How to Prevent Heartburn

Take these simple measures to stop heartburn before it starts.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Know what you're dealing with. Heartburn occurs when food or stomach acid moves into the esophagus, causing discomfort and a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Step 2: Eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than fewer, but larger, meals. Overeating can cause heartburn.
  • Step 3: If you're carrying extra pounds, try to lose them. Overweight people are at higher risk of heartburn due to increased abdominal pressure.
  • Step 4: Avoid lying down right after eating. Doing so increases the chance of reflux.
  • TIP: Food or stomach acid leaking past the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, is called reflux.
  • Step 5: Quit smoking. As the chemicals in cigarettes pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream, they weaken the LES, increasing the risk of heartburn.
  • Step 6: Avoid excessive antacid use. They neutralize stomach acid, alleviating the symptoms of heartburn, but don't solve the problem of a weak LES. Antacids can also cause diarrhea or constipation.
  • Step 7: Raise the head of your bed 5 or 6 inches. This makes it more difficult for the food and stomach acid to travel into the esophagus.
  • Step 8: If you suffer from heartburn frequently, keep track of when you get it and potential causes, and take this information to your doctor to work out a plan.
  • FACT: Nighttime heartburn sufferers cost the U.S. economy $1.9 billion per week in lost productivity.

You Will Need

  • Small meals
  • A healthy weight
  • A raised bed

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