10 Ways To Stop Heartburn During Periods
The connection between menstruation and indigestion is often overlooked, so in this blog, we delve into one common symptom – heartburn. We discuss how to stop heartburn, what causes it, and how to know that it’s time to see your doctor.
Hormonal changes during your period lead to increased stomach acidity and heartburn.
For relief, stay hydrated, avoid fatty foods, and use a heated bottle for accompanying cramps.
If you experience nausea and chest pains along with the heartburn, see a doctor.
Did you know?
The sensation of heartburn has nothing to do with the heart - it is called “heartburn” because the burning sensation is felt in the chest area, behind the breastbone.
For many women, the arrival of your menstruation period brings with it unexpected visitors like indigestion. This is why several women report experiencing symptoms like heartburn, which interferes with your comfort during the handful of days of your menstrual window. Not to worry – heartburn during your period can be alleviated naturally and this is what we cover in this blog. We also share why heartburn coincides with some of your periods and when to know that it’s time to speak to a medical professional.
So, let’s dive in!
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a common condition characterized by a burning sensation in the chest or throat area. It occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (food pipe), causing irritation and feelings of discomfort. The primary culprit behind heartburn is often a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that separates the stomach from the food pipe.
So, what can you do if you experience heartburn during your period? Let’s talk about this in the following section!
How To Stop Heartburn During Periods
Here are some ways to get relief from the discomfort of heartburn during your menses:
1. Dietary Changes: Identify and avoid foods that commonly trigger heartburn, such as spicy, acidic, or fatty foods. Also, limit caffeine and chocolate intake as both of these substances can contribute to acid reflux. You can always have a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar after your period has passed, and for sugar cravings, consider sugary fruits like grapes.
2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water can help neutralize stomach acid and prevent dehydration, which may make your experience of heartburn worse.
3. Herbal Teas: Drink herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger, or peppermint. These may help soothe the digestive system and provide relief from heartburn. Also, some herbal teas can be excellent for promoting deeper sleep at night, so you’ll be getting double the benefits!
4. Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and may help alleviate heartburn. You can try ginger tea or chew on a piece of fresh ginger and rinse with a warm cup of water.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, can contribute to heartburn. So, engage in regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight to steer clear of this effect.
6. Eat Smaller Meals: Instead of large meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help prevent overloading your stomach and reduce the likelihood of heartburn.
7. Avoid Late-night Eating: Refrain from eating large meals close to bedtime. Allow at least 2-3 hours between your last meal and bedtime to give your body time to digest the food. Otherwise, when you lay down to sleep, you may start feeling the heartburn growing in your chest area as food still digests while sleeping.
8. Raise the Head of Your Bed: Elevate the head of your bed by about 6 to 8 inches to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus while you sleep.
9. Manage Stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Stress can contribute to heartburn, so finding ways to relax may be beneficial
10. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Antacids: OTC antacids like calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide can help neutralize stomach acid. However, it’s essential to use them as directed by your physician and not rely on them excessively.
To understand why these tips work, let’s look at the sneaky reason behind your period-related heartburn in the first place. We discuss this in the next section.
Why Do I Get Heartburn Before My Period?
The hormonal fluctuations that accompany the menstrual cycle can impact various bodily functions, including the digestive system. Some women experience an increase in stomach acid levels leading up to their period.
This surge in acidity can contribute to the onset of heartburn symptoms. Also, changes in hormone levels can affect the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), potentially allowing stomach acid to move more easily into the esophagus.
Heartburn is one of the lesser-known experiences around your menstruation period, but there are a host of other symptoms of period-related indigestion. Let’s look at them in the next section.
Other Symptoms Of Period-Related Indigestion
Here are some symptoms that you may experience along with the feeling of heartburn during your period:
1. Bloating: Hormonal changes, particularly an increase in progesterone levels, can lead to water retention and bloating in the abdominal area. Drinking lots of water helps reduce this effect.
2. Gas: Some women also experience increased gas production during their menstrual cycle. This leads to general flatulence, which can make you even more uncomfortable.
3. Constipation or Diarrhea: Hormonal fluctuations can affect bowel movements, leading to either constipation or diarrhea. It helps to eat foods that are higher in fiber content, especially fruits like bananas, to avoid these symptoms.
4. Abdominal Pain or Cramps: Menstrual cramps can sometimes be accompanied by abdominal discomfort or pain that may be mistaken for indigestion. To gain relief from these cramps, consider a heated water bottle like our Snuggler. This is a gently-weighted and microwavable device that you can place on your lower abdomen for soothing warmth.
5. Nausea: Some women also feel nauseous or experience a general sense of discomfort in the stomach. Usually, the hormone-like substances called prostaglandins are behind this feeling as it begins circulating close to your period window.
6. Changes in Appetite: Hormonal changes may also influence appetite, leading to changes in your eating habits.
7. Food Cravings: Hormonal changes can also contribute to food cravings, and indulging in certain types of food may exacerbate indigestion.
These symptoms vary from woman to woman, and not everyone will experience period-related indigestion. Now you may be wondering, “How common is heartburn during periods?”. Let’s talk about this in the next section.
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How Common Is Heartburn During Menstruation?
Heartburn during menstruation is relatively common for some women due to hormonal changes, particularly increased progesterone. These changes can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to acid reflux.
Not all women experience it, and factors like sensitivity, lifestyle, and diet play a role. While usually temporary, persistent or severe indigestion should be discussed with a medical professional.
So, let’s now turn to some tell-tale signs that you need to visit the hospital if you’re experiencing heartburn.
When To See A Doctor
While occasional heartburn is common and usually not a cause for concern, there are certain sneaky signs you need to look out for, like:
1. Severe Chest Pain: If you experience intense, crushing chest pain or discomfort, it could be a sign of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention immediately.
2. Pain Radiating to the Arm, Neck, or Jaw: Pain that spreads to the arm, neck, or jaw may also be indicative of a heart attack and requires immediate medical attention.
3. Shortness of Breath: If you have difficulty breathing along with heartburn, it could be a sign of a more serious condition such as a heart or respiratory issue
4. Persistent or Worsening Symptoms: If your heartburn persists despite lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, or if it is getting worse over time, consult with a healthcare professional.
5. Difficulty Swallowing: Difficulty swallowing, or the sensation of food getting stuck in your throat, may indicate a more severe condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other esophageal issues.
6. Unexplained Weight Loss: If you are experiencing unintentional weight loss along with heartburn, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem and should be evaluated by a doctor.
7. Nausea or Vomiting: Persistent nausea or vomiting along with heartburn may be a sign of complications and requires medical attention.
8. Chest Pain in People Over 50: If you are over 50 and experiencing chest pain or discomfort, even if you think it’s just heartburn, it's crucial to seek medical attention due to the increased risk of heart-related issues in this age group.
If you are uncertain about the severity of your symptoms, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice
Managing heartburn during periods involves understanding the underlying causes, and exploring safe and effective relief methods. By taking a proactive approach and incorporating suitable remedies like heated water bottles, you can navigate through your menstrual cycles with a little more comfort and ease. If you experience shortness of breath along with your heartburn, seek immediate medical attention. Other symptoms to look out for are nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain.