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What is heartburn and its common causes?
Heartburn is when you feel a burning sensation in your chest and throat, behind your breastbone. It is the ache racing through the esophagus close to the heart caused by acid reflux. Heartburn occurs in the esophagus, not the heart. It can feel like warm, heat, or burning in the middle of the chest. Burning pain in the chest, intense ache while lying flat, tart taste in the mouth, sensitive throat, and struggle in swallowing can be a few symptoms you notice during heartburn. Heartburn is an irregular condition for some people and a chronic symptom for other people, occurring quite often.
Some underlying causes may trigger heartburn, hence pain, and discomfort occur.
Causes of heartburn may include:
- Inhaling smoke
- Abdominal pressure
- A heavy meal
- Indigestion and gas
- Lying down right after eating
- Certain food items
- Certain medications
The link between Bananas and Heartburn
Now this is a debatable point among the different groups. Let’s understand the link between bananas and heartburn.
Bananas are healthier alkaline foods that are commonly considered in everyone’s diet. It is a rich fiber fruit that helps food travel with ease across the digestive system and averts the chance of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux. Bananas are usually preferred while dealing with stomach issues like food poisoning and other reflux symptoms.
However, it is a necessary point to consider how ripe your bananas are when you eat them. Some people experience heartburn after eating bananas, especially if they are not ripe enough as a ripe banana can fight stomach acid and layer stomach lining to prevent heartburn. Green bananas have an extreme volume of strong starch (that elevates as the banana ripens) which can lead to abdominal uneasiness, bloating, heartburn, or further stomach complications. Having an excess of anything is also a point of concern. Although bananas help in digestion, consuming more than the required amount can cause problems.
Personal sensitivity to Bananas
Certain food items can cause intolerance to you. Now food intolerance and food allergy are two very different things that may seem the same. Food allergies can trigger several allergic reactions and involve the immune system. On the other side, food intolerance is non-immune responsive and links to conditions like irregular bowel movement, diarrhea, fatigue, etc.
Bananas may cause heartburn because of high levels of resistant starch in them which changes when the banana ripens. Consuming too many bananas can also cause digestion issues which may lead to heartburn and acid reflux. However, some people might have a condition of food intolerance with bananas, hence it doesn’t suit them.
Managing banana-induced heartburn
Tips for reducing the likelihood of heartburn after consuming bananas:
- Make sure you are eating a ripe banana as it contains less starch compared to raw bananas.
- Do not eat bananas more than necessary.
- If you are allergic to bananas, simply avoid eating them.
- After eating a banana, take some time and then lie down if you are eating it right before sleeping.
Suggestions for alternative ways to enjoy bananas without triggering heartburn:
A few suggestions for a way to consume bananas without worrying include; eating them only when it’s entirely ripened. And because it is heavy and may cause stomach discomfort, do not overeat.
Why do Bananas give me Heartburn?
Bananas don’t usually cause heartburn, as per the consensus. However, some people may experience heartburn because they are prone to acid refluxes and bananas contain something that can trigger the warm, burning pain in the middle of the chest.
Fructose intolerance can lead to acid reflux. It happens when the small intestine cannot absorb fructose and burdens the stomach. It increases intestinal sensitivity, which causes gastroesophageal refluxes.
Bananas that are not ripening enough contain high-level resistant starch which may cause gas and bloating. The level of starch changes when the banana ripens.
A low amount of sorbitol is not likely to cause any discomfort. But for people with acid reflux and gastrointestinal diseases, a small amount of sorbitol can lead to pain.
Expert Opinions and Insights
Insights from healthcare professionals or dietitians regarding banana-induced heartburn:
Dr. Jamie Koufman, a leading acid reflux expert says that for the majority of people, bananas do not cause heartburn. “Most fruits are acidic, but bananas are not. They are good for reflux.”
Registered dietician Lauren O’Connor says one reason for heartburn is, that sometimes bananas can cause bloating for some people which may lead to heartburn, especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Recommendations for individuals experiencing frequent heartburn from bananas:
Several prevention measures you can add to your routine if you experience frequent burning pain in the chest after eating bananas.
- Eating ripens bananas
- Eating bland foods
- Taking more liquid intake
- Avoid fatty acids
- Avoid anything heavy for the stomach
- Getting checked by the doctor for the same
Treatment for Heartburn
You can prevent heartburn at home with natural medications, heartburn remedies at home, over-the-counter medicines, and lifestyle changes. However, if nothing is affected and you still have burning pain in the chest after 24 hours, your doctor may include medicines like Ranitidine and Rabeprazole that you can buy from Arrowmeds. Some treatments for the diagnosis are:
- Antacids- They neutralize the stomach acid that provides relief to heartburn. However, it doesn’t repair the esophagus damaged by stomach acid.
- H2 blockers- These reduce stomach acid by blocking the chemical that produces histamine. It doesn’t work as quickly as Antacids but H2 blockers provide relief for longer duration.
- Proton pump inhibitors- These are stronger acid blockers that also help you heal your tissues damaged by acid reflux. Your doctor may recommend you take these when you have relatively severe heartburn. They help in healing esophageal ulcers as well.
- Alginates- These are the naturally occurring sugars obtained from seaweed. They help prevent acid reflux by layering and floating on top of the acid, blocking by creating a physical barrier between the acid and the esophagus. There are medicines of antacids that contain alginates to increase their impact.
Some additional prevention measures that you can consider are:
- Avoid heavy meals at night
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Consume low-fat drinks
- Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid lying flat right after eating
- Certain lifestyle adjustments
Heartburn causes pain and discomfort to people in the chest and throat. Heartburn can last from a few minutes to hours. Technically the burning pain appears in the esophagus tract which makes it difficult to swallow. It is a common acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, not in the heart. There are certain foods to help reduce heartburn, whereas certain foods you should avoid during heartburn. One controversial point that confuses people is why bananas give me heartburn when it is healthy to eat during your heartburn. Eating bananas can help prevent gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, and acid reflux. For some people, bananas may cause stomach issues because it is not ripened enough, fructose intolerance, or sorbitol. There are several treatments that you can talk to your physician about if you get frequent heartburn.
1. What foods help heartburn?
Fruits like bananas and melons, low-fat dairy foods, whole grain, brown bread, oatmeal, green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, celery, etc., root vegetables like potato, sweet potato, carrot, and beetroot, except onion, and honey are some food options that help ease out heartburn.
2. What to drink for heartburn relief?
Staying hydrated helps decrease the pain of heartburn and acid reflux. A few drink options to avert the discomfort are coconut water, water, cold milk, plant-based and low-fat milk, fruit and vegetable juices, milkshakes, herbal tea, and apple cider vinegar. During heartburn avoid certain drinks like alcohol, caffeine beverages, acidic juices, carbonated drinks, and sodas.
3. What to eat when you have heartburn?
A few foods that decrease the burning sensation in the esophageal tract include fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, whole grains, lemon water, low-fat milk, and many options mentioned above. Stay away from fast food, deep-fried food, spicy food, heavy meals, and processed snacks.
4. How long can heartburn last?
Heartburn caused by several reasons can last from a few minutes up to a few hours. However, it can last up to 24 hours or more. It should go away after you pass stool and empty your stomach.