When an individual suffers from symptoms of heartburn over extended periods of time and it is left untreated, this can lead to Barrett’s esophagus. The cell structure in the esophagus changes from a normal squamous cell lining to an abnormal columnar cell lining and becomes a risk factor for esophageal cancer. There are two types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell and adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is linked to GERD or symptoms of heartburn. Adenocarcinoma usually occurs in the lower third of the esophagus. The more severe, more frequent and the longer the symptoms of heartburn, the greater the risk of Barrett’s esophagus and adenocarcinoma.
There are many heartburn home remedies to alleviate symptoms of heartburn and the ensuing risk of Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer. Below is a list of solutions which everyone with symptoms of heartburn should engage in.
– Certain foods can cause irritation to the esophagus and increase the stomach’s production of acid. Common irritants include spicy foods, fried foods, tomato sauces, fruit juices, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine.
– Eliminate tobacco, it decreases lower esophageal sphincter pressure and reduces salivary secretion.
– Avoid eating large meals, this stimulates sensors that affect lower esophageal sphincter relaxation.
– Avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime.
– Elevate your head and shoulders and avoid from laying flat at all times. This will help keep stomach contents from entering your esophagus.
– Eliminate sucking on candy or chewing on gum as these increase the amount of swallowed oxygen and lead to belching and symptoms of heartburn.
– Limit your intake of ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications which inhibit the formation of prostaglandins and increase symptoms of heartburn.
The following supplements have been known to be very beneficial in preventing the symptoms of heartburn and ensuing Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
– Aloe Vera
– Fennel seed
– Licorice root
– Slippery elm bark
– Turmeric root
– Digestive enzymes
Frequent heartburn over a long period of time can be an indication of other problems. An aggressive program of dietary supplementation should not be undertaken without the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.