Friday, December 14, 2012

Pregnancy Woes: Acid Reflux versus Heartburn - A Quick Fix for the Burn

Never have I had it this bad...that burning sensation in my esophagus that makes my whole chest feel like it's on fire. Blame it on the baby that is taking up the entire space in my body and pushing up on my stomach...

It's called heartburn. And, it's like a fire in my chest.

During the third trimester, little munchkin in the belly takes up every centimeter of space, and then some, and puts pressure on the bladder, and every other organ inside of our bodies, including the stomach, therefore making the stomach react in a backwards way. 

Last night, I had to find a home remedy at about midnight, after hours of "sucking it up". I simply couldn't handle it anymore, and certainly couldn't sleep. But, before I could find a solution, I had to figure out whether it was acid reflux or heartburn...because you can't treat something if you don't know exactly what it is, right?

And, okay, maybe you think I'm stupid right now, but I realized while I was surfing the 'net for answers that I wasn't the only one who got the two confused.

Okay, the short of it is: Acid Reflux is the "action", and Heartburn is the "reaction".

Acid Reflux is what is actually happening inside of your body - it's when the contents of your stomach move back up the esophagus, which is NOT the natural way things flow, by the way, in case you didn't know. When this happens, stomach acid accompanies these contents and comes in contact with the soft and sensitive lining of the esophagus.

That's the burning...and the burning, that FIRE, is called Heartburn!

So, you actually have Heartburn. That terrible, horrible, no good, very bad burning feeling that won't go away, even if you drink water!

DO NOT DRINK CAFFEINATED beverages! They will exacerbate the LES, which is the lower esophageal sphincter. That's the flapper thing that's supposed to keep the food in the stomach. Yeah, if you have heartburn, your LES is not performing the way it's supposed to. It's being lazy, and the caffeine will make it even less lazy.

So, after a bit of research, some A-ha! moments, and a long swig of some honey, my heartburn was gone. I slept well, no more burning. No, the honey didn't stop the acid reflux, but what it did was coat my esophagus so that it wouldn't be affected by the acid burn.

While some of you may be tempted to toss some honey into some tea or coffee, I would strongly insist that you drink it straight from the bottle. The thicker the honey is, the better it will coat your esophagus.

Hopefully, this works for you as well as it worked for me. Good luck with the little one...if you're experiencing heartburn during pregnancy, you're probably pretty close to holding your new munchkin in your hands for the first time. :)

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