Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Causes Of Chronic Heartburn

Heartburn is the most common symptom for acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. It is a feeling or burning sensation felt in the chest just behind breastbone, and gives the uncomfortable feeling of liquid or food rising up the esophagus. This burning sensation is caused by the acidic juices of stomach that manage to escape from stomach, and irritate the lining of esophagus. Unlike Stomach, esophagus is not protected from the corrosive effect of digestive juices.

Chronic heartburn is a serious disorder of digestive tract, and is not easily cured by antacids or home remedies. The pain can however be alleviated by improving the eating habits.

Causes of Chronic Heartburn

Chronic heartburn is usually an indicator of some other medical condition such as Barrett’s esophagus, Hiatal hernia, GERD or esophagitis, and in extreme conditions, esophageal cancer.

It has been observed that women suffer more often with chronic heartburn as compared to men. Frequent malfunction of esophageal sphincter is the main cause of chronic heartburn in females. Swollen belly that puts pressure on the stomach is the cause of heartburn during pregnancy.

Obesity is another common cause of chronic heartburn, and clinically obese people are at higher risk of suffering from this condition, as excess fat puts extra pressure on the stomach and pushes the stomach acid up. If excess weight is not shed, the heartburn can become more severe.

Genetic factor can also be the cause of severe heartburn, and some races are more prone to suffer from this disorder as compared to others. Hiatal hernia in which the small part of stomach lies in chest can also be the cause of severe heartburn.

Heartburn is caused by acid flowing back in the esophagus, and any food that increases the production of stomach acid can be the cause of severe heartburn. There are certain foods that we eat and drink everyday that can be the irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, grapefruit and chocolates.

Some of the other factors that can be the cause of severe heartburn include straining to pass stool, straining to urinate and eating rich and large meals. Mild or moderate heartburn can be treated with home remedies or over the counter medications, but severe and chronic heartburn needs medical attention. Many heartburn cases however can be prevented by making simple changes in the diet, habits and daily activity. Talk to your doctor about foods that must be avoided, and limit alcohol intake and smoking. Losing weight not only helps alleviate heartburn symptoms, but is also good for overall health.


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