What is Chronic Heartburn?

Those who suffer from chronic heartburn will tell you what a terrible affliction this could be. It all starts with a few episodes of heartburn and if left untreated, in no time it escalates to chronic heartburn. You know you reached this stage when you experience heartburn almost constantly, after every meal or rather after anything you put into your mouth.

What Causes Heartburn?

Heartburn is nothing but the return of food from the stomach along with acid and undigested food particles as well as bile. This is why people find this leaving a terribly vile taste in the mouth. The reflux (or return of food) occurs when the "gate" (the lower esophagus sphincter or LES) swings inwards and lets the food escape from the stomach back into the esophagus, to the mouth.

How Does Heartburn Graduates Into Chronic Heartburn?

Usually, when heartburn occurs, one should immediately identify the triggers and eliminate them. Side by side one should take all other precautions to prevent its occurrence. However, sometimes it is not possible to do so. When this happens, the simple heartburn fast develops into constant and then chronic heartburn. You know you are suffering from chronic heartburn when there is absolutely no respite for you even when you take medicines.

Chronic heartburn is usually diagnosed by a special test such as barium x-ray, pH testing and determination, endoscopy and so on. Once the tests determine that you are indeed suffering from chronic heartburn, the treatment is started immediately. This includes H2 receptor blockers and prokinetic activators which will forward the cure by their strength and focused intervention.

The treatment usually has dual aims - one is to reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms and allow the person function as normal as possible and two - to prevent its re-occurrence after the course has been completed.

Of course, the best cure is prevention - and hence all your efforts should go in preventing it from happening in the first place. This would require discipline of food habits, proper diet, and exercise and to some extent meditation and/or yoga. If you are prone to heartburn, avoid fat, milk, aerated drinks, coffee and tea (with milk and without), citrus fruits and so on - because these are specifically heartburn triggers.

Other than that you should ensure that you have plenty of water and regular small meals instead of large and far in-between meals. Eating habits count for more than 67 per cent of the reasons for heartburn. Your eating habits can make you healthy or sick - choose wisely.