Do You Have Frequent Heartburn?

The name "heartburn" is a bit of a misnomer, as your heart is not affected at all. Frequent heartburn is a problem of your digestive system. The "burn" part of the name is all too accurate. When you have heartburn, you have a burning sensation in your chest, usually behind your breastbone, and up your throat. This burning sensation is your stomach acids going up your esophagus. This annoying and obtrusive burning can make life miserable for anyone afflicted. This happens often after eating and can go on for hours, making sleeping a difficulty and leading a normal life practically impossible.

You're Not Alone

The National Heartburn Alliance reports that at least 50 million Americans suffer from frequent heartburn. It is a common complaint, especially with modern processed foods and a high stress, low-exercise lifestyles. You don't have to be a certain age to get frequent heartburn, but it does usually begin when you reach your twenties. When you were a kid, your digestive system was a lot more resilient. Now, you have to watch what you eat like a hawk.

Frequent heartburn is a terrible annoyance, which if left untreated, can lead to many other health problems. But it is often easy to treat with diet and lifestyle changes as well as new prescription and over the counter medicines. If you have frequent heartburn for over two weeks, contact your doctor. The sooner you are diagnosed with frequent heartburn, the sooner it can be treated.

Compensatory Behaviors

Perhaps you've gotten into some habits to avoid the recurrences of frequent heartburn and thus try to ignore your problem. Such habits include:

* Sitting up for a half hour after eating or drinking

* Purposefully avoiding spicy foods

* Drinking a carbonated drink immediately after eating to make you burp and get some relief

* Wearing looser clothing and avoiding all belts or girdles

* You take over the counter heartburn medication before eating, sleeping and exercising

If you are doing two or more of these behaviors, you have frequent heartburn. Do yourself a favor. Go to the doctor. Although you can get great temporary relief from some over the counter heartburn medication, you can actually damage your digestive lining if you take too much of it for too long. Getting the medication that can target your frequent heartburn will save you time, money and sleepless nights in the long run.