I bet that after all the suffering you wonder what the causes of heartburn are and why does it make your life so miserable. There are times when it is hard to figure it what is wrong as instead of stomach pain the heartburn triggers symptoms which might feel closer to a heart attack. Webmd community & experts have stated that a person having heartburn at night can go on for a long time without knowing what is going on and start having mental issues such as anxiety, nervousness and even in some extreme cases panic attacks.
There are many mental factors which also cause the gastroesophageal reflux disease (gerd) as the stress produced by the body can ruin a healthy digestive system. Many of the causes are also derived from chemicals in cigarette smoke, eating & diet as well as laying down with a full stomach. When the body is in a position where the stomach is at the same height as the head, gravity no longer helps the food and acidity to stay down. As you sleep and relax the lower esophageal, the acid comes back up and burns the esophagus along with the throat.
What is heartburn?
Even though it contains the word “heart”, heartburn is actually a symptom of GERD (commonly called acid reflux). Since the pain it generates is in the chest area many of the sufferers believe that they are having a hear attack. Some heart problems do come with symptoms similar to those of heartburn but understand that these are two completely separate conditions. Any chest pains should be diagnosed by a medical practitioner as they could just as well be a heart attack.
What is the difference between heartburn / acid reflux and the gastroesophageal reflux disease?
The difference is that heartburn is the symptoms of acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Even though derived from the same condition, since one of the major symptoms is a burning pain around the heart area it has been labeled as heartburn. So the cause of heartburn for example is reflux, but the cause of the reflux could be a different trigger such as the chemicals in cigarette smoke, caffeine or alcohol.
Is my eating & diet helping or worsening the condition?
It really depends on the type of food that you eat. Items such as junk food or fatty foods are hard on even a healthy digestive system and create indigestion. If you are already prone to reflux eating such things only worsens the condition and can bring on numerous unpleasant symptoms. If you enjoy spicy foods, sweets or chocolate then these could also be the culprits as they tend to stimulate the release of acid into the stomach.
Eating smaller portions throughout the day and keeping a healthy balanced diet will be the best weapon against for a chronic sufferer. Keep in mind that certain vegetables such as a tomato or onions should also be avoided and might stimulate the unwanted symptoms.
How to maintain a healthy digestive system?
There are many myths out there when it comes to acid reflux and a person will find a lot of tips and tricks on how to beat it. Many of these simply do not work and can actually cause the condition to worsen. I have seen a person who published a health book recommending a heavy vitamin regimen but some of the antioxidants as well as the larger intakes of vitamin c would have the opposite effect in most individuals and not make this condition any better.
In order to maintain a healthy digestive tract you will need to follow a good diet, reduce your stress levels, eat smaller portions and never skip meals. Smoking, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided and your stomach should be fed no later then 4 hours before going to bed. Starting an exercising routine can also do wonders as it allows the entire body to function better.
Is there a way that I can stop having heartburn at night?
The main way to stop this from happening is to eat a lighter meal and having it 4 hours or more before going to sleep. There are suggestions that a person should drink cold milk, but I have found that this is not a good idea for most people. Also do not drink any water prior to an hour before sleep as although it dilutes the stomach acid, it raises its overall height levels and makes it easier for it to travel into the throat area when laying down.