Crystal’s Heartburn 101

Before I becamse vegan, I used to have chronic heartburn. I think it had a lot to do with my being lactose intolerant, more than anything else. When I went vegan, my heartburn pretty much went away. I rarely get it unless I’ve eaten a lot of greasy foods in combination with inactivity or some other very rare circumstances. So whenever I get heartburn, I can’t help but wonder what the cause of it.

A couple of years ago, I swimming at a night swim with the Triathlon Club when it hit me hard. I thought I was going to throw up, which really sucked because I was going hard on that particular swim workout. However, I pushed through it and ended up being all right. Since then, I periodically get heartburn during the nighttime swim with the Triathlon Club. I think this is due to two things:
1) Exercising late at night is not optimal because of eating constraints and energy levels. Timing supper to give one enough time to digest food is difficult. Not to mention recovery eating after the workout. Also, I know I’m not the only one who gets wired after a workout and am left unable to sleep when I get home and want to eat everything in sight.
2) The position during swimming is quite horizontal. According to www.heartburnalliance.org: “Episodes of heartburn can also be precipitated by body position, certain movements, and/or exertion, such as lying down, bending over or strenuous exercise. One of the defense mechanisms limiting the reflux of gastric acid is gravity. In the upright position, gravity tends to prevent gastric contents from moving upward into the esophagus. When the body position is altered, the protective effect of gravity may be reduced. Lying down tends to decrease the effects of gravity. Bending over can also decrease the effects of gravity and increase abdominal pressure, increasing the potential for acid reflux.”

This is some food for thought for all those hearburn sufferers out there. I’m definitely going to talk to my doctor about it and see if there are options, that don’t include taking ant-acids, to hinder the presence of heartburn in my nighttime swims.

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