Heartburn is a medical condition in which the contents of the stomach move backward and upward into the food pipe. Heartburn is also known as gastrointestinal reflux.
The diaphragm and a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter usually prevent heartburn. However, this muscle can sometimes relax and leave the food pipe unprotected from stomach acid.
Heartburn is experienced when stomach acid comes into contact with the lining of the food pipe. Below are some simple ways to cure a hangover;
1. Don’t Overeat
Where the esophagus opens into the stomach, there is a ring-like muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter.
It acts as a valve and is supposed to prevent the acidic contents of the stomach from going up into the esophagus. It naturally opens when you swallow, belch or vomit. Otherwise, it should stay closed.
In people with acid reflux, this muscle is weakened or dysfunctional. Acid reflux can also occur when there is too much pressure on the muscle, causing acid to squeeze through the opening.
Unsurprisingly, most reflux symptoms take place after a meal. It also seems that larger meals may worsen reflux symptoms.
One step that will help minimize acid reflux is to avoid eating large meals.
2. Chew Gum
A few studies show that chewing gum reduces acidity in the esophagus.
Gum that contains bicarbonate appears to be especially effective.
These findings indicate that chewing gum — and the associated increase in saliva production — may help clear the esophagus of acid.
However, it probably doesn’t reduce the reflux itself
3. Limit Your Intake of Carbonated Beverages
Patients with GERD are sometimes advised to limit their intake of carbonated beverages.
One observational study found that carbonated soft drinks were associated with increased acid reflux symptoms .
Also, controlled studies show that drinking carbonated water or cola temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, compared to drinking plain water. The main reason is the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated beverages, which causes people to belch more often — an effect that can increase the amount of acid escaping into the esophagus.
4. Drink Too Much Coffee
Studies show that coffee temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the risk of acid reflux.
Some evidence points towards caffeine as a possible culprit. Similar to coffee, caffeine weakens the lower esophageal sphincter .
Additionally, drinking decaffeinated coffee has been shown to reduce reflux compared to regular coffee.
However, one study that gave participants caffeine in water was unable to detect any effects of caffeine on reflux, even though coffee itself worsened the symptoms.
These findings indicate that compounds other than caffeine may play a role in coffee’s effects on acid reflux. The processing and preparation of coffee might also be involved.
Nevertheless, although several studies suggest that coffee may worsen acid reflux, the evidence is not entirely conclusive.
One study found no adverse effects when acid reflux patients consumed coffee right after meals, compared to an equal amount of warm water. However, coffee increased the duration of reflux episodes between meals.
Additionally, an analysis of observational studies found no significant effects of coffee intake on the self-reported symptoms of GERD.
Yet, when the signs of acid reflux were investigated with a small camera, coffee consumption was linked with greater acid damage in the esophagus.
Whether coffee intake worsens acid reflux may depend on the individual. If coffee gives you heartburn, simply avoid it or limit your intake.
5. Elevate The Head of Your Bed
Some people suffer from reflux symptoms during the night.
This may disrupt their sleep quality and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
One study showed that patients who raised the head of their bed had significantly fewer reflux episodes and symptoms, compared to those who slept without any elevation.
Additionally, an analysis of controlled studies concluded that elevating the head of the bed is an effective strategy to reduce acid reflux symptoms and heartburn at night.