Heartburn is nothing but GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) where the most common symptom of GERD is a burning sensation or discomfort behind the breastbone or sternum, and may be accompanied by regurgitation of gastric contents into the mouth or the lungs. Most episodes of the heartburn occur during the day, usually after eating, although some sufferers will also experience reflux during sleep.Nocturnal reflux is commonly associated with a higher risk and more severe indications of esophagitis because the acid remains in the esophagus for prolonged periods due to decreased swallowing and less saliva produced to neutralize the acid.
Lifestyle modifications for treating Heartburn :
- Avoid caffeinated beverages, alcohol, drugs, and smoking.
- Tight clothing should be avoided
- Keep an upright posture while sitting or working.
- Some patients may be counseled to insert a wedge under their back at night to keep the esophagus above the stomach while sleeping.
- Similarly, avoid exertion after a meal, such as bending or lifting is considered important, as this contracts the abdominal muscles and forces food through the weakened LES.
- Patients are also recommended to eat in a relaxed manner, and eat smaller meals.
- pregnant women often complain of heartburn, simply because of the pressure placed upon the stomach from the growing fetus, but also because hormonal fluctuations tend to make the esophageal and gastric mucosa more sensitive and therefore more reactive.
Alternative / Ayurvedic tips to combat heartburn (You can find plenty of tips in my ebook at http://ebook.treatyourheartburn.com)
a) cold infusions of Slippery Elm bark, Marshmallow root or Comfrey leaf, 50 g per 1 liter, taken as needed, up to 1-2 liters daily.
b) Take a multi-vitamin with Zinc daily as a stress-reliever and pH regulator.
c) Bitters, taken in small doses before meals, e.g. Katuka, Barberry, Gentian, Centaury, Goldenseal, etc.
NOTE: the usage of bitters are often avoided at the outset of treatment because the initial stimulation of acid production may worsen any esophageal ulceration.
d) Shatavari Ghritam can also be taken 6-12 grams before meals.
e) Certain Ayurvedic multi-herb compounds like Avipattikar Churna, Drakshadi Churna, Licorice (Yashtimadhu preferably De-glycyrrhizinated) Churnam, Sutshekhar Rasa, Leela Vilas Ras etc are also advised after examination from an ayurvedacharya.
If heartburn troubles you still, do drop a mail with your medical history to our ayurvedic doctor: [email protected] for expert medical advice.