This Factsheet Is About Heartburn & Acid Reflux
Heartburn is extremely common, affecting up to 1 in every 4 of UK adults. It is a chest pain that occurs after eating, lying down, or bending over and is most usually described as burning. The pain is located at the lowest end of the breastbone in the centre of the chest. The discomfort often rises upwards and outwards.
Acid reflux is the regurgitation of some stomach contents including gastric acid into the oesophagus. Itis the major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease . Reflux mostly occurs without us being aware that it is happening.
Does Heartburn & Acid Reflux Need To Be Monitored And If So How
Many people find their symptoms improve greatly if they change their lifestyle. Others may need to take medicines from time to time or long-term, depending on the results of an endoscopy. There are some people for whom drug treatment is not suitable for one reason or another. In such cases, your GP may then refer you to your local hospitals Gastroenterology Department for their advice. The specialist may choose to measure the amount of acid you are refluxing over a 24-hour period. This is called pH monitoring. The test is often useful when considering if anti-reflux surgery would be appropriate.
What Are You Going To Do To Cure Your Heartburn
Are you simply going to treat the heartburn with short-term remedies or are you going to attack the real underlying problem that is driving your symptoms? I suspect that the larger long-term recommendations are a bit intimidating and you are not sure if you can make that type of commitment. You are not alone.
Here is an approach that may help you ease into building your path to relief and good health:
We know you can do this because so many others before you have succeeded. Dont delay, this is your disease and its your quality of life that is at risk. You can do this!
This article is from Reflux MD
Medical Resources Used for This Article
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Side Effects Of Antacids
Side effects from antacids are rare. However, they can occur, even when you use them according to the directions.
How A Doctor Can Help
If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.
GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.
The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center
GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.
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Antacids H2 Blockers Ppis Our Pharmacists Explain The Options
Fortunately, pharmacies stock plenty of safe, effective remedies so many, in fact, that it can be confusing trying to figure out which one is right for you. So, we asked some pharmacists for help. Heres a rundown on the three classes of heartburn remedies, courtesy of The Portland Clinic pharmacy team.
Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox and Mylanta are the fastest-acting heartburn relievers. They take effect in less than five minutes by quickly neutralizing acid in the stomach. For mild heartburn after a meal, antacids offer quick relief that lasts about 20-30 minutes. They come in a variety of strengths, so check labels for dosing information. In general, you shouldnt use antacids more than four times a day. If you find yourself reaching for them frequently, it might be time to try a different one or to switch to one of the stronger remedies.
Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac are some of the more well-known H2 blockers, so called because they block a chemical called histamine that prompts the stomach to make acid. They take longer than antacids to bring relief about 30-45 minutes but the relief lasts 4-10 hours. H2 blockers can be used to relieve mild or moderate heartburn, or to prevent it when you anticipate heartburn . You also can combine H2 blockers with antacids for quicker relief. Just dont take H2 blockers more than twice a day, or for more than two weeks if you use them regularly.
Proton pump inhibitors
Heartburn Medicine Factors To Consider
When shopping for a new heartburn medicine, there are a number of important factors to consider. Some consumers might only need short-term relief from occasionally eating trigger foods. Others might need a longer-term treatment for chronic acid reflux, GERD, or a sensitive stomach. It isnt unusual to experiment with different types of heartburn medicines in order to find the one that brings the most reliable relief. Here are some important factors to consider while looking:
Relief onset time: While traditional antacid brands offer relief in seconds or minutes, H2RAs and PPIs generally take hours or even days. This delay isnt necessarily a bad thing since these medicines provide longer-term relief. When comparing H2RAs and PPIs, keep in mind that H2RAs usually have a faster onset time, but the effects of PPIs last longer. If faster relief of an occasional bout of heartburn is the goal, try an H2RA first. For more frequent acid reflux, a PPI might be more appropriate.
Mechanism: Different types of heartburn medicine use different mechanisms to address the same basic problem. Antacids chemically neutralize stomach acids but dont affect acid production. H2RAs enter the bloodstream and block acid production. PPIs actually shut down acid production. Consumers should consider the severity and frequency of their heartburn symptoms and shop accordingly.
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Where Did 10000 Steps Come From
When wristband fitness trackers first became popular, those of us who wore them became indoctrinated with the 10,000-step goal. It was a tough goal! And hitting it sometimes felt like the biggest accomplishment of the day.
But where did the 10,000-step goal even come from?
It turns out this magic number is the result of a Japanese study dating back to 1965 and its stuck with us ever since . This study looked at how physical activity corresponded to health in older women. The study found that many older women were fairly sedentary , and that taking closer to 5,000 steps per day reduced a womans risk of death by almost half. This risk was further reduced by stepping even more beyond 5,000 steps, but leveling off around 7,500.
So how did we end up with a 10,000-step goal instead of what sounds like shouldve been a 7,500 one? The thought is that 10,000 steps is just easier to remember, making for a simpler message to market.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.
They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.
It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.
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Top 10 Heartburn Foods
Making changes to your diet is a great way to help ease heartburn. You can start by avoiding foods that are likely to worsen your symptoms and then add in other nutritious foods. There are no specific diets for acid reflux, but these top 10 heartburn foods might help:
High fiber foods keep you feeling full for longer. This can stop you from overeating, which might trigger heartburn. Fiber-rich diets have also been linked to lower acid reflux risk. Eating whole grains like oatmeal and whole grain rice can help.
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes are great sources of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Try roasting, grilling, or broiling sweet potatoes with other root vegetables like beets and carrots. Roasting brings out sweeter flavors and avoids frying, which can trigger heartburn. Make sure to leave out the garlic and onions, which can be irritating.
Ginger is well known for its soothing digestive effects. It can help with gas, nausea, and bloating, and its anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe an irritated digestive system. If you normally enjoy coffee, try switching to ginger tea. You can add a slice of fresh ginger to a mug of hot water.
Fruits are part of a healthy diet, but citrus fruits can trigger heartburn. Instead, focus on eating watery fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Extra water can help dilute stomach acid and ease your symptoms.
What Is The Quickest Way To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Taking antacids is considered the quickest way to get rid of heartburn. These over-the-counter medications help neutralize stomach acid. They are one of the first recommended treatments. They may provide quick relief. However, antacid overuse can cause problems such as diarrhea or chronic kidney disease, especially if they contain aluminum and magnesium.
Other common ways to get rid of heartburn include
- H2 receptor blockers: These medications work to reduce the amount of acid that is made in the stomach. While they do not work as quickly as antacids, they provide longer relief for up to 12 hours. Examples of these include Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, Zantac and Axid AR. Although most people have no problems taking them, long-term use can cause vitamin B12 deficiency leading to an increased risk of bone fractures.
- Proton pump inhibitors: This class of medications block acid production. They also help to heal any damage caused to the lining of the esophagus. They are much stronger than the H2 receptor blockers and include Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix and Zegerid. Excessive use of these medications can cause diarrhea and nausea, vitamin B12 deficiency and an increased risk of bone fractures.
- Baclofen: This medication works to strengthen the muscular valve present at the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. However, it may cause nausea and fatigue in some people.
- Surgical procedures: In rare cases, these are required to help with severe heartburn symptoms.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
When To Seek Care For Heartburn
Dont ignore heartburn. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and increase your risk of cancer. Sometimes natural remedies and over-the-counter medications are not enough to reduce your symptoms of heartburn, and prescription medications may be necessary.
- An Everyday Online visit is a convenient option for diagnosis and treatment of heartburn, as well as to help determine if your heartburn symptoms point to acid reflux or GERD .
- Schedule a virtual visit with a general practice doctor if lifestyle changes and medicines are not helping, if you have heartburn three to four times per week, or if you have other symptoms such as food getting stuck in your throat, vomiting or unintentional weight loss.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, dark-colored vomit, black stools, persistent vomiting, or feel like you are choking, seek care in the Emergency Room right away.
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Heartburn Relief: Simple Remedies To Put Out The Fire
- The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
- Pay attention to the foods that trigger heartburn for you and eliminate them from your diet.
Heartburn occurs when the muscular valve between your stomach and esophagus loosens or doesnt completely close, allowing stomach acid to escape into your esophagus. You may be very familiar with the symptoms of heartburn that burning sensation just below your breast bone, that can rise up into your chest. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
If you experience occasional heartburn, there are simple things you can do to identify the cause, and ways to prevent the burn.
How Is Heartburn & Reflux Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you to describe your reflux symptoms and the length of time you have had them and review the need for prescribing you acid-suppressant medication. Should you require such medication long term or the treatment is not working, and your symptoms continue or return, your GP may request an endoscopy. This will ensure there are no underlying problems with your oesophagus or stomach. Up to half of all patients with symptoms that suggest they have reflux turn out to have only mild inflammation or an oesophagus that looks quite normal.
Cytosponge: This is a new test that is available in some areas of the UK to identify Barretts oesophagus in people who have persistent heartburn and reflux symptoms. For the Cytosponge test you swallow a small capsule with a sponge inside, which is attached to a piece of thread. Approximately 7 min after swallowing it, the capsule dissolves in the stomach, and the sponge inside is released and then a nurse removes the sponge by pulling on the thread. On the way out the sponge collects cells from the oesophagus lining so that the laboratory can check if there are any changes in the cells.
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How Do You Make Salad Dressing Less Acidic
Salad dressing is one of the less acidic choices that you can use on your salad because its made up of vinegar, water, and other ingredients.
The salad dressing that you make at home is probably less acidic because youre adding a bit of oil to it, but if you want to reduce the amount of acid in your salad dressing and improve its health benefits, here are some things that you can do:
What Causes Heartburn And What Does It Feel Like Exactly
Stomach acid is needed to break down the food you eat, something your stomach has no trouble handling. Your esophagus, on the other hand, is irritated by it.
To keep stomach acid in your stomach and out of your esophagus, a circular ring of muscle at the tube’s base, called the lower esophageal sphincter, acts as a valve. When this valve is relaxed, food you’ve consumed is allowed to pass through to your stomach. When contracted, this valve prevents this food and acid from backing up into your esophagus.
If this valve relaxes abnormally and stomach acid is allowed to travel back into your esophagus, acid reflux occurs. Heartburn is the most well-known and obvious symptom.
It can feel differently depending on its severity, but heartburn symptoms include:
- A burning sensation in your chest, behind your breastbone
- Burning pain that rises up toward your throat
- Having a bitter or sour taste in your mouth
Acid reflux and heartburn are sometimes caused by an underlying medical condition, or even a medication you’re taking in some cases. But, more often than not, they’re triggered by things like your diet and lifestyle choices making the occasional bout of heartburn fairly common.
Common triggers of heartburn include:
- Overeating or eating too quickly
- Lying down too soon after eating
- Consuming certain foods, including caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, peppermint, citrus, tomato-based products, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
- Being overweight
- Stress and anxiety
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