What Should You Know About Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .
Do most people get heartburn?
Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.
What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?
How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
How can you get rid of heartburn?
Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,
- eat a healthy diet,
- sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
- Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.
Types Of Prescription Drugs Used For Heartburn Treatment
There are a number of drugs prescribed by the doctors to treat heartburn. The chemical composition for them is generally common in most of them, what differs is their label which is different according to the brand.
Most common prescription drugs fall into two types namely histamine type 2 receptor blockers/antagonists, proton pump inhibitors and pro-motility agents.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
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Side Effects From Misuse
Many of the side effects of antacids come from not taking them as directed.
Many antacids including Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums contain calcium. If you take too much or take them for longer than directed, you could get an overdose of calcium. Too much calcium can cause:
Excess calcium can also lead to alkalosis. In this condition, your body doesnt make enough acid to function properly.
If you feel like you need to use a lot of an antacid for relief, that might be a sign of another condition. If youve taken an antacid according to the directions and havent gotten relief, talk to your doctor.
Antacids can interfere with the function of other drugs. If you take other medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using antacids.
Some antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, contain aspirin. The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert about this type of antacid in June 2016. This alert was issued because of reports of serious bleeding related to aspirin-containing antacids.
If you take another medication that increases your risk of bleeding, such as an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug, you shouldnt take these antacids.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking aspirin-containing antacids if you:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment
Patients at Johns Hopkins benefit from our unique multidisciplinary center, specializing in GERD and other reflux disorders. Specialists from different fields, including surgery, gastroenterology and ear, nose and throat, meet to talk about challenging reflux cases. We discuss the cases and create individualized treatment plans. Our high volume and advanced technology combined with expert specialists means you are getting the superior care you deserve.
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St Josephs Offers Cutting
St. Josephs Health brings together some of the leading gastroenterology experts in the tri-state area to set a new standard of care for patients with digestive diseases. Whether you are managing a chronic condition or taking preventive measures for your health, the St. Josephs Gastro Center is here to help you regain your health and lifestyle.
For many patients with a digestive disease, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist a physician specializing in the digestive system. They may also send you for diagnostic tests or recommend treatment options that could include medication, a GI procedure or surgery.
GERD: ACID REFLUX
If I Have Heartburn Should I See My Health Care Professional
That depends. If a person has heartburn more than three times a week for at least two weeks, he or she should see a health care professional. On the other hand, if a person only has occasional bouts of heartburn, he or she may find that taking nonprescription antacids and making some simple changes in lifestyle can resolve the heartburn. If these measures do not help, then a visit to a health care professional is warranted.
If a person has any of these symptoms, with or without heartburn, call a doctor or go to a hospital emergency department right away:
- Throwing up blood or passing blood in bowel movements
- Severe pain, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Difficulty swallowing
With proper understanding of the condition and treatment, relief can be attained.
When I have chest pain, how can I tell whether it is my heart or just heartburn?
Sometimes a person can’t tell the difference. Just like chest pain from the heart, heartburn sometimes spreads from the chest to the jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. If a person has chest pain for any reason, seek medical care immediately.
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Tif And Other Endoscopic Therapy
Transoral incisionless fundoplication is an option to address GERD. TIF can mean a shorter treatment time, less pain and faster recovery compared to laparoscopic surgery. The procedure involves using a special TIF device to create a passageway for a flexible, tube-like imaging instrument called an endoscope. The procedure allows the physician to use preloaded tweezers and fasteners to repair or recreate the valve that serves as a natural barrier to reflux.Currently, there are clinical trials testing the efficacy of endoscopic therapy for GERD. One form of therapy uses an endoscopic sewing machine to place sutures in the stomach and increase the anti-reflux barrier.
TIF Procedure for GERD | Frank’s Story
Severe Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
There are at least 47 things to remember when it comes to acid reflux and pregnancy, and we strongly suggest to read about them and take note to keep the info with you.
For what concerns more specifically severe heartburn, it has been reported that up to 76% of pregnant women may have heartburn, while another quite commonly related condition is less frequent .
This generally occurs during the third trimester, and the most interesting thing to consider is that reflux and heartburn lead to a significant impairment of the quality of their life.
This is even more important because symptoms also occur in women with no prior record of heartburn and reflux.
In fact, even after childbirth, women can continue to have symptoms.
The battle against heartburn may take long.
The final goal has to be the achievement of a normal quality of life.
Totally possible, but needs consistency.
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New Advancements In Heartburn Treatment
GERD today is typically treated with medications such as histamine receptor antagonists , – Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac – and with proton pump inhibitors – Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix. Unfortunately, these medications can lose their effectiveness over time. More importantly, they do not treat the underlying root causes of acid reflux.
For people who have severe GERD, surgical intervention may be required. Though the conventional laparoscopic procedure has long been proven a very effective solution, it is still an invasive procedure. It includes incisions and patients must remain in the hospital for up to several days. For that reason, the number of GERD sufferers who undergo this procedure is declining. Fortunately, there are new, less invasive techniques available today for treatment of GERD.
Less Invasive GERD Treatment Options
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Treat Acid Reflux
You may try using apple cider vinegar to relieve acid reflux symptoms, but theres no guarantee itll work. Its thought this home remedy helps balance your stomach pH by neutralizing stomach acid.
Its generally accepted as safe to consume a small amount of apple cider vinegar. Dilute it with water. This should relieve any burning sensation caused by the acid in the vinegar.
Diluting it may also help prevent the acid from damaging the enamel on your teeth. To further avoid this, drink it through a straw, if possible.
Many people find the taste of apple cider vinegar to be sharp or sour. You may consider adding honey to the solution to taste.
- Dont lie down after eating.
- Elevate the head of your bed several inches.
Sometimes conventional treatments arent enough. Serious complications from acid reflux can include esophageal scarring or ulcers.
To avoid these complications, your doctor may recommend a surgery called fundoplication. In this procedure, the upper part of your stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus. This strengthens the esophageal sphincter to prevent reflux.
Although anecdotal evidence suggests apple cider vinegar may be a useful remedy, there isnt a firm medical basis for this treatment. If you do explore this option, remember to:
- Consume apple cider vinegar in small quantities.
- Dilute the vinegar with water.
- Speak with your doctor if your symptoms dont improve or worsen with use.
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Use Fennel And Its Seeds For Heartburn Cure
Fennel has a pH of 6.9 and thus is included in effective foods for heartburn relief. In fact, this herb is good not only for heartburn but many other diseases or conditions related to stomach problems such as indigestion, constipation, flatulence and bloating. Fennel has a volatile oil made up of such components as fenchone, trans-anethole, limonene and a-pinene. All these substances have a carminative effect that provides soothing relief to your stomach and prevents all kinds of digestive disorders including heartburn. The crunchy vegetables as well as the seeds of fennel, both are effective for heartburn.
Ways to Use Fennel for Heartburn
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
There are several steps you can take to reduce or eliminate GERD symptoms without taking medication or undergoing surgery.
Lose weight. When excess abdominal weight presses on the stomach, it can cause acid to rise up into the esophagus.
If you’re overweight, your doctor may recommend that you lose excess pounds through diet and exercise.
Wear loose-fitting clothing. This can reduce pressure on your abdomen.
Avoid foods that can cause heartburn. Problematic foods and ingredients may include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, fried foods, garlic, mint, citrus fruits, onions, tomatoes, and tomato-based sauces.
Change the way you eat. Try eating smaller meals more often, along with eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly.
Dont lie down right after eating. Wait two to three hours after eating before you lie down. Lying down with a full stomach puts increased pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter the ring of muscle that separates your stomach from your esophagus.
Raise the head of your bed. Try to make it six to nine inches higher than the foot of your bed. You can do this by placing wood or cement blocks underneath the legs of your bed, or by putting a foam wedge under the upper half of your mattress.
Lying at an incline reduces pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter and makes it harder for your stomachs contents to enter your esophagus.
Quit smoking. Smoking makes it harder for your lower esophageal sphincter to function properly.
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Antibiotics Heartburn Caused By Esophageal Irritation
Antibiotics are one of many caustic pills that cause esophagitis. The more caustic the antibiotic greater the risk of irritation.
What is esophagitis? Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Common causes of esophagitis are acid reflux, medications, and infections affecting the esophagus. The irritation caused by esophagitis can be painful and make swallowing difficult.
Esophagitis is commonly caused by antibiotics accounting for close to half of all reported cases of pill-induced esophagitis. Doxycycline, tetracycline, and clindamycin are a few of many that make up a long list of antibiotics that cause esophagitis.
What Is Heartburn
Heartburn is a sensation of burning in the chest caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus . The burning is usually in the central part of the chest, just behind the sternum . The burning can worsen or can be brought on by lying flat or on the right side. Pregnancy tends to aggravate heartburn.
Many people experience heartburn and there are a large number of over-the-counter medications and home remedies available to treat heartburn.
In most cases you will not need to see a health-care professional, except if the symptoms are frequent , severe or increasing in severity.
If heartburn is severe or the pain is accompanied with additional symptoms such as shortness of breath, radiation into your arms or neck, you will need to see a doctor to distinguish these symptoms from more serious medical conditions such as a heart attack.
GERD can be considered a chronic and more serious form of reflux with heartburn as the major symptom however, there may be other symptoms or no symptoms at all.
If your heartburn symptoms occur more than twice a week you should see your health-care professional to make sure no serious problems are present.
The esophagus has a tight band of muscles at the lower end that closes after the food enters the stomach and prevents the stomach contents to reenter the esophagus. If this sphincter weakens or relaxes at the wrong time, stomach acid can back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and its complications.
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How What And When
Watch how you eat: Dont inhale giant mouthfuls of food. Take smaller bites and eat slowly, allowing your stomach time to digest and without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid.
Watch what you eat: Youre probably aware that specific foods trigger heartburn, usually foods high in acid or spicy foods. Avoid these as best you can to ward off
Watch when you eat: Dont eat within 3-4 hours before bed. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through.
For Instant Relief Antacids
While preventative treatments such as H2 blockers and PPIs are more effective, antacid medication is just what you need if you want fast heartburn relief. These inexpensive, over-the-counter tablets can be used on demand for symptom relief, but it must be noted that antacids dont do anything to prevent acid reflux or GERD.
The common ingredients contained in antacids like calcium carbonate found in Tums and Rolaids and/or magnesium found in Mylanta and Maalox provide heartburn relief within 5 minutes and only work temporarily for 30 to 60 minutes at most. Antacids are typically available as chewable or dissolving tablets, but some brands come in liquid or gum form.
Common OTC Antacids
Side effects are mostly mild and include:
Be careful not to overuse antacids since some brands contain calcium, and excessive calcium intake can lead to kidney stones. If your symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks with an antacid, you might need stronger acid reflux medication.
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How Is Heartburn Treated
In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.
Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.
Gerd Treatment: Lifestyle And Dietary Changes
Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first step in treating GERD. Certain foods make the reflux worse. Suggestions to help alleviate symptoms include:
- Lose weight if you are overweight of all of the lifestyle changes you can make, this one is the most effective.
- Avoid foods that increase the level of acid in your stomach, including caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid foods that decrease the pressure in the lower esophagus, such as fatty foods, alcohol and peppermint.
- Avoid foods that affect peristalsis , such as coffee, alcohol and acidic liquids.
- Avoid foods that slow gastric emptying, including fatty foods.
- Avoid large meals.
- Do not lie down immediately after a meal.
- Elevate the level of your head when you lie down.
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