When To Visit Your Doctor
Some people find relief on their own, without needing to see a doctor. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux two or more times per week, however, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment as this can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who can perform tests such as:
- Barium X-rays: You drink a barium solution and then your doctor takes X-rays of your upper digestive tract
- Endoscopy: Your doctor inserts a camera into your esophagus to examine the tissue and take a small biopsy if necessary
- Biopsy: Your doctor takes a small sample of tissue from your esophagus to examine under a microscope
- Monitoring your pH levels: Your doctor monitors the acidity of your stomach
Seeking treatment for chronic acid reflux is important. Untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to cancer of your esophagus. Other complications of untreated gastroesophageal reflux include:
- Inflammation in your esophagus
- Chronic cough or breathing issues such as asthma
- Dental issues such as enamel erosion, cavities, and gum disease
Symptoms of acid reflux can also mimic symptoms of other serious conditions, such as:
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What To Do If Your Child Complains Of Heartburn
Did you know that one of the top reasons children complain about chest pain is because they actually have heartburn? I think a lot of people believe that adults are the only ones who get it, but I have been seeing more and more children complain about heartburn, and there are some common reasons why. Heartburn often creates an uncomfortable burning feeling behind the breastbone. It has nothing to do with your heart, but everything to do with your stomach and esophagus.
These days there are plenty of children who like to eat spicy foods. From hot sauce to salsa to ‘hot chips’ and ‘hot popcorn’, these types of foods are included in the diets of many of the children that I see who complain of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or heartburn. There are plenty of other items however that I think parents might be surprised to realize that can trigger it.These include:
- Fried food like chicken nuggets, french fries
- Pop, coffee, tea and caffeinated energy drinks
- Acidic foods like orange juice and tomato sauce
- Peppermint and gum
Symptoms of GERD or heartburn can often include chest pain, stomachaches, nausea, hoarseness or scratchy throat, sour burps, night cough, etc. These can be brought on by fatty foods, stress, eating large meals and even eating and lying down right after the meal.
Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
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Acid Reflux And Liquids
If you took high school chemistry, you might remember that liquids may be acidic, alkaline or neutral. The pH level is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a particular solution is. Acid not only further irritates inflamed esophageal tissue on contact, but it activates pepsin, the stomach enzyme whose primary function is to break down protein, which in turn converts into acid. That makes matters worse. A big part of managing acid reflux is avoiding acid itself.
Natural Remedies That Can Be Taken To Treat Heartburn
Heartburn is a physical condition that most people will experience in their lifetime. Many people suffer from this disease frequently, while many other occasionally. In any case, everyone should have some knowledge on very easy-to-adopt home or natural remedies that can be taken for heartburn. This will enable them to get relief in case the problem occurs at an unusual place or time, at the same time, natural remedies will reduce the dependency on medications.
Some of the home or natural remedies that one can take for heartburn are mentioned below:
- Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with water and drink it to get immediate relief from the symptoms of heartburn.
- Ginger tea in a small cup can be taken daily to inhibit overproduction of acid in the stomach.
- Having an Apple lessens the acid level in the stomach and also helps in digestion.
- Sometimes, less acid in the stomach can lead to heartburn. As the production of acid decreases in the stomach, the brain gets information that the lower esophageal sphincter can be kept loose to some extent. In such condition acid reflux may occur. So, taking foods with some natural acids may work in this condition.
- Taking lots of water is the best and easiest way to get rid of heartburn.
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Acid Reflux Sleeping Positions
You dont have to sleep sitting upright to take advantage of the effects of gravity and anatomy on the occurrence of GERD. Still, how you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how severe those symptoms are, and how long the acid sits in your esophagus.
The good news is that you can drastically change your nights by changing the way you sleep. But first, consult with your doctor if you suspect you have GERD or any other condition that may be disturbing your sleep.
Take An Acid Neutralizer
When heartburn hits and you need relief, try an antacid like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox. These medications act quickly to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which can reduce your symptoms. Dont have any on hand? Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water and drink to neutralize the acid in your stomach. Just use caution with this home remedy since its high in sodium and shouldnt be used by people on a sodium-restricted diet.
We also like H-2 blockers, also known as Histamine H2-receptor antagonists. These include such brand names a Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Tagamet, and Zantac. These medications dont work as quickly as acid neutralizers, but they are still very fast. H2 blockers should be taken about 30 minutes before you eat or when you typically experience symptoms.
The benefit of H2 blockers is that they work longer than antacids, but they dont have the same medical risks associated with proton pump inhibitors. As is true with all medications we highly recommend that you discuss use with your doctor before you begin any drug treatment, prescription or over-the-counter.
And remember that while these quick fixes may help relieve your GERD symptoms, they dont address the underlying cause of those symptoms. Your goal should be to stop reflux from happening in the first place, which is why we recommend several long-term solutions to cure heartburn.
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What Can Trigger Heartburn
Heartburn can be triggered by many different things that are a part of your daily life. For many people, heartburn can be caused by certain eating and lifestyle habits. These habits can involve things like eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime or even having high stress levels.
Certain foods and drinks can also trigger heartburn for some people. Some foods and drinks that could trigger your heartburn can include:
- Caffeinated beverages.
- Carbonated beverages.
Your lifestyle habits can also play a part in why you might experience heartburn. These everyday factors often contribute to medical conditions that cause heartburn, like GERD or hiatal hernia. Some lifestyle habits that can trigger your heartburn include:
- Being overweight.
- Having a high stress level.
- Wearing tight clothes and belts.
Adjust Your Sleep Position
Elevating your head and chest higher than your feet as you sleep can help prevent and ease acid reflux and heartburn. You can do this using a foam wedge placed under the mattress or by raising bedposts using wood blocks. Beware of piling pillows, as this usually isn’t effective and may even make your symptoms worse. Additionally, sleeping on your left side is thought to aid digestion and may work to limit stomach acid reflux.
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Types Of Otc Heartburn Medicines
There was a time when the most common OTC remedies for heartburn were either chalky antacids or medicinal effervescent tablets. Anything stronger was usually very expensive, available only by prescription, and reserved for those who were diagnosed with bleeding ulcers or other serious digestion-related conditions.
In the 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started approving OTC versions of several of these medications. Here are the three most popular types available without prescription:
Acid neutralizers use chemical bases, such as calcium carbonate, to reduce the stomachs acidity level. When a base interacts with an acid, the pH level moves closer to neutral, thus reducing the effects of stomach acid on the esophagus. Antacids provide almost immediate relief because they interact directly with stomach acids, unlike the medicines described below, which must first enter the bloodstream. The soothing effects of antacids can be short-lived, however. Common antacids include Tums, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer.
Proton pump inhibitor
Histamine 2 receptor antagonist
How Do I Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy
When youre growing a human being, you dont have time for that yucky acid reflux. But your usual go-to methods for treating it may not be safe for your unborn baby.
Instead, here are some of the safest and best ways to get rid of heartburn when youre pregnant:
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Essential Oils For Heartburn
Although the power of essential oils to ease heartburn lacks scientific data, that hasnt stopped people from touting its benefits. Edible essential oils most commonly used for heartburn include lavender, lemon, ginger and orange. Add a drop or two to hot tea or water. Not all heartburn-friendly essential oils are ingestible. Eucalyptus essential oil may be used in a diffuser or in bath water instead. While the jury is still out on how effective these oils are for solving heartburn, there are studies that indicate they can help with issues like stress and anxiety, so there is little downside to giving them a try.
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What Is The Best Diet For Heartburn
That does not have to be true, however. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be both enjoyable and heartburn-friendly if you know which foods to incorporate into your diet.
Heartburn can flare when your stomach produces too much gastric acid, and your food choices can directly affect this. Here are three meals that incorporate heartburn-reducing foods that your stomach will appreciate.
Oatmeal and Wheat: Try Whole Grains for Breakfast
Oatmeal has been a whole-grain breakfast favorite for generations. It is a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full and promotes regularity. Oats also absorb stomach acid and reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease . For something sweet, top your oatmeal with bananas, apples or pears. The fructose in these fruits is less likely to trigger acid reflux than other sugars. Of course, eating oatmeal every day could get boring, so switch things up with a warm bowl of Cream of Wheat, or some whole grain toast with peanut butter.
Avoid coffee and most teas that contain caffeine, which can cause heartburn. Instead, brew a soothing cup of ginger tea. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that will help regulate acid production.
Vegetables: Add Some Color and Nutrients to Your Lunch
Try these options for a light and tasty lunch:
- Baked potato with steamed broccoli
- Mixed green salad with fresh-cut vegetables and a light oil and vinegar dressing
- Veggie wrap or veggie quesadilla
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How To Get Rid Of Heartburn While Pregnant
Here are some easy tips you can try at home to get rid of heartburn and indigestion:
Well, the nights are difficult for new mums. From the acid flux sensation to the tiredness of the day, nights are no longer rest time.
So, we gathered some changes you could incorporate into your routine.
Right below, we explore how to get rid of acid reflux while pregnant.
First on the list is the best way to get rid of heartburn at night while pregnant.
Antacids For Quick Relief
H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors work better than antacids, but if you need something for very quick relief, antacids are an option. Antacids dont do anything to prevent GERD, but they can be used on demand for symptom relief. They are cheap and available over the counter.
Common antacids contain and/or magnesium , and provide relief of heartburn within 5 minutes. However, they only work temporarily for 30 to 60 minutes tops.
Side effects of antacids are mild and include constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. Dont overuse them: Some brands contain calcium, and too much calcium can lead to kidney stones.
If your symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks with an antacid, you may need a stronger medication.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Heartburn
Studies show that reducing overall body weight has a positive impact on reducing heartburn symptoms. Eating a diet full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables can help lower your overall body mass. Exercising regularly, even just taking a walk around your neighborhood, can also help you lower body weight, and help you sleep . Cutting back on smoking, caffeine intake, and alcohol consumption significantly reduces heartburn attacks and also promotes better sleep.
Antacids, an over-the-counter medication, can manage mild heartburn symptoms by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. They are effective in reducing symptoms but require frequent administering and should not be taken longer than a few days.
Check with your doctor before starting any medication. If over-the-counter medication does not help, your doctor may be able to prescribe additional medication.
What Medications Can I Take For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Its important to be extremely careful about the medications you take when pregnant.
For heartburn relief, over-the-counter antacids are all considered safe medications to use during pregnancy.
As always, consult with your provider about any medications youre taking even if theyre considered safe.
If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking an over-the-counter medication, call your doctor immediately.
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What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn
There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .
Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.
Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.
Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.
When Should I Call My Doctor About My Heartburn
Even though heartburn is common, it can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. Severe, chronic heartburn has been linked to inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough, GERD, and Barretts esophagus, which may lead to esophageal cancer.
You should contact your doctor if:
- Your heartburn wont go away.
- Your heartburn symptoms become more severe or frequent.
- Its hard or hurts to swallow.
- Your heartburn causes you to vomit.
- You have had substantial, unexpected weight loss.
- You take over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks and you still have heartburn symptoms.
- You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription medicines.
- You have serious hoarseness or wheezing.
- Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities.
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Understanding The Fire Within
It has nothing to do with your heart, so why call it heartburn? Probably because its easier than saying esophageal burn. Heartburn is caused by acid escaping from your stomach up into your esophagus. Your lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to prevent that. But sometimes it relaxes or doesnt close properly and the acid escapes. Unlike the stomach, the esophagus isnt meant to house acid, so thats when you feel the burn.
If you think you may suffer from heartburn please speak to your doctor or healthcare provider.