It is a burning sensation in the chest that is usually accompanied by a sour or salty hot fluid at the back of the throat.
HEALTH | HEARTBURN
For some people, heartburn is a common occurrence after eating a meal, especially foods high in carbohydrates.
It is a burning sensation in the chest that is usually accompanied by a sour or salty hot fluid at the back of the throat and can lead to ulcers if neglected. Some people avoid certain foods altogether just to avoid it.
According to Juliet Mutabazi, a general medical practitioner in Kampala, heartburn is an irritation of the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach and it is a symptom of a condition medically referred to as gastro-oesophageal reflux.
Causes of heartburn and how to control it
"When the valve opens too often or too wide, some acids refluxes from the stomach back into the oesophagus and causes a burning sensation," Mutabazi explains.
She says the valve opens when one belches.
She says heartburns can be caused by drinks, food, certain medications, overeating, obesity, pregnancy, stress and certain disease conditions.
Mutabazi says eating large meals at a go expands the stomach and consequently increases upward pressure against the oesophageal sphincter, forcing it to open and the acid refluxes.
She advises people to eat food in small proportions at a time.
She also says one's sleeping posture can cause heartburn.
"The best way to sleep is with an elevated head, to avoid pressing stomach contents against the lower oesophageal sphincter," Mutabazi says.
Elevating the head higher than the stomach creates gravity which helps reduce this pressure, according to Mutabazi.
Patrick Mutagubya, a nutritionist in Wakiso district, cautions people against sleeping immediately after eating.
"Give it two to three hours to assist the movement of food and digestive juices in the stomach," he advises.
For pregnant women, heartburn is most likely to happen due to a reduction of room in the abdomen.
"Natural honey is effective in preventing and getting rid of heartburn," says Mutagubya.
It is recommended to take honey immediately after eating. He also recommends.
Raw potato juice is also a homemade remedy for heartburn. Blend the potatoes with the peels on and drink the juice to subdue heartburn.
Another natural homemade remedy for heartburn is milk.
Mutagubya says it helps to stop the buildup of acid in the oesophagus, though it should not be taken in large quantities.
Meanwhile, aloe Vera juice is effective in soothing irritation of the oesophagus and relieving pain.
He recommends adults to take approximately ¼ cup of Aloe Vera juice about 20 minutes before a meal.
"Also consider eating bananas, since they act as a natural antacid in the body," Mutagubya says.