One in 10 Americans experiences heartburn symptoms at least once a week. Heartburn has different triggers, including certain foods, medications, obesity, or even stress. Knowing your triggers will help you design a prevention strategy. If you suffer from heartburn it’s important to find effective heartburn remedies to prevent the acid reflux from worsening. Heartburn treatment may include medications, home remedies, or diet changes.

What is Heartburn?

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Some of the symptoms, however, are similar to those of a heart attack or heart disease. Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid. This can create a burning discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone.

With gravity's help, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. The LES is located where the esophagus meets the stomach -- below the rib cage and slightly left of center. Normally it opens to allow food into the stomach or to permit belching; then it closes again. But if the LES opens too often or does not close tight enough, stomach acid can reflux, or seep, into the esophagus and cause the burning sensation. (Comprehensive information at WebMD.)

What Causes Heartburn?

Normally, the esophagus (the tube which leads from the mouth to the stomach) has a one-way valve that protects it from stomach acid coming up the esophagus and through the valve. When a small amount of stomach acid is forced up the unprotected esophagus, the resultant chemical burn causes moderate to severe pain known as heartburn.

If this sphincter becomes weak or overwhelmed, stomach contents can be forced back up the esophagus and cause burns. This condition is called GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Even if a heartburn sufferer does not have GERD, he or she may have a temporary condition called acid reflux. During the episode of heartburn, the entire esophagus from the vocal cords to the stomach may be affected by burning pain traveling from a person's chest up to the neck and throat. Stress, sleep disorders, smoking, or drinking alcohol also can make indigestion worse.

As heartburn can indicate a more serious disorder, it is recommended that you consult your doctor if symptoms persist.

Help for Heartburn

Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to soothe and calm fiery stomachs. Melissa officinalis is well known for its soothing and calming properties as well as being widely prescribed by herbalists for the relief of all complaints related to anxiety and stress, making it a great choice when treating gastrointestinal complaints.

Mentha Piperita is an herb from the mint family and has been used for many hundreds of years for relief of heartburn. It relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of natural digestive juices and bile, thereby assisting healthy digestion. Nat sulph Is a homeopathic remedy used to help prevent nausea as well as the bitter taste in the mouth often associated with acid reflux and regurgitation.

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