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What's Causing My Heartburn?

By Brookhaven Gastroenterology Associates
June 10, 2019

GI Procedures



Do you have heartburn? Despite its name, heartburn does not affect the heart. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a burning pain Heartburnbehind the breastbone. The sensation can last for as short a time as a few minutes or as long as a few hours. Brookhaven Gastroenterology Associates, which is located in East Patchogue, NY, offers treatments for heartburn. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux often, call your doctor. The following information will help you determine what's causing your heartburn.

1. Certain foods. Certain foods can trigger heartburn. Though the triggers for heartburn can vary among people, some foods are more prone to allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Foods that commonly trigger heartburn include tomatoes, garlic, citrus fruits, chocolate, fatty and fried foods, and spices. Avoid the foods above and you may decrease the amount of reflux from your stomach into the esophagus.

2. Certain drinks. Beverages that commonly trigger heartburn include orange juice, lemonade, grapefruit juice, liquor, wine, coffee, milkshakes, tea, and carbonated sodas. When chronic heartburn becomes a problem, switching from coffee or traditional tea to decaf teas may be a good idea. Drinking regular water may also provide relief: It will raise the pH of your stomach, dilute the acid, and clear out the esophagus.

3. Smoking. If you smoke, stop. Smoking tobacco weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to heartburn, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Nicotine patches and gums are safer bets for overall health than smoking, and they're less likely to give you heartburn. There’s no guarantee that quitting will get rid of your symptoms, but it’s worth a try.

4. Stress. Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Being stressed or anxious can raise how much acid your stomach makes and can cause heartburn. It is important to find ways to reduce stress, and thus make stress-related heartburn less likely. Some relaxation techniques that reduce stress include meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, tai chi, and yoga.

5. Overeating. Overeating can trigger heartburn. Eat small, frequent meals to prevent heartburn. Skip the doubles, triples, and larges in favor of regular-size items. Think about how a triple-size hamburger means more fat and more calories, and is bound to set your heartburn aflame. It takes the stomach four to five hours to empty a meal, so wait at least three hours after eating to go to bed.

6. Medications. Certain medications that can cause acid reflux, because they may relax the LES. You may want to talk to your East Patchogue, NY, doctor or pharmacist about your heartburn if you're taking prescription pain killers, antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, or medications for allergies or asthma. Don’t stop taking any medication without first talking with your doctor.

No more heartburn! If you want complete relief of your symptoms, call Brookhaven Gastroenterology Associates at 631-289-0300 today to schedule an appointment in East Patchogue, NY!

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