How to get rid of heartburn

Mustard for Heartburn – Is It Effective?

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Mustard for heartburnThose people who have never experienced heartburn, my think that this health condition is connected with the heart as the name implies. Yet, heartburn is an absolutely other malaise which is related to the digestive tract of your organism.

Some people are suffering from occasional heartburns, whereas others have this condition all the time. Then, it is important to diagnose the problem and get appropriate treatment which will help to get rid of the malaise quickly and avoid further problems such as reflux or even the cancer of the food pipe.

Regurgitation – another alert symptom

I am concerned that your comment about “food running up and down my esophagus” suggests regurgitation.  This is a result of a weak lower esophageal sphincter and/or a hiatal hernia.  Our medical advisors believe that regurgitation is so serious, that it results in a Stage 3 classification out of four stages.

Below we highlight an important article titled The progressive stages of GERD, that you should read.  Our medical advisors have developed this GERD stage matrix based on several factors.  If you have not yet done so, we also encourage you to take our short GERD Stage finder to determine your stage and then download the 18-page personalized report with recommendations.

The progressive stages of GERD

GERD stage finder (see example below)

Determine your GERD stage

How to get rid of heartburn with diet and lifestyle changes

Every week there is an article in the local newspaper with ideas on how to make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux disease. However, these articles are always short and provide little guidance on how to properly make these changes. This was one of the main reasons we wrote RefluxMD’s Recipe for Relief – to provide very specific information on this chronic condition as well as detailed instructions on how to implement diet and lifestyle changes. Here are some of our concerns based upon your question to us.

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Lack of balance in your diet.

You wrote the following: “I eat only rice, some steamed vegetables, and a piece of grilled tuna with a pinch of salt.” We think these are excellent foods, but not on a routine basis. Our diet program is based upon the top-ranked diet today, the DASH diet, which targets a balance of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. We encourage you to take a more balanced approach to your eating while avoiding known GERD trigger foods. Here are two good references on the DASH diet you may find interesting:

The DASH diet: A roadmap for good health

NIH: What is the DASH diet

Meals are too large and too few.

You mentioned the following in your question to us: “I eat two large meals, lunch and dinner, and in between I eat bananas and dates.” The DASH diet and RefluxMD’s diet plan both encourage three small primary meals daily, with at least 2 small snacks between those meals.

Breakfast is very important and should be included in your diet program. Try to avoid any large portions or large meals since they can distend your stomach putting more pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. This pressure can result in more GERD symptoms. Continue to eat snacks between these meals since they help you to avoid feeling over-hungry, which can lead to overeating.

GERD and your diet: The importance of portion control

5 steps to an effective acid reflux diet

Elevation therapy for GERD.

You indicated the following: “I sleep with three good pillows under my head.” We agree with the concept of elevation therapy, however, adding more pillows may not be effective. You may only be raising your head with little impact on your stomach and esophagus. Effective elevation therapy requires that the head of the bed be raised relative to the foot of the bed, allowing gravity to keep stomach contents where they belong. I realize that your primary question is how to get rid of heartburn symptoms, but elevation therapy is a key element to avoid any progression of your disease. We have several articles on elevation therapy you may find interesting:

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How do I control nighttime GERD symptoms?

How to relieve nighttime acid reflux symptoms when you travel

Your next steps to find relief and good health

First and most importantly, you should see a GERD expert for a complete diagnostic workup. It is important to determine the underlying cause of your swallowing/lump-in-the-throat feeling problems and, if GERD is the cause, to determine that it has not progressed to complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.

Second, develop a complete plan to manage your BMI (if that is an issue), along with your diet and lifestyle. There are several things you can do, but be very careful about doing the right things. As you can see from the links we have shared above, there are many short articles on our website that can assist you in your search for relief and good health.

Third, if medications, diet, weight management, and lifestyle changes do not result in satisfactory symptom reduction, we encourage you to consider speaking with a GERD expert to discuss antireflux surgery. For many, this is the only means to a full recovery and to live a normal life.

I hope this helps!

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Medical resources used for this article

  • Causes and treatment of swallowing problems, by Dr. Anita Krishnan, Doctor’s Circle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSmxacFs4Ik
  • Effect of bed head elevation during sleep in symptomatic patients of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux, by BA Khan MD, JS Sodhi MD, et al, National Institue of Health,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22098332
  • Association Between Body Mass Index and Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in Both Normal Weight and Overweight Women, by Brian C. Jacobson, MD, MPH, Samuel C. Somers, MD, MMSC, et al, National Institute of Health,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782772/
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