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 chest bone. The basic cause of heartburn is a lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that does not tighten as it should allowing stomach acid to reflux or seep into the esophagus causing a burning sensation. Hearburn can also be caused by; overeating; meals high in fats and oils; stress and a lack of sleep can increase acid production causing heartburn. Other contributors include foods that relax the LES such as tomatoes, garlic, chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous but chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD) may be signs of a serious condition that requires treatment under a doctor's supervision.
Heartburn can often be prevented through;
- Maintaining a reasonable weight
- Eat smaller meals and try not to overeat
- Wait 3 hours after eating before you lie down
- Elevate the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches
- Avoid foods that and beverages that can make your symptoms worse.
Source: Webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/understanding-heartburn-prevention. Source: Webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/understanding-heartburn-basics