Esophagus is a muscular tube through which food passes from the mouth to stomach. When one feels a painful sensation in the esophagus, the condition is called heartburn. Heartburn is caused by gastric acid which regurgitates below the breastbone. In simple terms, when gastric acid starts rising in the gullet (esophagus). These acids are otherwise necessary to digest the food. Heartburn is also called pyrosis. Heartburn may lead to chronic cough and asthma. It will be interesting to know that heartburn is not associated with heart. It is a problems associated with digestion system of the body.
Gullet contains a muscle at the bottom to prevent acid from rising. Muscle contracts itself to let this happen. When the muscle fails to contract, the acid starts rising. Medical fraternity has not been able to know the exact reasons for the failure of muscle to contract on some occasions or for some people all the time.
There are many causes of heartburn. These are associated with the eating habits of an individual. Excess of citrus fruits and vegetables like tomato can lead to heartburn. People with habits of chewing too much of chocolates or spicy food are prone to heartburn. If you drink excess of tea, coffee or other aerated or carbonated drinks, you are at the risk of having heartburn. Needless to say, it is better to avoid vices like smoking, alcohol, etc to avoid heartburn.
There is other set of reasons leading to heartburn. These reasons are not related to eating habits. These include lot of bending, pregnancy, obesity, and wearing tight clothes.
Prevention is said to be better than cure. Same applies to heartburn. Here are someways you can avoid or lessen heartburn. If you smoke or drink heavy, stop it immediately. Bring discipline to your eating habits particularly the meals. Don’t overeat, especially before bedtime. If you had to take heavy food before bedtime, take a brick walk before going to sleep. Avoid spicy or fatty foods. Such foods are good for taste, but bad for digestion. Never eat your food fast and chew it well. Good sleeping habits include sleeping on your left side. You may also raise the head of the bed by few inches so acids can’t raise. Never bend after your meals. Take a time gap of at least 15 minutes to do so. Last but not the least, avoid using tight belts or clothes which exert pressure on your stomach.