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February 7, 2011

GERD and Heartburn

GERD and heartburn tend to go hand in hand, although just because you have heartburn doesn’t mean you have GERD.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is caused by a weakening of the muscles surrounding the esophagus and diaphragm that keep food flowing in one direction. When these muscles get too weak, food and stomach acids are allowed to flow up into the esophagus where they don’t belong. Prolonged, frequent, or chronic exposure to stomach acids can cause GERD and long term damage to the esophagus.

People who suffer from heartburn more than twice a week are often diagnosed with GERD. Other symptoms of GERD include regurgitation of bile, hiccups, belching and a general feeling of discomfort in the stomach.

Causes of GERD and Heartburn

GERD and heartburn tend to have very different causes. GERD is caused by aging, is a condition you are born with, or can be the result of a recent bad stomach bug that caused prolonged periods of vomiting or straining of stomach muscles.

Heartburn is caused by any number of things, including the food you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, your lifestyle, how much stress you’re feeling, what type of clothes you wear, and whether or not you smoke.

Help for GERD and Heartburn

Because heartburn is often the result of GERD, they can be treated in much the same way. If you have either GERD or heartburn or both, you should avoid foods that spurn heartburn for you. If you don’t know what those foods are, keep a log of what you’re eating and then you’ll be able to look back and point directly to what caused your most recent episode. Then, moving forward you can avoid that food.

You should also modify the amount of food you consume at any one time. GERD complicates the digestive process because of the weakened muscles, so eating less in each sitting makes digestion easier for your body. To compensate for the loss of food, eat more often.

Additionally, work towards de-stressing your life. While day to day activities cause normal amounts of stress, and sometimes it can’t be avoided, due to things like death, breakups, kids, finances, etc., you do have control over the way you respond to certain stress triggers. If you need help learning how to cope with life’s stressors without causing your body harm, consider seeing a therapist. They can help you learn healthy ways to purge stressful reactions from your life. Stress is known to result in too much acid in the stomach, causing heartburn and pain and doesn’t allow GERD to heal at a normal rate, so reducing stress can be extremely beneficial.

Another thing you can try is modifying when you eat. Take strides not to eat right before bed, as that gives food and acids easy access to your esophagus, especially where GERD and the weakened muscles meant to keep food down are involved. Try not to eat less than two hours before you lie down for a nap or get into bed and you should have better luck keeping GERD and its symptoms away.

GERD and heartburn are often closely associated with one another. For more information on these two conditions, how they’re related, and how you can naturally cope with them, visit today.

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February 4, 2011

What are Causes of Hiatal Hernia

Are you wondering what are causes of Hiatal Hernia? Many people are. Sometimes a cause for a Hiatal Hernia is difficult to point to, but there are a few things that can commonly be blamed.

One is inherited weakness of the muscles surrounding the diaphragm. This allows the stomach to more easily become displaced than it would in a normal person. This is an especially apparent cause for kids that suffer from Hiatal Hernias.

Another is excess straining, like during a stomach illness that involves severe vomiting or diarrhea. Continuous contraction of stomach muscles can easily cause the stomach to become dislocated and result in a Hiatal Hernia.

Additionally, an injury to the area can often result in a Hiatal Hernia. Something like a severe and intense blow to the stomach can easily push things out of place.

Some factors that can increase your risk of contracting a Hiatal Hernia include smoking, obesity and aging.


Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia often closely resemble heartburn and include a burning sensation in your chest, indigestion, belching, hiccups and chest pain. However, chest pain associated with a Hiatal Hernia is never accompanied by shortness of breath or numbness in one of your arms. If you’re experiencing that type of chest pain, it could be a heart attack and you should seek medical attention immediately.

Dealing With It

Dealing with a Hiatal Hernia can be difficult at times, as it can be such a painful condition. However, by applying a few simple lifestyle changes you can help your body heal faster and be over it that much quicker.

First watch what you eat. Foods that are known to cause heartburn should be avoided. That means things like garlic, citrus and acidic fruits, caffeine, onions and alcohol should all be consumed in moderation.

Second try not to over eat. It’s better to eat a small meal now, and then again when you get hungry in a few hours than to eat a huge meal that would sustain you all day. This is because your stomach is already stressed and traumatized, so overpowering it with a huge amount of food will cause it to work even harder to process it all.

Third, avoid eating too close to bed time. That allows food and acids to build up in your stomach and potentially make their way into your esophagus, which would further irritate your hernia and subsequent heartburn. Don’t eat less than two hours before bed so that your stomach can properly heal while you’re sleeping.

Fourth, do what you can to remove or deal with stressors in your life. Stress is not generally a factor when considering the causes of Hiatal Hernias, however it can defiantly impede your body’s ability to heal from a hernia. This is because it causes the body to produce extra stomach acids, which irritate the esophagus and stomach, rendering the healing process somewhat counterproductive.

If you are still wondering what are causes of Hiatal Hernias, or just want more information on the digestive disorder, visit today for the latest information on what Hiatal Hernias are and how to treat them naturally.

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