Tag Archives: heartburn

The Pregnancy Heartburn Myth: Why Acid Reflux Affects Expecting Mothers and How You Can Lessen Your Symptoms

Expecting mothers often complain about painful heartburn throughout their pregnancies–and it’s often attributed to silly things.

For example, some people believe the amount of heartburn you experience while pregnant will be an indicator as to how much hair your baby will have…or even what gender your baby will be.

The truth is, however, it’s not actually the heart that is “burning”…it’s acid reflux. And, sorry to tell you, but there’s a really logical medical reason it happens, which has nothing at all to do with whether your baby will have flowing locks or not.

If you or someone you know is pregnant and is dealing with painful acid reflux symptoms, keep reading, because today I’m going to share why this condition happens and how you can ease your symptoms naturally.

Check it out…

Why Acid Reflux Affects Pregnant Women

If you’ve never ever experienced acid reflux symptoms, but you’re suddenly dealing with heartburn, regurgitation, burning, sore throats, etc.; you may be wondering “why now?”

After all, you’ve got enough other unpleasant symptoms to worry about with being pregnant…it’s really unfair you have to deal with acid reflux as well.

Yet, the majority of women who bear children tend to experience acid reflux at some point during their pregnancy.

There are two main reasons this occurs–and no, they have nothing to do with the wives’ tales about heartburn that you may have heard floating around.

The first reason is hormone changes.

Acid reflux occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t completely close after food consumption. This allows for food and stomach acid to travel back up your esophagus.

When you experience hormonal changes due to pregnancy, the hormones can cause your esophagus muscles to relax more than they should. This leads to uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms.

The second reason acid reflux occurs in pregnant women is due to the growth of a baby in the uterus.

As a baby grows, he/she takes up space which, in return, moves and shifts the body’s organs.

This increased pressure and absence of normal space can cause food to travel back up your esophagus, once again causing acid reflux issues.

How to Naturally Soothe Acid Reflux Symptoms During Pregnancy

I personally don’t believe medications are the safest solutions to managing acid reflux…especially if you’re pregnant.

Instead, here’s what I recommend…

Solution #1 – Eat Small Meals throughout Your Day

If internal pressure is what’s causing you to suffer from acid reflux symptoms, eating small meals throughout your day might greatly reduce your acid reflux symptoms.

Eating small meals limits the volume of food matter in your stomach. The less food that’s there, the more difficult it is for the food to be pushed back up your esophagus.

Instead of doing three big meals a day, eat 5-8 small meals and snacks.

Solution #2 – Maintain a Healthy Weight

Most women will gain weight during pregnancy–and that’s a good thing!

But too much weight also contributes to painful acid reflux issues.

If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about safe ways you can reduce your weight while you’re pregnant.

No matter what your weight is, be sure to continue to include exercise and healthy eating habits into your daily routine so you don’t gain too much weight during your pregnancy.

Solution #3 – Stay Upright after Eating

Lying down after a meal makes it easy for food and stomach acid to travel up your esophagus. If your LES is weakened, without a doubt, you’ll experience painful acid reflux symptoms.

In order to avoid this, I recommend that you stay upright after eating.

To lessen your symptoms even further, I recommend that you…

  • Abstain from eating at least 2 hours before bed.
  • Go for a walk after you eat–movement aids in digestion.
  • Sleep propped up with a pillow.

Looking for more helpful information on managing acid reflux symptoms while pregnant? Here’s some important info on why you should avoid proton pump inhibitors if you’re expecting.

Do I Have Acid Reflux or Heart Attack Symptoms?

Before we plunge into understanding whether you have acid reflux or heart attack symptoms, let me start off by saying this:

If you’re experiencing chest pain or signs of a heart attack, seek medical help right away. Delay can put your life at risk, and I encourage you to call 911 immediately.

Having said that…

Let’s address the fact that, when you think about GERD, images that come to your mind may include…

  • A person clutching his or her stomach in discomfort.
  • A medication commercial featuring a fire-related theme.
  • An ad that promises you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite foods.

Messages like these can lead you to think that acid reflux is mainly a gastric issue related to the foods you eat. The problem is, GERD can involve much more than a burning feeling in your stomach.

In fact, your GERD symptoms can masquerade as an oncoming heart attack. Keep on reading because, in this article, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between acid reflux and heart attack symptoms so you better understand this topic.

Let’s dive in…

Acid Reflux or Heart Attack: The Similarities in Symptoms

To begin with, both heart attacks and GERD have similar warning signs…which can be a bit unnerving.

For instance, whether you have acid reflux or a heart attack, you might experience chest pain. As Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., the editor in chief for the Harvard Health Letter, explains…

The nerves that carry pain signals from the esophagus also carry pain signals from the heart, since both the esophagus and heart are located in the chest.

In fact, the Cleveland Clinic reports an astounding statistic, noting that GERD “causes 22 to 66 percent of non-cardiac chest pain.”

However, chest pain isn’t the only symptom shared between these two health conditions. Both heart attacks and GERD also share symptoms such as nausea and shortness of breath.

In the midst of this confusion, the good news is, there are some ways to distinguish between a bout of acid reflux and a heart attack…

Acid Reflux or Heart Attack: The Differences in Symptoms
While GERD symptoms and heart attack symptoms do share some similarities, their outward signs aren’t identical.

For instance, in the case of a heart attack, a person might experience…

(For more information on heart attacks, be sure to check out this resource from the American Heart Association.)

Tired of Thinking Your Acid Reflux Is a Heart Attack?

Maybe you’ve panicked—again and again—over false alarms…only to learn your GERD was to blame.

Maybe you can relate to Jill Moore.

As Jill explained, “Every time I took ambulance rides to the emergency room, I thought I was in cardiac arrest. But really, it was just my acid reflux, which controlled my life.”

Even though Jill took two pills a day (not to mention more medications to counteract the side effects of her prescription)…she wasn’t seeing results.

As Jill said, “I thought there was nothing I could do to eliminate my acid reflux.”

However, today, Jill no longer suffers from debilitating reflux like she once did…and she’s no longer making trips to the ER.

What changed?

Instead of masking her symptoms, Jill took steps to naturally address her GERD and regain her health with my Cure Your Acid Reflux System—an approach designed to reverse acid reflux symptoms without harmful medications.

Ready to find relief from heartburn and pseudo heart attacks? Click here to take the first step toward relief.

couple working out at the gym

Why and How Exercise Can Reduce Acid Reflux

 

From changing your sleeping position to adapting your diet, it’s a known fact that lifestyle changes can significantly reduce acid reflux symptoms.

With symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion, acid reflux and GERD sufferers are pretty keen on trying any and all suggestions to minimize flare-ups.

One recommendation to naturally reduce acid reflux is to begin or increase your weekly exercise regimen.

If you’re someone who’s always been an exercise fan–whether it be going to a local yoga class twice a week or swimming laps at the gym every morning–that’s great.

However, if you don’t currently have an enthusiasm for exercising, it’s understandable that you would be a bit more hesitant to dive into fitness.

In this post, we’ll provide you with an overview for why and how exercise can help reduce acid reflux symptoms along with what types of exercise you should try to lessen your symptoms.

Once you’re equipped with this knowledge, it’s easier to feel more motivated to prioritize fitness in your life.

Read on to find out more!

Why Exercise Is Important in Decreasing Acid Reflux

woman jogging at sunset

(Source)

Of course, exercise is a beneficial lifestyle factor in the lives of everyone–whether they have acid reflux or not.

The reasons that exercise is particularly important for GERD sufferers have to do with the affect that weight can have on the lower esophageal sphincter, also known as the LES.

Weight puts pressure on the LES, which prevents it from opening and closing at a fast enough rate.

If the LES functions at a slower pace, acid is more likely to pass through the LES and travel back up through the esophagus–creating the dreaded symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.

Therefore, obesity is a common factor when it comes to GERD–but you don’t need to be obese for there to be an effect.

Researchers in one study found that, “even in subjects with normal body weight, the risk of heartburn increased with weight gain despite the fact that the body mass index remained in the normal range.”

The researchers also determined that simply losing 10 to 15 pounds can reduce heartburn by 40 percent.

Types of Exercise That Reduce GERD Symptoms

Feeling motivated to become more active yet intimidated by the prospect of exercise?

No need to feel as if you need to immediately transform into a fitness junkie that can drop and do 50 pushups on command.

Taking baby steps will ensure that your fitness routine will become a sustainable practice and routine in your lifestyle.

For example, the best kinds of exercise to reduce acid reflux include…

  • Walking
  • Tai chi
  • Light jogging
  • Water aerobics and swimming
  • Stationary cycling
  • Upright yoga poses

In addition to helping you burn calories and lose weight, these exercises boost your immune system.

This is key because a healthy immune system works to rid your body of bacteria–including bacteria in your digestive system.

In particular, H. pylori (HP) is bacteria that, according to Sepalika, can be found in the lining of your stomach and affects approximately 66% of adults.

A study published in The Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons found that “significant evidence suggests the potential role of HP infection in the development of GERD.”

It’s also important to note that there are several exercises that can actually worsen acid reflux. These include…

  • Vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running and heavy cycling.
  • Weight lifting, since it often puts internal pressure within your abdomen and can affect your LES.
  • Anything that involves lying flat or bending down, since the pull of gravity can affect your LES and cause more heartburn and indigestion. This can include certain Pilates or yoga poses, as well as surfing. In fact, according to a study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, acid reflux was “significantly higher” in surfers versus non-surfers at a ratio of 28% to 7%.

Remember, don’t expect yourself to immediately become a pro at any type of exercise you try. Take it one step at a time.

If you make it a sustainable practice over time, you’ll begin to see how exercise can reduce acid reflux.

That said, exercise isn’t the only lifestyle modification needed to reduce acid reflux.

Learn more about how food can significantly affect your GERD symptoms.

motherhood, pregnancy

4 Ways to Soothe Acid Reflux During Pregnancy

The nine months of expecting a child is a thrilling time for soon-to-be mothers (and fathers!).

From decorating a baby room to selecting a name, there’s a range of exciting elements that occur over the course of the nine months in preparation of welcoming a son or daughter into a family.

However, as per usual, good things in life also come with a few less-than-ideal aspects–one of which can be acid reflux.

Expectant mothers-to-be often experience heartburn and indigestion that come along with acid reflux due to the fact that they have higher levels of progesterone, which is the hormone that relaxes muscles in pregnancy.

Along with relaxing the uterus during pregnancy, progesterone also relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the esophagus.

You can guess what happens next–stomach acid easily passes up through the esophagus, causing the uncomfortable symptoms of indigestion and heartburn.

Here are four ways to minimize these symptoms during pregnancy, enabling you to have a more enjoyable and comfortable experience in the nine months before your child is born.

#1: Wear loose-fitting clothes.

heartburn, loose clothing, pregnancy, acid reflux

(Source)

If you’re determined to continue to wear tight-fitting jeans during your pregnancy, you might as well give up your goal of minimizing acid reflux symptoms.

Tighter clothing puts more pressure on your abdomen, which increases the likelihood of acid traveling up through your esophageal sphincter.

Instead, opt for wearing looser clothing. With a range of stylish and comfortable maternity wear available online or at various stores, you don’t have to worry about finding appropriate options.

#2: Eat smaller meals–slowly.

eat slowly. acid reflux, heartburn

(Source)

Similar to the way that wearing tight clothing can put pressure on your abdomen, contributing to heartburn and indigestion, eating large meals has the same negative effect.  

Therefore, rather than eating three large meals a day, aim to eat five or six smaller-portioned meals.

Additionally, rushing through your meal won’t do you any favors.

Try to eat your food at a relaxed pace, enjoying each delicious bite. This will also help ensure that you don’t unintentionally overeat.

#3: Don’t eat right before sleeping.

clock, acid reflux, nigh time snacks

(Source)

I get it–life can get busy, and sometimes you find yourself eating at the end of the day, just before you head to sleep.

However, it’s best to allow your body the time to digest food before lying down to sleep. Otherwise you may find yourself awakening to painful heartburn in the middle of the night.

Aim to eat dinner two to three hours before bedtime, and you’ll be golden.

#4: Sleep upright.

Once you have digested and are ready for bed, it’s important to note that the position in which you sleep matters.

Elevate your head and upper chest so that they are higher than your abdomen. Doing so discourages acid from following upwards into your esophagus.

Incorporate the four tips above in your day-to-day life, and I guarantee you’ll experience less instances of heartburn–making your pregnancy experience more enjoyable!

Looking for the perfect pillow to help you achieve the ideal sleeping position? Learn about an excellent option in my post This Acid Reflux Pillow Can Work Wonders.

3 Acid Reflux Myths

hot wingsAcid reflux myths. What don’t you know?

Acid reflux sufferers deal with more than just the pain and discomfort of flare-ups—they also struggle with misinformation. The surplus of information out there on GERD and chronic reflux contains its share of acid reflux myths, and we want to help educate you on what might be true, and what might be worth disregarding.

Knowing what info to trust will help you lead a freer, healthier life as you can put the legitimate solutions to practice—and ignore those remedies that might only harm you in the long run.

Drink Less Liquid with Your Meals to Reduce the Likelihood of Flare-ups: True

Staying hydrated between meals is far better for your body than overindulging in liquids while you eat.

When you drink too much during a meal, you’ll only dilute the acid in your stomach, which leads to discomfort, bloating, and belching. Using a smaller glass and drinking less will also decrease the likelihood of increasing the pH of your stomach juices—something that causes trouble for your esophageal sphincter.

Give Up Hot or Spicy Foods If You Have Acid Reflux: False

The outcry against spicy foods when it comes to acid reflux is noticeable. They say when acid reflux is a problem, spicy food is the first thing that should go, but the evidence against your favorite hot sauce or Mexican dish is underwhelming.

Although spicy foods can trigger heartburn, there’s no hard proof that giving them up will improve or cure your acid reflux. Eating spicy foods in moderation and making other lifestyle changes can be much more effective in the long run when managing your acid reflux.

Medication Is the Only Way to Treat Acid Reflux Successfully: False

Many people who suffer from acid reflux commit themselves to antacids and other drugs to mitigate and fight heartburn. When they find temporary relief, they depend on those medications for long-term relief as well, but they may risk long-term side effects instead.

Natural remedies such as lifestyle changes, massage, and meditation have proven themselves capable of eliminating flare-ups and even acid reflux altogether.

Natural remedies promote a healthier life by considering the bigger picture. Depending on over-the-counter antacids or prescription proton pump inhibitors won’t do anything to change what triggers your acid reflux, or address the behavior that leads to it.

Part of how we treat acid reflux is through education and support. We want to help you understand what might be causing your acid reflux so you can eliminate triggers or change behaviors that may be provoking flare-ups. Food sensitivity tests and one-on-one consultations provide the kind of support structure designed to treat the symptoms of acid reflux and the condition itself.

Acid Reflux Treatment: What’s Stress Got to Do with It?

stressed girlThere’s more to acid reflux than meets the eye…er, your gut. Food is commonly cited as the culprit for intense heartburn, GERD, and other symptoms / consequences of acid reflux—but what about stress?

Let’s look at what stress can do to us.

Being stressed out can lead to…

  • Overeating.
  • Distracting yourself with food.
  • Eating the wrong kinds of food.
  • Becoming an unconscious eater.

Okay, so food still plays a big part in acid reflux, but you see what we’re getting at: being stressed or letting the pressures of life bring you down can lead to unhealthy habits, which in turn triggers acid reflux flare-ups.

It makes sense that if you cut stress out of your life, you might also be kicking your acid reflux to the curb.

Now, say you already suffer from acid reflux. That in itself can be a stressful experience. Sudden flare-ups. Uncertainty about whether that next bite of food is going to help or exacerbate your problem… Suffering from GERD feels hopeless at times, but the important thing is to know that you are not alone, and you can implement natural acid reflux treatments to keep it from ruling your life.

And what’s more natural than moving to a place where stress bears no weight in your day-to-day life?

Managing the stress associated with acid reflux is doable, even from the comfort of your own home. Meditation is a great way to reduce the stress you experience, with life or with your acid reflux. Simply by reaching a calmer state of mind, you could find your center amidst unwanted flare-ups.

Whether you’re dealing with the emotional turmoil of suffering from acid reflux, or you think stress is what’s causing that chronic heartburn, we’re here to help. Contact us to speak with a naturopath who cares, and start living a happier, stress-free life.