Heartburn

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Harvard Medical School
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Heartburn

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Dietary treatment of heartburn involves avoiding foods that cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken or which produce excess acid in the stomach.
188568
InteliHealth
2009-01-07
t
InteliHealth Medical Content
2011-01-07

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

 

Heartburn is most often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which the lower esophageal sphincter weakens or relaxes, allowing acidic stomach contents to flow backwards up into the esophagus. Dietary treatment of heartburn involves avoiding foods that cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken or which produce excess acid in the stomach. These foods include chocolate, peppermint and peppermint products, tomatoes and tomato products, citrus fruits and juices, coffee, fried and fatty foods and alcohol.

Other factors that increase the likelihood that stomach contents will back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn are having an over-full stomach, bending forward or lying down soon after meals, and being overweight or pregnant. A hiatal hernia, the result of an outpouching of the upper part of the stomach into the chest cavity, also can produce a "burning sensation," or heartburn.

 

Treatment recommendations include:
  • If you are overweight, lose weight.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of two or three large meals.
  • Don't lie down or sleep soon after eating. Allow at least three hours after dinner before going to bed to allow time for your meal to be digested.
  • Avoid stooping or bending soon after meals.
  • If you are bothered by GERD or heartburn at night, elevate the headboard of your bed by placing it on 6-inch blocks of wood.

 

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heartburn,stomach,esophagus,gerd,lower esophageal sphincter
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Last updated September 22, 2014


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