If you've ever suffered through painful, burning-in- your-chest bouts of heartburn, you're not alone. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, each month more than 60 million people in the United States do too. Below we asked some of our doctors and nutritionists their suggestions to help you find relief.
Heres what they had to say:
Rule Out Medications If you're taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if might irritate the lining of your stomach or esophagus. Chances are they could cause pain similar to heartburn or even contribute to acid reflux.
Don't Eat These Foods Ever enjoy a late night cheeseburger, only to have it bite you later? Try limiting fried and fatty foods, along with coffee, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, citrus and tomato products.
Eat Smaller Meals Large meals can cause intestinal discomfort, which may contribute to acid reflux.
Stay Upright After Meals As crazy as it sounds, gravity helps keep your digestive juices in your stomach, rather than allowing it to slip into your esophagus.
Sleep On An Incline This also allows gravity to keep your stomach contents where they belong. Heres two ways to accomplish this:
- Raise the head of your bed by 6 using cinderblocks or bricks under the bed's legs.
- Raise your torso a bit with a wedge-shaped pillow or cushion may ease nighttime heartburn. Don't just prop up your head with pillows. You need to raise your entire upper body to get relief.
Don't Eat Near Bedtime If you're eating late, give yourself 3 to 4 hours before going to bed. Why? That's about how much time it takes for food to clear the stomach. Plus, when you're lying in bed just after a meal, stomach acid could slip into your esophagus.
Don't Smoke It should go without saying that smoking is bad for your health. But, you may not know that studies have shown nicotine can relax your lower esophageal sphincter and interfere with your salivas ability to clear acid from the esophagus. Nicotine also lowers saliva production. Your saliva has a natural antacid in it that helps alkalize stomach acid both in the stomach and what might reflux back into the esophagus. It also helps wash refluxed acids back down into the stomach.