The signs of persistent heartburn should never be ignored or taken for granted. The occasional heartburn itself can be so disruptive and uncomfortable, what more these recurring symptoms? Persistent heartburn can already be a signal that something’s wrong in your digestive system that if not remedied at once can lead to bigger health problems.
The most common sign of heartburn is a burning pain that starts behind the breastbone which spreads through the chest and often reaches the throat. The symptom is the result of stomach acid backing up the esophagus and affecting the sensitive lining. Regular heartburn also has the following symptoms:
- Feeling of an upset stomach.
- Burping up the taste of food accompanied by a bitter or sour taste.
- Symptoms are worse when lying down or bending over.
These symptoms can be easily remedied by heartburn treatments bought over-the-counter like antacids. They can also be prevented by not lying down immediately after eating or eating your last meal 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Avoiding foods that trigger heartburn can also help greatly in avoiding acid reflux. Bending over after eating should also be avoided so as to prevent food and acids from going back up the esophagus.
The Signs of Persistent Heartburn
The signs of persistent heartburn are more troublesome than the symptoms of occasional heartburn, of course. Your heartburn is already persistent if you notice that you feel them several times per week or more and this could already be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. The symptoms of recurring heartburn include all the signs of heartburn but can result in narrowing of the esophagus, difficulty swallowing and esophageal strictures. An individual with persistent heartburn has a feeling that something is always stuck in his throat which cannot be dislodged.
Dealing with the Signs of Persistent Heartburn
The symptoms of heartburn, persistent or not, can be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated without the use of medication. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can stop the signs of recurrent heartburn. Here are some tips you may find helpful:
- If you are overweight, start losing weight.
- Avoid or minimize your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol makes the stomach distended longer and produce more acids that splash up the esophagus.
- Quit or minimize your smoking. Nicotine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that closes the esophagus and prevents food from going back up.
- Avoid large meals; instead, eat 5 – 6 small meals a day. The lesser food in your stomach, the lesser the acids required to digest it.
- Don’t eat within 2 or three hours before your bedtime. Give your last meal a chance to be digested. Lying down after eating will result to the food sitting in your stomach to go back up the esophagus, taking stomach acids with them.
A basic lifestyle change can drastically improve the signs of persistent heartburn and you will no longer require expensive medications or surgical operations to correct the problem. The aim of this lifestyle change is to prevent acids from entering the esophagus, allowing the esophageal lining to heal naturally. A healthier lifestyle can also lead to a number of benefits, not just to stop the signs of persistent heartburn – a healthier weight, independence from alcoholism and nicotine addiction and a big difference in your overall outlook in life.