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Acid regurgitation: Which remedies help quickly against heartburn
Around every second German suffers from heartburn every now and then. An opulent meal is often to blame. There were often enough of them at Christmas. Plus alcoholic beverages and sweets. The pain from the stomach to the throat can be extremely uncomfortable. Experts explain what helps with heartburn.
More and more Germans suffer from heartburn
Millions of people in Germany suffer from heartburn, which is usually accompanied by pain in the abdomen and chest. The "reflux disease" (reflux) has developed in the last 40 years from a rather rare phenomenon to one of the most common problems of gastroenterology, the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) reported in an older communication. "A major reason for the increase in the disease and its complications is that more and more people are too fat," said the experts.
Reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus
While it may be very uncomfortable for the stomach to feel tight and burning pain to go from the upper abdomen to the neck, heartburn can only be a cause of concern if it occurs regularly.
Professor Stephan Miehlke from the DGVS said in a message from the dpa news agency: “Occasional heartburn is not bad. It becomes problematic as soon as someone suffers from it once or twice a week for more than a month. “Those affected should then consult a doctor.
In heartburn caused by the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus, the acidic mixture of gastric juice and food residues attacks the mucous membrane. This leads to the typical symptoms: stomach pressure, burning pain, acid regurgitation and nausea.
Causes of Heartburn
The transition from the stomach to the esophagus is usually sealed by a locking mechanism. "If the functioning of this mechanism is disturbed, gastric contents can flow back," said surgeon Bernd Ablaßmaier, chief physician of the Munich Reflux Center, in the dpa report.
Heartburn can not only arise from gastric dysfunction, but also from severe stress or excessive alcohol and nicotine. Some medicines can also trigger heartburn.
“Often the trigger is heavy, fat meals. They lead to increased gastric pressure and increased acid production, ”said Ablaßmaier. This makes reflux possible.
According to health experts, the most common organic trigger is the diaphragmatic rupture, which is partly caused by being overweight and can cause stomach contents to flow upwards.
If left untreated, there is a risk of serious complications
Regardless of the cause, reflux should be prevented permanently, otherwise there is a risk of complications.
"In the long term, the acid can severely attack the mucous membrane due to its caustic effect and, for example, lead to inflammation, painful wounds and skin growths that constrict the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow," explained Professor Miehlke.
In addition to inflammation of the esophagus, malignant tissue changes such as Barrett's esophagus or, in the worst case, esophageal cancer also occur.
Treat complaints naturally
How heartburn is dealt with depends on its cause, the frequency and severity of the symptoms. The gastroentereology portal recommends, among other things: "Drink water or milk to wash away the acid in the esophagus." Or also: "Eat a small portion of raw sauerkraut, this can relieve the pain."
Basically, it can help many sufferers to adjust their habits. For example, smokers should avoid cigarettes if possible.
The consumption of alcohol, certain foods such as chocolate, fatty or spicy meals or carbonated drinks should be reduced if necessary. Overweight and obesity should also be avoided.
It is better to avoid eating shortly before going to bed. Since stress is an essential trigger for heartburn, relaxation exercises for stress relief, such as yoga or autogenic training, are available.
Other home remedies for heartburn are digestion methods, for example with the help of Swedish bitters or by chewing the food extensively ("fletching"). If nothing works, medication or, in the worst case, surgery can help. (ad)