Preventing and Treating Heartburn: The Best Ways To Lower Your Risk

Preventing and Treating Heartburn: The Best Ways To Lower Your Risk


Heartburn is a painful condition that affects the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. It’s also known as acid indigestion or GERD. Heartburn happens when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus to cause pain, burning, and a sour taste in your throat. In addition to making it difficult to eat or sleep, heartburn can also lead to scarring of the lining of your esophagus from chronic acid exposure.

You may not be able to completely cure your heartburn but you can do a lot to lower your risk of getting it in the first place. Here are  some ways to lower your risk of heartburn .

What is heartburn?

Although there’s no single cause of heartburn, it’s usually associated with swallowing too much food at one time, especially if you’re consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time. Stomach acid is made of hydrochloric acid and hydrogen, which is why it is known as GER, the acid reflux disease.

Most people who suffer from heartburn will have other GERD symptoms as well, including:

Stomach pain, which could be just a little bit worse than normal

A sensation of something stuck in your throat

A sharp, burning sensation in the throat

A sour taste in your mouth

Heartburn symptoms differ from person to person and usually resolve in a few hours, if at all. Some heartburn sufferers may experience heartburn at least once a week while others may never experience heartburn.

Causes of heartburn

Causes of heartburn may include :Personality, age, over-consumption of alcohol, smoking, certain dietary habits, medications

Symptoms of heartburn

One of the most common symptoms of heartburn is burning or a sour taste in your mouth. Other symptoms may include:

A burning or stinging sensation in your chest

A sense of uneasiness

A tight feeling in your throat

A back pain or pain in your lower abdomen

A cough that may feel like a painful gag reflex

A feeling of indigestion

Heartburn can happen at any time and doesn’t always mean that you’re about to have a heart attack. However, it is important to know what to watch for so you can get treatment and limit the damage if you do. Symptoms are usually most prominent at night and in the early morning. However, you may experience them even while you’re eating.

Heartburn comes on suddenly

You may experience heartburn after you eat or after a meal. You may also get heartburn after sex, smoking, or excessive drinking.

You may have other symptoms

Heartburn can occur without pain. In some cases, you may experience the following symptoms:


Blurred vision

Painful swallowing

Shortness of breath

Fast heartbeat

Chest pain

Swollen ankles

Stomach pain

Ways to prevent heartburn

Reduce your stomach acid production by eating small frequent meals. Try to eat your meals closer together, consuming smaller amounts at a time.Try reducing the amount of food you eat at each meal. Having more frequent meals helps ensure your stomach gets empty before you feel hungry again. Avoid eating when you are super hungry. Try to avoid eating too much before you feel physically hungry so that you are not in a situation where you feel like you are starving and can’t stop eating. This can lead to overeating which can cause acid reflux. Avoid eating late at night. Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime. If you do eat a heavy meal, try not to eat too close to bedtime

You may need to drink a small glass of warm water when you get hungry and hold it for a few minutes. Try drinking smaller amounts of the water before eating so it doesn’t lead to acid reflux.

Try not to lie down or sleep when you feel heartburn. Try elevating your legs and getting up and walking around after your meal to help with digestion. You’re lying down and about to fall asleep? If so, it’s a good idea to prop yourself up so your upper body isn’t in a prone position. You should also avoid laying on your stomach or back, as it raises your esophagus above your heart.Reduce Stress.If you get stressed, you’ll more prone to heartburn. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress and feel more in control.

Eliminate smoking

Smoking cigarettes can actually exacerbate heartburn symptoms, which makes you more likely to smoke more and to experience more symptoms. The condition is also a known risk factor for cancer and long-term cardiovascular disease.

Avoid citrus

Eating too much citrus in your diet can result in your stomach rumbling, so you end up eating too much alcohol and eating less of the meal itself.

Watch what you eat

Eating foods that contain high levels of hydrogen sulfide (read: cheeses, dairy, chocolate) can worsen heartburn and GERD symptoms. These foods can cause bloating, gas, and discomfort in the stomach and the esophagus. Avoiding these foods, especially if you’re not used to them, can help prevent your stomach from becoming irritated and tryglicing.

Cut out alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can cause your stomach to get bloated and painful. Drinking too much alcohol can cause your stomach to get bloated and painful.

Exercise more often

Cardiovascular exercise, especially running, has been shown to improve people’s ability to tolerate acid. The endorphins produced during cardiovascular exercise may also relieve heartburn.

Ways to treat heartburn

1. Avoid the following foods that increase acid reflux (GERD):

Refined carbohydrates (especially white breads, white rice, bagels, doughnuts)

Refined oils (especially vegetable oil)


Red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and chicken)

Soft cheeses




2. Eat these heartburn-fighting foods:

Fatty fish


Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale)




3. Also eat these other food options:

Grilled fish



Green vegetables

Dark chocolate

Soy sauce






Coconut milk

4. If you have heartburn, don’t delay eating. A “heartburn moment” is the time when your stomach acid refluxes into your esophagus before you can swallow it.

Over-the-counter treatments

Over-the-counter medicines to relieve heartburn include OTC antacids and ulcer medications.  For severe reactions and stomach discomfort, OTC antacids can be taken. GERD medications may be needed for severe reactions. Antacid drugs should not be taken in conjunction with NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen, as these can lead to further stomach irritation.


Other natural remedies for heartburn include:

Consuming a handful of raisins every day.

Prescription medications

A handful of prescription drugs can help you fight heartburn and relieve symptoms. These medications include:


Proton pump inhibitors

Angiotensin II receptor blockers


Calcium channel blockers

Salt reduction

Medications that treat acid reflux

A handful of prescription drugs can treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux, including:



Zwilling Oscar-Q


Cholestyramine hydrochloride

Intestinal teas and supplements