Even though many individuals tend to ignore or endure heartburn, this condition can be quite dangerous, even deadly in the long run. Basically, heartburn is the process of stomach acid getting splashed onto one's esophagus. When ignored and left untreated, it can evolve into acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease or, ultimately, esophageal cancer. Alternatively, when left raging, heartburn can evolve into a condition called Barret's esophagus, where esophageal cells change into columnar cells, becoming prone to cancer.
The Main Cause of Heartburn
The main trigger of this condition is the malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ringed muscle at the lowest part of the esophagus. This muscle relaxes once we are eating food, allowing it to enter our stomach. Later on, it contracts, keeping stomach acid locked in the areas where it belongs. Naturally, any kind of damage or dysfunction affecting the lower esophageal sphincter can result in heartburn and all the above mentioned complications once stomach acid escapes the digestive system and reaches the upper parts of our organism.
Triggers of the Trigger
The previously mentioned condition is mainly a cause which itself is caused by something else. Namely, the food we eat plays a very important role in the health of our digestive system. Acidic food can aggravate the problem, leading to acid reflux. Besides eating improper food, not chewing it enough can contribute to heartburn occurrence. Additionally, lying down after eating, eating too much, smoking, drinking alcohol or taking specific drugs, are all possible triggers of heartburn, acid reflux and other troublesome conditions of this type. Raw onions and garlic, chocolate, spicy food and fried food can make our lower esophageal sphincter numb or slow, resulting in this condition as well.
Possible Treatments for Heartburn
As with most diseases, you can opt for a holistic treatment or specific medications targeting the main problem. Commonly used drugs for this kind of treatment are Tagamet or Zantac, PPIs, Nexium or Prilosec. These medications reduce the production of stomach acids, thereby stop the acid reflux and heartburn. However, this also affects the digestive process. Moreover, these drugs usually have numerous side effects which overshadow their purpose.
As for the holistic approach, you are to treat the cause and the disease itself, instead of concentrating solely on the symptoms. This is usually achieved with alternative medications and approaches, which have no side effect and pose no dangers to the user, curing the disease behind heartburn.
Consuming vegetable juices of raw potatoes, celery and cabbage will do wonders for our stomach acid balance. Also, papaya juice can soothe our stomach and, thereby, remove heartburn. Additional herbs to be used are Slippery Elm, bladderwrack and marshmallow, again soothing the troublesome areas and removing any inflammation, serving as protective layers later on.
All in all, there are many holistic approaches to solving this digestive system problem. Find the best, natural ones and live free of heartburn.