Heartburn occurs when there is acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) as a result of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) relaxing when it should not. 

This occurs due to the weakness of the LES which makes it not to close tightly. 

The LES, which works like a gate, separates the esophagus from the stomach, but when it is not tightly closed, this separation does not happen. 

Heartburn can be difficult to cope with, but many people manage it quite well.

It has also cost some persons a reasonable amount of money trying to address it. 

If you have at any time suffered heartburn, here are five things you can do to help control heartburn. 

1. Avoid Certain Foods

One way to control heartburn is to check what you eat. Remember that it is food or substances that go into your stomach that makes loosens LES.

A Harvard Medical School report on how to control heartburn says Coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, and other caffeine-containing products loosen the LES and stimulate gastric acid production.

"Mints and chocolate, often served to cap off a meal, can make things worse by relaxing the LES.

"Fried and fatty foods contribute to heartburn. Some people say that onions and garlic give them heartburn. Others have trouble with citrus fruits or tomato products, which irritate the esophageal lining," it stated. 

2. Pay Attention To Your Eating Patterns

How you eat can be as important as what you eat.

Skipping breakfast or lunch and then consuming a huge meal at day's end can increase pressure in the stomach and the possibility of reflux.

Lying down soon after eating will make the problem worse.

3. Quit Smoking 

Smoking can irritate the entire gastrointestinal tract. Frequent sucking on a cigarette can cause you to swallow air and this increases pressure inside the stomach, which encourages reflux.

Smoking can also relax the LES.

4. Watch Your Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the odds of having GERD and experiencing heartburn.

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The Medical School also stressed that any weight gain increases the risk of frequent GERD symptoms.

Eating larger meals distends the stomach, pushes the contents up toward the esophagus and loosens the LES.

5. Certain Medications Should Be Avoided

The report stated that some prescription drugs can add to the woes of heartburn.

"Oral contraceptives or postmenopausal hormone preparations containing progesterone are known culprits.

"Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) can irritate the stomach lining. Other drugs—such as alendronate (Fosamax), used to prevent and treat osteoporosis—can irritate the esophagus.

"And some antidepressants, bronchodilators, tranquilizers, and calcium-channel blockers can contribute to reflux by relaxing the LES," it added.

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