Feeling The Burn?
Find out more about heartburn and tips on how to ease that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest.
Yes, we are talking about that uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest after a generous hearty meal.
If you also feel bloated on a frequent basis and keep burping, what you are experiencing could be a condition called heartburn.
The term ‘heartburn’ can sound quite misleading as this uncomfortable sensation has really got little to do with our hearts. Heartburn actually occurs in the digestive system. The name “heartburn” was probably given because of the burning sensation experienced in the chest area that is caused by acid reflux.
In Singapore, 1 in 10 people suffer from regular acid reflux.1 Acid reflux occurs when the circular muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), that joins your esophagus and stomach together is weak and/or doesn’t tighten properly, causing the acid from your stomach to move backward into the esophagus. 2 As the lining in your esophagus is more delicate than the lining of your stomach - this results the aforementioned sensation of heartburn. Heartburn usually occurs after a meal and can be worsen if the person lies down or bends over.
Besides the burning in your chest, other symptoms of heartburn can include:
- Excessive burping
- Sour taste in mouth after eating
- Poor appetite
- Feeling there is a lump in your throat
Tips to ease heartburn
1. Wear loose fitting clothing
Tight fitting clothing can put pressure on your abdomen and affect your digestion. Try to wear comfortable pants or loose dresses that allow you to move and sit easily, especially on days when you know that you are going to have a big meal.
2. Avoid lying down after a meal
Wait for at least 2 -3 hours before lying down after a meal.3 Your body needs to be in an upright position to digest food and lying down can lead to indigestion. In the same way, avoid late night meals to ensure sufficient time for digestion before you go to bed.
3. Avoid large meals
Try to eat 4 to 5 small meals a day instead of consuming a large lunch or dinner in order to pace your digestion. When eating, be sure to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Avoid watching TV while eating as it can become a distraction and cause you to overeat, which can trigger the release of more stomach acids.
4. Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn
Certain foods have the potential to aggravate and trigger heartburn more than others. Avoid citrus fruits and juices, caffeine-based drinks, spicy and high-fat food, as well as alcohol. Taking note of what you have been eating and when heartburn occurs can also help to draw links on which food is affecting your digestive system.
5. Try supplements that strengthen the spleen and stomach functions
According to the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the underlying cause of heartburn is Qi (energy) flowing in the wrong direction, causing your stomach contents to rise towards your esophagus instead of moving downwards.
As the spleen and stomach is central to digestion and considered as vital organs in TCM, a weak spleen can also be the cause of heartburn. The spleen works closely with the stomach to take in, process and distribute nutrients to other parts of the body; hence imbalances in either of these organs could cause digestive problems. Supplements like LAC GastroRX Relief can help restore the balance between the spleen and stomach to improve body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and excrete waste better. As such, it will relieve indigestion-related symptoms including bloating, excessive burping and heartburn.
1 Gan, E. (2014, June 4). New drug to help patients stomach acid reflux. Retrieved October 22, 2019, from Today Online: https://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/health/new-drug-help-patients-stomach-acid-reflux
2 Nall, T. K. (2017, February 8). Heartburn vs. Acid Reflux vs. GERD. Retrieved October 22, 2019, from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/heartburn-vs-acid-reflux
3 Hean, D. P. (2017, November 8). What is causing your Heartburn? Retrieved October 22, 2019, from Health Plus: https://www.mountelizabeth.com.sg/healthplus/article/gerd-heartburn