After a meal, particularly a large one, it is not uncommon to feel a burning sensation of heartburn. Some individuals experience heartburn at least once a week. When it comes to chronic heartburn that occurs two times in a week, it might indicate a serious condition. Recurrent heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as dry cough, acid regurgitation, difficult swallowing and asthma symptoms. You can learn to recognize and manage the symptoms, including heartburn by enrolling in a course on first aid today.
Why eating causes heartburn
When swallowing food, it passes via the throat and esophagus until it reaches the stomach. The action of swallowing will cause the muscles that control the opening between the esophagus and stomach to open when food is swallowed. If this muscle does not close properly after swallowing, the acid content in the stomach will travel back to the esophagus. Oftentimes, this stomach acid will reach the lower part of the esophagus, thus resulting to heartburn.
How to ease heartburn after eating
Eating is a necessity but ending up with heartburn can be readily remedied. There are measures to observe in order to soothe the sensation of heartburn after a meal. There are several home treatments that can increase the comfort level when heartburn is occurring.
Allow some time before lying down
The individual might be tempted to lie down in the couch or go straight to bed after a later dinner. Nevertheless, this will only lead to the onset or worsening of heartburn. It is important to finish meals at least 3-4 hours before lying horizontally as well as avoid eating additional snacks right before bed. It is recommended to stay active by moving around at least 30 minutes after eating.
Those who smoke might be tempted to light one after eating, but this is detrimental. Among the various health issues caused by smoking, it instigates heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter.
Wear loose clothing
Tight belts and constrictive clothing will add pressure on the abdomen and can worsen heartburn. Try to loosen any tight clothing after a meal or change into comfortable clothes to avoid heartburn.
Elevate the head of the bed
Elevate the head of the bed at 4-8 inches to allow gravity to help keep the stomach contents where they belong. Always bear in mind that you have to actually elevate the bed itself, not only the head. Using pillows will put the body in a bent position will increase pressure on the abdomen, thus worsening the heartburn and reflux symptoms.
It is recommended to place 4-6 inch wooden blocks securely under two bed posts at the head part of the bed. Another alternative is to sleep on a special wedge-shaped pillow.
In most cases, these lifestyle modifications can help ease or avoid heartburn and other symptoms of GERD. Nevertheless, if the symptoms persist or become recurrent, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor for assessment and proper treatment.