Its name may cause many to construe heartburn as a symptom that affects the heart but in reality, heartburn doesn’t have inkling to any heart disease. It is basically a burning sensation that begins to build up in the upper abdomen, just behind the breastbone and makes your chest feel like it is on fire (which is why it is called heartburn). The smoldering feeling and pain doesn’t restrict itself to the chest region and travels all the way up to the throat region with the sufferer then experiencing sour taste sensation or else feels like food is re-entering his or her mouth.

Heartburn symptoms can be triggered by a number of factors namely acidic foods, alcohol, cigarettes and medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma. However one other chief cause that is primarily associated with heartburn is pregnancy. Countless pregnant women, many of whom who had never had heartburn anytime before suddenly develop the disorder overnight. The phenomenon has resulted in heartburn now being labeled as sign of pregnancy. But should women be taking heartburn symptoms as definite signs of pregnancy? This is our topic of discussion in this article.

Before analyzing the relationship between heartburn and pregnancy, it’s important to know why heartburn is triggered. Heartburn is caused when the stomach acid refluxes, that is the acid in the stomach finds its way into the esophagus. The acid in turn enters the esophagus causing the person both irritation and pain. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, an ailment where the esophagus functions improperly is known to be the most common heartburn symptom but hormonal changes during pregnancy too can lead to this ailment.

During pregnancy, the placenta in a woman’s body produces the hormone progesterone which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus and loosens the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. However the latter action causes gastric acids to seep back up the esophagus causing an unpleasant feeling. Moreover, progesterone slows down the wavelike contractions of the esophagus and intestines thus making digestion sluggish. Later during pregnancy, the growing baby crowds the abdominal cavity causing stomach acids to be pushed back into the esophagus and this then causes heartburn symptoms.
Thus from this analysis, we can conclude that heartburn is a sign of pregnancy but all pregnant women don’t suffer from heartburn symptoms, so it is hard to generalize. What you can do to prevent heartburn is to avoid foods and beverages that result in a gastrointestinal distress. Avoid alcohol, chocolate, caffeine and all types of acidic foods. Shun eating big meals and during meals, avoid drinking large quantities of fluid during as it can trigger heartburn. Don’t eat close to bedtime and while sleeping, keep your upper body elevated so as to prevent acids from flowing back into your esophagus. Give up smoking as it causes acidity and can increase your chances of contracting heartburn.

There are also several medicines available in the market, popularly known as H2 blockers that reduce the amount of acid that the stomach makes and these have been known to be extremely effective in curing heartburn symptoms. However it would be best if you take a doctor’s opinion before using them. Heartburn though uncomfortable is generally a harmless disease and with these tips you will be hopefully able to overcome it.

Author's Bio: 

The author advises women suffering from heartburn symptoms not to worry as it is harmless and advocates the usage of H2 blockers such as zantac and ranitidine that have a proven track record of curing heartburn.