This is the first post in Digestive Health for the week. We will be discussing stomach problems all week so make sure to check back to learn more about symptoms you might be experiencing and how to correct them.
Millions of American adults experience heartburn symptoms. If you’re one of these people, read on to learn about how to tackle heartburn, what is causing the condition, and ways to prevent the symptoms.
Common reasons you might be struggling with acid reflux or heartburn include consuming a poor diet, not getting enough exercise, using certain medications, or being under a great deal of stress.
Heartburn Symptoms and Signs
The most common heartburn symptoms include:
Experiencing a burning feeling in the chest, following a meal
A sour taste in the mouth
Having a hard time sleeping or laying down due to pain
Gum irritation, including tenderness and bleeding
Pain or swelling in the throat
Bad breath due to slight regurgitation of acidic foods
Bloating, burping or passing gas after meals
While heartburn is very common, underlying reasons that someone might be experiencing heartburn symptoms can often have to do with a bigger issue: dysfunction within the digestive system, especially the gut. If poor gut health isn’t corrected — which may include leaky gut syndrome — this may cause other symptoms such as impaired immunity, nutrient deficiencies and low energy levels.
Despite what most people think, acid reflux symptoms is not a sign that you have high stomach acid production. In fact, it’s often the other way around. Many people with indigestion have too little stomach acid but eat foods that lead to acidity. To correct the problem, you want to naturally balance the pH level of your stomach, leading to a more alkaline environment and not a more acidic one.
I don't want to be the bearer of bad news... but different things cause heartburn to be triggered in different people. Everyone's culprits are different so it can take some trial and error to determine what’s causing your specific symptoms. We can assume there are known foods and lifestyle habits that trigger heartburn.
A poor diet. (processed foods, high-sodium foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, sugar and refined grains are at the biggest culprits).
Nutrient deficiencies, including magnesium deficiency or low potassium levels
Eating large meals rather than several smaller meals throughout the day
Food allergies or sensitivities
A sedentary lifestyle
Being overweight or obese
High levels of stress
Taking certain medications. (antibiotics, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, some blood pressure prescriptions and aspirin)
Overtraining (too much exercise with not enough rest or recovery).
Older age. (due to natural changes in acid and saliva production)
A history of hiatal hernias.
Coming from a Nursing background, I have seen many doctors recommend taking over-the-counter antacid medications for occasional heartburn to help alleviate symptoms. And while I will never advise you not to listen to your doctor, I encourage you to know the side effects of taking these medications, be educated on how the medication works, and know if it will solve the problem.
Medication to treat any symptoms due to poor digestion won’t solve the problem. Heartburn symptoms will keep coming back unless you make healthy lifestyle changes.
4 Ways to Treat Heartburn Symptoms
1. Avoid Trigger Foods
Processed foods! (too much salt, sugar, refined oils and synthetic additives)
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks
Carbonated beverages, sugary drinks or energy drinks
Too much added sugar and artificial sweeteners
Fried foods and vegetable oils
Sometimes acid foods like citrus fruits, garlic, onions and tomatoes
2. Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Regular exercise (20-30 minutes per day) can help you manage your weight, reduce inflammation, help you manage stress and improve sleep.
3. Avoid Smoking and Too Much Alcohol or Caffeine
Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for heartburn, not to mention leading cause of various other diseases. Drinking too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes increases acid, raises inflammation and impacts digestion.
And while we all love our coffee, you want to limit the amount of caffeine we are consuming if you are having digestion troubles.
4. Change Your Sleeping Position If You Suffer at Night
Getting just the right amount of sleep might help relieve some of your symptoms. Sleeping and recovery helps regulate hormones and enzymes linked to digestion, balancing hormones, and allowing the body to better handle stress.
Want to learn more?
For many people, improved eating and lifestyle habits can seem impossible to sustain, especially when progress feels non-existent. I like to say: Progress is always happening, you just have to know what to look for.
That’s why I work closely with my clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.
Interested in Carbon Elevation Coaching? Sign up for a complimentary consultation.
If you’re ready to transform your body, and improve your health, this is your chance.
If you are having persistent and recurring symptoms, you should consult your provider and this advice is not meant to replace recommendations from your provider. If your symptoms keep coming back week after week despite changing your diet and other habits, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor.