Heartburn is more chronic a health problem for me than psoriasis. Even today, Having adopted such a strict healthy life style,I feel inflammation in my chest whenever I eat something highly fatty/oily OR I skip any meal OR I overeat.As per general understanding heartburn is a signal for digestion related problems.So, I thought writing a post on heartburn and acid reflux.
Understanding the terms
Heartburn itself is not a disease.It is the most common symptom of ACID REFLUX. In simple terms, Acid reflux is the fire and heartburn in the smoke.
Acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are closely related to each other.In simple terms, GERD is the next stage of Acid reflux.When acid reflux becomes very frequent, it would be called as GERD.
What is Acid reflux (GERD)
Acid reflux is the upward flow of stomach acid from stomach into the esophagus.Esophagus is in simpler terms is food pipeline from throat to the stomach.This upward flow of stomach acid occurs when lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t close properly and stomach acids comes back upwardly into the esophagus.LES is a ring of muscles at the bottom of esophagus connecting esophagus to stomach.It acts as a valve.
When this refluxed stomach acid touches the inner linings of esophagus, you experiences burning sensation.During acid reflux, you may taste some food particles (that you have eaten) or sour liquid at the back of your mouth along with heartburn.
Most of the people experiences such heartburn (due to acid reflux) occasionally in their lives.But, if someone experiences it regularly, it is an alarming situation and chronic acid reflux induced heartburn can cause serious damage to your digestive system by destroying the inner lining of esophagus and make way for some serious disease.
Causes of Acid reflux (GERD)
Exact cause of Acid reflux is not clear.But,indigestion and other digestive system related problems arising of unhealthy life style and food habits do play an important role in developing heartburn and acid reflux.
Few major causes (under the category of life style and food habits) of acid reflux:
- Over eating
- Sleeping or lying down on bed immediately after meals
- High consumption of processes or oily foods
- High take of coffee, alcohol,white sugar
- Excessive Smoking & alcohol consumption
- Sedentary life style (lack of exercise or physical work out)
- Mental problems (Stress, depression, etc)
You can see that most of the causes are equally applicable to psoriasis as well.
Home remedies to cure acid reflux
By making positive changes in our life style to make sure we eat light and nutritious food and digest it properly is the key to heal acid reflux. Some of usually tried home remedies to cure acid reflux are:
- Drink plenty of water (avoid chilled water)
- Drink cabbage juice for chronic acid reflux related problem (1/2 to 1 cup daily for 2 weeks or so)
- Drink ginger and lemon juice for immediate relief from severe discomfort
- Don’t hurry while eating and chew the food properly
- Regular exercise (sedentary life style is one of the main culprit)
- Increase intake of raw fruits and vegetables
- Avoid highly acidic foods like coffee,alcohol,dairy,added sugar products,tomatoes etc
- avoid citric fruits like oranges,grapefruits etc. (Don’t avoid LEMON at all as it has alkaline effect on stomach)
- Take turmeric or increase the use turmeric in your cooking,It aids in digestion and reduce acidity.
- Do not drink water immediately after meals or in between meals (a time gap of 45-60 minutes is ideal for good digestion).
In Ayurveda, drinking water immediately is considered as harmful as poison as it hinders digestion process badly
Use of antacids:
Try not to use these antacids. These antacids give temporary relief for some time by immediately neutralizing the refluxed stomach acids.Hence,it gives a wrong message to body metabolism that stomach acids are low and induces the body metabolism to secrete more acid next time with higher strength.Also,immediate neutralization of stomach acid hinders food digestion process making it difficult for the body to absorb vital nutrients from food you eat.To add on, antacids generally contains calcium carbonate,aluminium hydroxide,magnesium hydroxide and oxides which can cause serious health related issues if consumed in high dosages.
In simple terms,these antacids cover up the real problem rather than curing it.Ultimately, it will make the problem a bigger one.Hence,occasionally using these antacids is not that harmful but if you are encountering heartburn problem regularly, please don’t use antacids regularly.
Even on the wrapper on these antacid bottles, you can see clear-cut instructions of not using antacids more than 10-14 days continuously.So, better you incorporate positive changes in your life style and diet and cure your acid reflux naturally.
To conclude, on similar terms to psoriasis, acid reflux (GERD) and heartburn are resultants of bad diet, faulty life style and lack of physical work out.