How to get rid of heartburn fast

Heartburn during pregnancy

Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy. Although it has nothing to do with the heart, heartburn involves a burning sensation in the center of the chest.

What causes heartburn during pregnancy?

Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus are unable to prevent stomach acid from passing back into the esophagus. During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax, which can increase the frequency of heartburn. This allows stomach acid to pass into the esophagus and irritate the lining.

Heartburn and indigestion are more common during the third trimester because the growing uterus puts pressure on the intestines and the stomach. The pressure on the stomach may also push contents back up into the esophagus.

What can you do to treat heartburn when you are pregnant?

Preventing heartburn is the best way to deal with it! Here are some helpful tips for avoiding heartburn:

  • Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
  • Wait an hour after eating to lie down
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, and fatty foods

If you are experiencing heartburn, there are a few natural ways to relieve the symptoms:

  • Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk
  • Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk

Over-the-counter antacids may prove helpful in relieving your heartburn, but do not take antacids without speaking to your healthcare provider. Some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid buildup in body tissues. Some also contain aluminum, which is not considered safe for pregnancy.

If your heartburn is severe, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication for you.

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Last Updated: 07/2015

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 3.

American Academy of Family Physicians, http://familydoctor.org/

Feel the Burn

The medical industry refers to these symptoms as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly called heartburn or acid reflux.

Conventional wisdom says GERD occurs when too much hydrochloric acid (HCl) or stomach acid splashes upwards toward your esophagus, creating burning and discomfort. So you take an antacid to reduce that stomach acid and relieve the burning.

However, research shows that too little – not too much – stomach acid often creates GERD.1 (That makes sense when you consider that aging means you both make less HCl and are more likely to suffer GERD…)

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Here’s what happens:

1. You need enough HCl to activate enzymes that break down protein. Inadequate amounts of stomach acid mean you can’t always activate those enzymes, so that chicken breast you ate for dinner doesn’t sufficiently break down like it should.

2. As your undigested meal sits in your stomach, more stomach acid builds up. That acid can potentially reflux back up into your esophagus. Ouch!

The whole cycle starts because you actually have too little HCl from the start.

While reaching for an antacid when you’re suffering acid reflux can be tempting, over-the-counter antacids and pharmaceutical drugs oftentimes mask underlying problems and make things worse in the long run.

Too Little Acid?

Scientific research backs up the idea that too little stomach acid is the culprit. One study questioned whether too much HCl is responsible for GERD.1

When stomach acid flowed freely, researchers found no esophagus damage occurred for several weeks. If stomach acid was really the problem, damage should occur almost immediately.

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Furthermore, inadequate stomach acid sets the stage for gut issues. Your stomach is protein’s first stop for digestion. When it can’t do its job, that undigested protein goes to your small intestine, which has other jobs and isn’t always equipped to handle protein breakdown.

There, it can create numerous problems including inflammation, bacteria overgrowth, and leaky gut.

Rather than help the problem, antacids stop what little HCl you have, further hampering protein breakdown. So you pay the price for short-term relief with increased risk for GERD and gut issues.

While reaching for an antacid when you’re suffering acid reflux can be tempting, over-the-counter antacids and pharmaceutical drugs oftentimes mask underlying problems and make things worse in the long run.

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