Heartburn: Causes and Treatment Methods
The feeling of burning or heat that appears behind the sternum or in the upper abdomen is familiar to many. The reason for such unpleasant feelings is heartburn. It affects from 30 to 60% of Russians from young to old. Olesya Molodkina, Candidate of Medical Sciences, a gastroenterologist at the Family Doctor Clinic, tells about why heartburn occurs, how to treat it and how to avoid its appearance.
How does heartburn occur?
Important! Heartburn can lead to the reflux into the esophagus of the contents of the duodenum, which is mixed with bile and pancreatic enzymes. This is no less strong stimuli for the delicate mucous membrane of the esophagus than gastric juice.
Most often, heartburn occurs when exposed to acidic gastric juice on the esophageal mucosa. This happens when casting (reflux) of stomach contents into the esophagus. The reason for such an unnatural process is the incomplete closure of the sphincter (a valve that normally separates the esophagus and the stomach). Aggressive gastric juice irritates the wall of the esophagus, which is manifested by burning.
Causes of Heartburn
1. Hernia of the esophageal opening of the diaphragm
Normally, the esophagus passes through a hole in the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavity). If it is more than necessary, then a part of the stomach protrudes through it into the chest cavity. This bulge is called a hernia.
Heartburn is the most common complaint for hiatal hernia. She appears at night, after eating or exercise.
2. Chronic gastritis with increased secretion
Heartburn occurs due to the fact that too much hydrochloric acid is formed in the stomach.
Provides excessive secretion of acid consumption of fatty, fried and spicy foods, marinades, cold dishes, rare, and also abundant meals. Heartburn in this case is combined with pain in the upper abdomen immediately after eating.
3. Gastric and duodenal ulcer
A defect (ulcer) appears on the gastric mucosa, which prevents it from contracting normally and pushing food into the intestines. The food in the stomach lingers, it is strongly stretched, and the pressure rises in it. All this further aggravates the cast into the esophagus.
4. Achilias and achlorhydria
With these pathologies in the gastric juice there is no hydrochloric acid and pepsin (an enzyme that breaks down the eaten proteins). Heartburn also occurs because lactic and buty acid, which are formed during the fermentation of food in the stomach, is thrown into the esophagus.
5. Disease of the operated stomach
It occurs in people who have removed part of the stomach and duodenum, for example, an ulcer or tumor. In this case, heartburn leads to digestive juice, containing pancreatic enzymes and bile, which enters the esophagus.
Important! Aspirin and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs damage the esophagus and stomach, leading to heartburn.
Nitrates, antispasmodics, sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers can cause heartburn.
7. Some products
Heartburn can also occur in healthy people after overeating, eating sweets, black bread, fresh pastries, spicy and fatty foods, dairy products, alcohol, chocolate, black tea, coffee, sour apples or plums, lemons, tomatoes, tomato sauces.
Heartburn and pregnancy
In future mothers, heartburn often happens in late pregnancy. There are several reasons for this.
- The growing uterus puts pressure on the stomach and shifts it upwards, where it occupies an unnatural position.
- Pregnancy hormone - progesterone, which relaxes many smooth muscles in the body. And the esophageal sphincter is no exception. All this leads to the fact that the sphincter is not fully closed, and gastric juice enters the esophagus.
Gastroenterologists with heartburn prescribe the following groups of drugs.
- Antacid drugs. They contain salts of magnesium, calcium, aluminum, which neutralize hydrochloric acid. Now the contents of the stomach, getting into the esophagus, does not irritate his mucous membrane.
- Alginates. In the acidic environment of the stomach, alginates form a gel barrier that reduces the number of casts of gastric contents into the esophagus.
- Antisecretory drugs. They inhibit the formation of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and the contents thrown into the esophagus are not so aggressive.
- Prokinetics. These drugs cause the esophagus to contract more actively, increase the tone of the sphincter (it now closes the opening between the esophagus and the stomach), and also accelerate the movement of food from the stomach into the intestine.
Folk remedies for heartburn
By folk remedies can only be resorted to if there is no medicine at hand.
There are many recipes for heartburn, but not all of them are effective. Most often used ...
- Milk. It neutralizes hydrochloric acid only for a while, envelops the stomach and creates the impression that all is well. But after some lull, milk stimulates the formation of gastric juice, and it only gets worse.
Important! Regularly take soda with heartburn is impossible, since it violates the ratio in the body of salts and water (the so-called water-salt balance).
- Soda solution. Very many people with heartburn drink soda right away. The effect of course will be, but very short. When soda gets into the stomach, a lot of carbon dioxide is formed, which stretches the organ and dramatically increases the pressure in it. All this provokes repeated heartburn.
- Potato. This vegetable is good for heartburn. You can chew raw potato slices or drink fresh juice.
- Mint decoction. Mint for heartburn does not help, but only hurts. After all, it relaxes the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach, and hydrochloric acid rushes into the esophagus even more actively.
To heartburn did not bother you, follow some rules.
- Change your lifestyle:
- after food do not bend down;
- do not lie down immediately after eating (you need to wait 1.5-2 hours);
- sleep on two pillows;
- do not wear tight clothing, tight belts, bandages or corsets;
- do not lift heavy;
- give up cigarettes;
- Think about losing weight with excess weight.
- Change the power mode:
- do not overeat;
- do not eat very hot or too cold food;
- do not get enough for the night (dinner should be 3 hours before bedtime);
- try not to eat fatty, fried, pickled, spicy, as well as citrus fruits, onions, garlic, sour fruits and chocolate;
- Try not to drink alcohol, coffee, strong tea, sour juices and fruit drinks.
- If possible, do not drink drugs that provoke heartburn.