Do You Know Your Heartburn Triggers?
Heartburn can be avoided in most cases. Avoidance typically requires a change in diet and lifestyle. But what changes need to be made? It can sometimes be a great effort to change diet and lifestyle. What if you found that only a couple changes are all you need? A heartburn journal is a great tool in helping pinpoint your heartburn triggers… foods, eating times, eating habits, reclining after a meal, clothing worn, stresses, activities, and many other things can be contributors to heartburn. Journaling may take some extra time, but it’s well worth the effort when you are having trouble pinpointing the cause of your heartburn. The insight learned from a heartburn journal can be invaluable for those who suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD.
In your heartburn journal, you should keep track of the food, time, activities that occur around your heartburn, and what you do to remedy your heartburn. Pay attention to your heartburn journal over time. You may find the triggers in a matter of days or it may take months. Some people suffer heartburn as little as once a month. Others of us may suffer from heartburn daily. Over the course of time, you will be able to decipher what’s causing your heartburn.
What to Include in Your Heartburn Journal
- What time of day your symptoms occur?
- How long after eating did it start?
- How long did your symptoms last?
Symptoms that Occurred
- Where was your pain?
- On a level from 1 to 10, what was your level of pain?
- Did you experience burping, coughing, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, nausea, sour/bitter taste or other
- What foods did you ingest?
- What did you drink?
- What clothes where you wearing when your heartburn occurred?
- What where you doing when your heartburn occurred?
- What things where happening in your environment when the heartburn occurred?
Remedy Choice Taken
- Did you take medicine? If so, what did you take?
- Did you take any natural remedies?
- Did you take an action to remedy your heartburn? (i.e. relaxation technique or standing up straight to relieve food pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Pressure on the LES can lead to heartburn.)
- Did your choice of remedy eliminate your heartburn?
- Did symptoms return? If so, how long did you have relief.
Knowing the typical heartburn trigger foods might be of great help when reviewing your results. Other lifestyle behaviors can lead to heartburn too… rushed meals, improperly chewing, eating too much, lying down after meals, exercising after meals, and wearing tight clothes are a just a few things that may be the cause of your heartburn. If you suffer from heartburn frequently and can not decipher the results of your heartburn journal after a month, you might discuss your results with your physician to see if they can determine the cause from your notes.
If a journaling isn’t your thing, what about an app? I’ve found these heartburn journal apps. If you try them and want to review them in the comments, please do. Others may benefit from your experience.
- mySymptoms Food & Symptom Tracker by SkyGazer Labs Ltd available for IOS and Android.
- Heartburn, Gerd, Acid Reflux Diary by cellHigh available for IOS and Android.
Whichever way of tracking you choose will be beneficial in narrowing down your heartburn triggers. As you eliminate those things you feel are triggering your heartburn, I would challenge you to keep up your heartburn journal. A trigger elimination plan may be needed to truly find the causes of your symptoms. The suspected food or activity may be excluded and later reintroduced one at a time to see if they were truly the problem.