What aspects can be the cause of heartburn in a hectic lifestyle?
Poor eating habits – There are different elements that contribute to poor eating habits. The first is eating a diet rich in foods that have a direct link to acid reflux (I. E. fatty foods, pre-packaged foods high in additives and preservatives, alcohol, coffee, tea. Etc. ). Unfortunately, many of these foods make up the regular diet of those leading a hectic lifestyle.
To make matters worse, those that are controlled by their busy schedule tend to –
- Skip meals
- Eat at irregular times
- Ingest larger portions when they do eat
- Rush down their food
- Are physically active after eating
Each of these poor eating habits can be hard on your stomach. For instance, eating large portions creates a distended stomach that is full of food. This places pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This pressure can result in stomach acid traveling back into the esophagus creating acid reflux, which can be the cause of heartburn.
Tobacco use – Tobacco can make acid reflux a more prominent problem. Nicotine is deposited in the back of the throat and can corrode the esophageal lining. Furthermore, tobacco also inhibits saliva production. Saliva is one of the body’s natural defenses against damage to the esophageal lining.
Poor sleeping habits – Lack of sleep can increase stress, and leads to the use of more caffeine stimulants such as tea, coffee and soda, which can increase the risk of acid reflux. In addition, eating before bed slows digestion. Other sleeping habits that can be the cause of heartburn includes sleeping without the proper elevation of your head (less than 6 inches) and lying on your back or stomach.
Stress – Although stress does not directly cause acid reflux it encourages the condition. The reason is because stress triggers bad habits such as eating fatty “comfort foods”, smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating late at night. Moreover, stress has been known to increase pain sensitivity.
Medications – There are a number of medications that can affect the LES and be the direct cause of heartburn. Some of these medications include –
- Tricyclic antidepressants - I. E. amitriptvlline
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – I. E.aspirin, ibuprofen
- Sedatives and muscle relaxants
To add insult to injury, not only can these drugs aggravate the esophageal lining, many people ingest them without drinking a full glass of water or lie down directly after. These actions can increase acid reflux risk. Additionally, repeatedly taking antacids to cure your heartburn can lead to negative side effects including headaches and stomach distress (I. E. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation).
Here are three ways you can effectively reduce the recurrence of acid reflux in your hectic lifestyle -
1. Control your diet and don’t rush through meals – Instead of skipping meals, eating out, or making pre-packaged dinners, consider eating small portions throughout the day. Make the time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and don’t rush through your food. Also, give yourself 20 minutes after you eat to digest. Drinking water can also help aid in digestion.
2. Give up bad habits – If you smoke, regularly drink alcohol, drink excessive amounts of carbonated beverages or those that contain caffeine, it’s time to cut back or avoid these practices completely.
3. Reduce stress – Engage in regular low impact exercise such as walking, swimming and bike riding. Make sure you get a goodnight sleep and take the time to enjoy activities you like.
Despite how hectic your life may be, it is imperative that you make an effort to reduce the elements in your lifestyle that can be the cause of heartburn.
By Kathryn Whittaker: For more great tips on reducing heartburn naturally sign up for the free newsletter, which looks at the many and varied cause of heartburn possibilities. On the site you'll also find more about the different kinds of acid reflux treatments and whether an acid reflux diet will help.