
These foods and conditions often cause or influence the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and the precipitation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), associated closely with heartburn.
With GERD, digestive acid frequently backflows into the esophagus, causing irritation to the tube. One of the foremost options for heartburn first aid is avoiding these foods.
What can be done to ease heartburn?
One such way to alleviate heartburn has already been covered in the previous section (avoiding risk factors). Other heartburn first aid methods include the following:
- Eating smaller meals
- Avoiding bending over especially right after eating
- Waiting around three hours before lying down
- Elevating head of the bed by eight inches
- Lying on the left side instead of the right
- Losing excess weight
- Alleviating stress with relaxation practices
- Wearing loose clothing
- Drinking ginger tea
Heartburn and your sleeping position
Heartburn, as indicated above, is soothed by improving your sleeping position. Apart from elevating your head to allow gravity to keep your stomach’s contents from being able to travel back to your esophagus, lying down on the left side has been shown to be more beneficial for those suffering from heartburn. This has been seen to be most beneficial if you are a side sleeper.