Heartburn can rear its ugly head after only a few drinks – this is how:

We all know how good it feels to unwind after a long day with a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail with friends, however if you suffer from heartburn that relaxation isn’t long lived once you have that drink.  62% of heartburn sufferers said in a recent study that alcohol triggered their symptoms at least weekly or monthly.

There are a few ways that drinking alcohol can set off your heartburn:

First off, alcohol can increase the relaxation of the ring of muscle (lower esophageal sphincter) that keeps stomach acid in the stomach and out of your esophagus.  A weakened LES can allow acids to then reflux, or flow backward, into the esophagus when it normally would not. This refluxing causes continued irritation to the esophageal wall that causes the heartburn and ultimately damage to the esophagus.

Secondly, alcohol can cause the progressive contractions that occur with swallowing food to become erratic. Typically the muscles of the esophagus contract and relax to take food down the throat to the stomach and to keep acids from coming back up from the stomach and causing damage to the esophageal lining. This irregular rhythm can allow acid to enter the esophagus.

A third issue is caused because beer and wine can increase the acidity level in the stomach – this can also trigger heartburn.

Last but not least, alcohol has been shown to make the esophagus more sensitive to acidic conditions and cause inflammation or swelling in its protective lining. A study reported participants above average levels of acid in their esophagus after drinking only 12 ounces of red wine with their meal. The esophagus was exposed to acid three to four times longer than if participants had consumed tap water.

Natural Treatment for Acid Reflux – lifestyle changes.

Do you know what your Heartburn triggers are?

Learning to recognize your heartburn triggers is an important step toward preventing the damage that can be caused. Alcohol is just one of many possible triggers.  To get rid of acid reflux, start a daily activity log to track your heartburn symptoms and what things you did or consumed prior to the heartburn, you will be well on your way to lessening the severity of the symptoms.  There are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce your suffering from heartburn.  The two most effective lifestyle changes (natural treatment for acid reflux) according to John’s Hopkins are losing weight and sleeping with an elevated mattress (the head of your bed elevated on a gradual incline).