What causes heartburn?
If you are overweight, wear tight fitting clothes, or are pregnant you may experience heartburn due to the increase of pressure on your abdomen. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Randy P. Martin about what causes heartburn.
If you're markedly overweight or you wear tight-fitting clothes, that increases the pressure in your abdomen, and it's more likely that gastric contents will reflux up
into the esophagus.
Heartburn is really a very common condition. And by "heartburn," we generally mean an intense pain or burning sensation sort of in the middle of your chest
or in the pit of the stomach. It often is brought on or is worse when you lay down, lean over, or it actually can wake you up
in the middle of the night. So what causes heartburn? Well, I'm going to take you to medical school now and give you a quick anatomy lesson.
Connecting your mouth to your stomach is a food pipe called the esophagus, and at the bottom of the esophagus, just as it joins the stomach is a small, muscular ridge,
a circular ridge of muscles, that are called the lower esophageal sphincter that actually contracts to keep gastric acids from going up
into the esophagus. And when those gastric acid reflux up into the esophagus, that causes you to have heartburn.
It actually burns the inner lining of the esophagus, or so it seems. So what causes heartburn? Well, obviously, if you're markedly overweight
or you wear tight-fitting clothes, that increases the pressure in your abdomen and it's more likely that gastric contents will reflux up
into the esophagus. Interestingly, pregnant women get a lot of heartburn, due to both the increase in the abdominal pressure
from the increasing size of the uterus. And also the hormones during pregnancy actually relax that lower esophageal sphincter,
that little muscle ridge, and cause gastric contents to reflux more commonly. Other things like smoking can cause it,
and very Interestingly is, certain food substances, peppermint, chocolate, and a high fatty content meal
will really cause you to have a lot of reflux and to have heartburn. So how do you prevent heartburn? Well, obviously, if you're overweight, try to lose weight.
If you're smoking, stop smoking. If you're wearing tight-fitting clothes, loosen those up. Don't eat a lot of fatty foods and then lie down.
Don't eat a big meal and then lie down. In fact, after a meal, it's great to take a walk and to not eat anything for a couple of hours
before you lie down. And eat small meals. And if you're having problems, look at your diet. Are you getting a lot of peppermint in the diet?
A lot of people like to get peppermint after a meal, and it actually might be causing heartburn. And don't eat a lot of fatty foods.
Browse videos by topic categories