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How You Can Take a Proactive Role in Controlling Your Heartburn

How You Can Take a Proactive Role in Controlling Your Heartburn

Do you feel pain and burning in your chest after meals? Perhaps you may even feel the acid coming up. While seeing a medical provider is recommended to rule out any underlying conditions, if you are diagnosed with heartburn, you should know that in many cases, management doesn’t require the use of medications. 

Our experts at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County in Orange County, California, explain the steps you can take to take a proactive role in controlling your heartburn. 

Diet plays an important role: keep a food diary of trigger foods 

The most common triggers for heartburn include alcohol, coffee, citric fruits, fried foods, and spicy foods. However, everyone is different, so the best way to find out what your triggers are is to keep a diary of what you eat and how you feel afterward. 

Avoid lying down after eating 

It’s easier for stomach acid to climb up the esophagus if you are lying down after eating. Putting pressure on your abdomen, such as by wearing tight clothes, can also increase your risk of getting heartburn after a meal. 

Lose the extra pounds 

Heartburn can happen to people of all sizes and ages, but if you store a lot of your weight around your abdomen, it could raise your risk of hiatal hernia. With a hiatal hernia, the upper part of the stomach pushes through the chest, allowing food and acid to go back through the esophagus. Medically supported weight loss can help reduce your heartburn as well. 

Quit smoking cigarettes 

Smoking cigarettes weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that opens, closes, and links the esophagus to the stomach, allowing stomach acid to escape. 

Get help for your heartburn 

Heartburn causes are complex. Sometimes it is a combination of diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Sometimes it’s a temporary occurrence, such as for pregnant women. Other times, it could be caused by anxiety and stress.

Whatever the cause, heartburn can be more than just a nuisance. Left untreated, it can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD, lead to damage causing Barrett’s esophagus, and increase your risk of certain cancers. 

If lifestyle modifications like avoiding trigger foods, not lying down after eating, and reducing tight clothing don’t help, antacids and proton pump inhibitors can reduce your stomach acid while a fundoplication can help your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) work better.  


If you’d like to get more answers about your symptoms, contact us to schedule an appointment.

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