Does Heartburn During Pregnancy Mean My Baby Will Be Born With Hair
Suffering from severe heartburn? You may want to stock up on baby shampoo. Research has backed up the superstition that, on average, the more heartburn you have during pregnancy, the more likely your baby will be born with a full head of hair.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When Youâre Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
How To Cure Heartburn Four Quick Fixes And Long
How to cure heartburn you ask? Well, theres no easy answer to that question.
If youve been struggling with acid reflux for any length of time, then you know there isnt a quick fix to this disease as a whole. GERD has many symptoms, one of which is heartburn. At the crux of this disease is the lower oesophageal sphincter . Located at the junction of the oesophagus and the stomach, the LES can weaken and no longer function as an effective barrier, allowing the acidic contents of the stomach to back-flow up into the oesophagus. When this happens, heartburn often follows. This weakening of the LES is progressive, so the more often you reflux, the more frequent the episodes become.
Learn more: GERD explained: The role of the LES
Medications can help relieve acid reflux symptoms by making the contents of the stomach less acidic however, they dont stop reflux from happening. Thats why managing GERD requires commitment and diligence: Watching what and how you eat and making lifestyle choices aimed at minimizing reflux can reduce your symptoms AND help stop the progression of the condition.
But sometimes, despite your best efforts to manage your GERD, heartburn strikes and you need relief . So though we cant provide a definite answer to how to cure heartburn? We can offer four quick fixes to help you cool the burn.
Sleep On Your Left Side
If youre prone to nighttime acid reflux, you may want to rethink your sleep position. Many doctors suggest sleeping on an incline, which , may help keep stomach contents in the stomach. But the side you sleep on may also play a role.
Theres evidence you could have less acid reflux while sleeping on your left side, says Dr. Khan.
In fact, many of Dr. Khan’s patients who made the switch to sleeping on their left sides after previously sleeping mainly on their backs or right sides have seen a noticeable improvement in their heartburn symptoms, he says. Some research seems to back up the idea that sleeping on your right side can make heartburn symptoms worse: In a 2008 review of GERD studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that sleeping on the right side seemed to aggravate symptoms.
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Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes
Things cinched tightly about your waist or middle can worsen heartburn. If you have super tight jeans on, when you sit down, the waistband is going to sink into your abdomen region. Same goes for tight belts-and even shirts can be a problem for some. This is because all of the above puts extra pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter, which make it more likely stomach contents, will push through and youll experience reflux.
Consider Eating Less Chocolate
GERD patients are sometimes advised to avoid or limit their consumption of chocolate. However, the evidence for this recommendation is weak.
One small, uncontrolled study showed that consuming 4 ounces of chocolate syrup weakened the lower esophageal sphincter .
Another controlled study found that drinking a chocolate beverage increased the amount of acid in the esophagus, compared to a placebo .
Nevertheless, further studies are needed before any strong conclusions can be made about the effects of chocolate on reflux symptoms.
There is limited evidence that chocolate worsens reflux symptoms. A few studies suggest it might, but more research is needed.
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Consume More Acid Like Apple Cider Vinegar
While it may seem counterintuitive, acid reflux is often caused when a patient doesnt have enough acid in their stomach. A great way to introduce more acid into your stomach is with raw apple cider vinegar. Quite tasty, it can be used in dressing and marinades, bringing a bright touch to your meals.
How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
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Natural Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux
If the worst meal experience you have had involved the line Waiter, theres a fly in my soup, consider yourself lucky. Many people in Medford suffer from acid reflux following mealtime. Personally, we think cheesecake is a much better way to wrap up dinner. Antacids and other medications arent always effective, but there are natural remedies you can use to help alleviate heartburn and make meals enjoyable again.
Foods That Fight Acid Reflux
For anyone with acid reflux, it’s probably no shock to learn that what we eat can have a significant impact on your likelihood of suffering from heartburn. Traditionally, patients have been advised to avoid acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and coffee. It’s believed that eating these foods may increase the acidity of the stomach and therefore the acidity of the contents that come in contact with the throat, exacerbating pain symptoms. Limiting these foods will not prevent acid reflux, but they may diminish the pain it causes by decreasing the acidity of the bile. In general, alcohol, peppermint, spicy food, chocolate, and fatty foods are thought to trigger heartburn symptoms and should be avoided.
Conversely, some researchers argue that eating acidic foods may actually be beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux and even recommend taking HCL, which is stomach acid. The consumption of acidic foods or HCL supplements may signal the body to slow production of hydrochloric acid, thereby decreasing the acidity levels of the stomach and acid reflux. One study found that the consumption of acidic foods successfully decreased the incidence of heartburn when coupled with a low-carbohydrate diet.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
As we briefly mentioned, being overweight can cause added pressure to build up near the stomach and abdomen. This pressure can ultimately manifest as heartburn and may pose other more serious issues later on down the road. For some, losing weight is an effective and natural remedy for heartburn.
Note: Make sure to discuss weight loss with your physician in order to find the best plan for your health.
Heartburn Relief During Pregnancy
There are two reasons why pregnant women might get heartburn. First, during pregnancy a womans body starts releasing hormones that relax abdominal and pelvic muscles in preparation for delivery. This can also cause muscles like the one that controls the valve between the esophagus and the stomach to relax, allowing acidic bile to flow back toward the throat. Secondly, as the baby grows, it puts pressure on the stomach, which can also lead to acid reflux. Avoiding trigger foods may help, along with these other tips to reduce heartburn:
- Chew slowly and thoroughly to break down the food as much as possible for digestion.
- Drink your nutrients through protein and fruit shakes.
- Eat small meals throughout the day.
- Elevate your torsonot just your headwhile sleeping.
- Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter heartburn treatments during pregnancy.
- Try sleeping on your left side, which makes it harder for acid to move backward through the esophageal valve.
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Home remedies are an inexpensive and accessible way to treat heartburn pain. If the first remedy doesnt help, keep tryingeventually, one of these options will likely work for you. But if your heartburn keeps coming back or you find that its getting worse, speak with your doctor. Remember, heartburn is a symptomyou may need to treat the problem that is causing it.
Up next: Drinking enough water is an important part of digestionbut can you drink too much water?
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When To Call A Doctor
Antacids can often relieve symptoms of excess stomach acid. However, sometimes these symptoms mean you have a more serious condition.
Antacids can only soothe, not cure, some of the symptoms of these conditions. If you have severe pain that doesnt get better after using the recommended dosage of antacids for two weeks, call your doctor.
Take Time To Eat Slowly
Many reflux and heartburn symptoms begin after meals, and eating too muchviii and too quicklyix are classic heartburn catalysts. Having five or six small meals a day is better than several large ones.viii Take time to enjoy your food, chewing slowly and eating it in a relaxed manner to head off heartburn.
Read Also: How To Make Heartburn Stop
Dont Sleep On Your Right Side
Several studies show that sleeping on your right side may worsen reflux symptoms at night .
The reason is not entirely clear, but is possibly explained by anatomy.
The esophagus enters the right side of the stomach. As a result, the lower esophageal sphincter sits above the level of stomach acid when you sleep on your left side .
When you lay on your right side, stomach acid covers the lower esophageal sphincter. This increases the risk of acid leaking through it and causing reflux.
Obviously, this recommendation may not be practical, since most people change their position while they sleep.
Yet resting on your left side might make you more comfortable as you fall asleep.
Herbal Remedies For Heartburn
Some people find herbs and other natural remedies to be helpful in treating heartburn symptoms. Here are some examples:
Chamomile. A cup of chamomile tea may have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. If you have a ragweed allergy, don’t use chamomile.
Ginger. The root of the ginger plant is another well-known herbal digestive aid. It has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for heartburn.
Licorice. Licorice has proved effective in several studies. Licorice is said to increase the mucous coating of the esophageal lining, helping it resist the irritating effects of stomach acid. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, is available in pill or liquid form.
Other natural remedies. Many other “natural” remedies have been used to treat heartburn over the centuries, but there is little scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness. Catnip, fennel, marshmallow root, and papaya tea have all been said to aid in digestion and stop heartburn. Some people eat fresh papaya as a digestive aid. Others swear by raw potato juice three times a day. Naturopathic followers also tout a homeopathic remedy with the unappetizing name of vomit nut as a heartburn fix.
Herbal remedies do not undergo testing for safety and effectiveness by the federal government. They are not approved by the FDA, and do not have to meet the same standards for manufacturing and packaging that drugs do.
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Baking Soda For Heartburn
One of the original home remedies for indigestion is baking soda mixed in water. The reason it has stood the test of time? It works! Baking soda is a base that offsets the acidity in your esophagus and your gut, says , a dietician at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. For fast relief, try mixing a half to one teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water.
Dont overdo it, though: Too much baking soda can have negative health effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are pregnant or have a chronic condition like heart disease, high blood pressure or kidney disease, speak with your doctor before trying this home remedy.
When To Seek Care For Heartburn
Dont ignore heartburn. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and increase your risk of cancer. Sometimes natural remedies and over-the-counter medications are not enough to reduce your symptoms of heartburn, and prescription medications may be necessary.
Schedule a virtual visit with a general practice doctor if lifestyle changes and medicines are not helping, if you have heartburn three to four times per week, or if you have other symptoms such as food getting stuck in your throat, vomiting or unintentional weight loss.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, dark-colored vomit, black stools, persistent vomiting, or feel like you are choking, seek care in the Emergency Room right away.
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Use Baking Soda For Heartburn
Treating heartburn with baking soda might just be a lifesaving trick as this home remedy is almost in everyones cupboard You might not even know its there! The power of baking soda comes from its ability to neutralize the stomach acid and thus calm down your burning food pipe.When the burn strikes, simply dissolve a little bit of baking soda in a glass of water and make sure you drink it slowly. And before you run to the kitchen and see whether theres any left, just wait a second. Do not use baking powder or anything similar, only baking soda! And if youre on a low sodium diet, you might want to consult a medical professional before using baking soda for heartburn.
Natural Remedy: Use Baking Soda
You may find relief from infrequent heartburn with sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. Simply mix ½ teaspoon with four ounces of water to help neutralize the acid. Note this contains sodium and should not be used if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions drugs, are pregnant or have a chronic health condition before using baking soda to relieve heartburn.
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Take A Mindful Eating Approach
Eating quickly and overeating are correlated with heartburn and reflux. Sometimes you may not even realize that you’re eating quickly or eating after your body is signaling that it’s full. Practicing mindful-eating techniques may help you slow down and listen to what your body is telling you. Here’s how:
- Eliminate distractions at mealtime. Avoid reading, checking your phone, or watching television while you eat.
- Chew each bite thoroughly.
- Eat smaller meals rather than big meals. Overeating puts more pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter.
- Pause before each meal. Take a moment to look at your meal. Observe what is on your plate and take in the smells. Also, take a moment to notice how hungry you are before you take your first bite.
Let Your Stomach Loose
Tight waistbands or belts that dig into your stomach place unnecessary pressure on your abdomen.x Swallowing an antacid and undoing the button of your pants or taking your belt down a notch or two after eating will provide instant relief. Maintaining a healthy weight is, however, a better long-term solution.
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