What Causes Chronic Heartburn and How Can I Fix It?

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Have you ever had a delicious meal, only to feel a sensation of burning or tightness in your throat or chest? 

This common condition is known as heartburn, and it’s an issue many of us will experience at one point or another. Research suggests that a fifth of U.S. adults have occasional heartburn, with 10% experiencing it every day.

However, what happens when your heartburn doesn’t seem to go away?

When you suffer from chronic heartburn, figuring out the cause and best form of treatment can be frustrating. If this sounds familiar, don’t stress: we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should know about heartburn, from the basics of this condition to your best course of action.

What Causes Chronic Heartburn?

First and foremost, what is heartburn?

You might hear the common term “heartburn” used interchangeably with medical terms like “chronic acid reflux” or “gastroesophageal reflux disease.”

Heartburn happens when the contents of your stomach, including various acids, leak back into your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your throat and stomach. This leakage happens when the valve at the bottom of your esophagus doesn’t close all the way.

This can lead to an irritation of your esophagus. Many people experience this irritation as a burning sensation, which gives heartburn its name.

There are a few common causes of heartburn:

  • Abdominal pressure: an increased pressure on your abs, especially during pregnancy, can lead to heartburn
  • Dietary habits: some foods and habits make you more likely to experience heartburn.
  • Medications: certain medications can cause heartburn as a side-effect
  • Hiatal hernias: these conditions happen when the top of your stomach bulges, which can affect your ability to digest food

If you experience heartburn for a long period of time, your doctor may diagnose you with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Heartburn?

As stated above, one of the most common sensations associated with chronic heartburn is a burning sensation in the throat, chest, or esophagus. This often happens after eating, and it may also happen at night when you’re in bed.

However, there are several other symptoms you should keep an eye out for if you believe you may have this condition.

  • An acidic, salty, or bitter taste in your mouth, sometimes paired with bad breath
  • Pain or tightness in the chest that gets worse when you lie down or bend over
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A hoarse or sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Because the symptoms of heartburn can be so similar to those of a heart attack, it’s crucial to know the difference between the two.

How Can You Treat Chronic Heartburn?

If you’re suffering from this chronic condition, there are a few key things to know about heartburn treatment.

In most cases, you can treat mild to moderate heartburn with over-the-counter medications. These medications can help relieve most heartburn symptoms in a few key ways:

  • Antacids: These medications help neutralize your stomach acid, providing fast-relief
  • H-2-receptor antagonists: These can help decrease your stomach’s acid production
  • Proton pump inhibitors: These can help reduce your stomach acid and even heal any tissue in your esophagus that has gotten damaged

However, if you find that these medications don’t relieve your symptoms, you should reach out to your doctor for help. They may recommend X-rays, an endoscopy, or an ambulatory acid probe test to see whether your chronic heartburn is a sign of GERD.

Whether or not this is the case, a doctor can help you find prescription-strength versions of the medications you need.

As stronger versions of over-the-counter formulas, these medications can provide additional relief and even help manage any specific symptoms you’re struggling with. 

In addition, talking to a doctor can help you decide whether you need multiple types of medication to address your symptoms, as combining multiple options may be your best bet.

What Can You Do to Manage Your Heartburn at Home?

It’s worth noting that medications shouldn’t be your only plan of attack when it comes to addressing your chronic heartburn. In fact, a few simple changes to your daily habits can be a great help in easing this condition.

Watch What You Eat

Certain foods trigger heartburn more often than others, so it’s a good idea to cut them out of your diet where possible. Every person will experience slight differences in trigger foods, but there are a few common culprits to watch out for:

  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • High-fat foods
  • Tomato products
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Garlic and onions
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated products such as coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Mints and peppermint

Some people with heartburn can eat these foods in small quantities, while others find they need to avoid them altogether. In addition, many people find relief in eating smaller meals more often instead of larger meals, as the latter can contribute to more stomach acid production.

Reconsider Your Habits

Lying down can feel like a major trigger for people with heartburn, but it’s important to consider when and how you do so. Avoid lying down right after eating, and make sure to eat dinner a few hours before bed. It may also help to elevate your head and chest while sleeping by using a foam wedge.

Check Your Medications

Certain medications can trigger heartburn. These include painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen as well as certain blood pressure drugs. Check the labels of any medications you’re taking, and check with your doctor about finding alternatives.

Get the Heartburn Relief You Need

Chronic heartburn doesn’t have to be a problem you live with day in and day out. If you’re struggling with this frustrating condition, it’s time to get the relief you need. With a few simple lifestyle tweaks and access to the right medications, you can take the burning pain out of your diet completely.

That’s where we come in. At Kiwi Drug, we offer low prices and easy, secure ordering for a huge range of medications, including heartburn treatments. Check out our selection to get heartburn relief fast!

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