Heart-Burn-Wisconsin-Urgent-careMost people have experienced it, that burning sensation in your gut or esophagus – heartburn. It can be brought on by any number of things from stress to diet to gastrointestinal conditions. It may seem to be rampant, but there are ways to control it. There are some foods that you should avoid if you suffer from heartburn.

Heartburn is caused when some of the juices in the stomach somehow wind up in your esophagus. Hydrochloric acid is the primary culprit. It naturally occurs in the stomach and aids in digestion. While it is very corrosive, when it is contained within the stomach, it is harmless. This is due to a protective lining in the stomach that protects it from this substance. Your esophagus does not have that same protection so when those acids work their way out of your stomach and into your esophagus, you will experience burning in your throat and chest, pressure through your chest and shoulders, nausea and stomach pain, chest pain and sometimes shortness of breath.

The stomach acid can find its way into the esophagus due to a variety of reasons and conditions. Basically, what happens is that the sphincter muscle in the esophagus malfunctions or is not working properly. When it is working as it should, it contracts, pinching itself shut. This keeps the stomach acid in the stomach and out of the sensitive esophagus. Hiatal hernias can be another culprit. The most common cause of heartburn, though, is simply eating foods that trigger it.  You can help avoid heartburn by learning what the triggers are.

Eight of the most common heartburn triggers are:

– Citrus Fruits
– Tomatoes
– Alcohol
– Fried Foods
– Caffeine
– Peppermint
– Chocolate
– Spicy Foods

If you can’t stand the thought of giving up your chocolate or spicy food, there are strategies you can try to alleviate heartburn or keep it from being too much of a bother.

– Drink lots of water. Water helps in digestion and this could help keep acid down.
– Eat digestion enhancing foods such as papaya, ginger and pineapple
– Caraway oil has been shown to help allay heartburn symptoms in some people
– Do not overeat

If you take the proper precautions, heartburn will not be a serious problem for you.