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Causes Of Heartburn In Women

Throwing Up Liquid In Your Mouth

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When the volume of gastric content refluxing into the esophagus is high enough, a sensation of liquid coming up the chest can be felt, says Dr. Gyawali. Doctors call this acid regurgitation.” Basically, youll feel like you just threw up a little in your mouth. The liquid may be warm and have a sour, salty, or acidic taste. Some people also feel like they have something stuck in their throat or chest.

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When In Doubt Check It Out

If youre not sure if its heartburn or your heart, seek medical attention right away. Its very easy to confuse the two issues so let a doctor rule out the most severe possibility. This is an especially important message for women.

Women are more likely to call help for someone else but not themselves, Bauman said. In fact, 81 percent of women said they would call 911 for someone else showing signs of a heart attack but only 65 percent would call for themselves, according to a special report in Circulation.

She added: I always tell people if youre concerned and not sure if its your heart, its better to err on the side of checking it out and having someone tell you its not a heart attack.

Can Exercise Be A Cause Of Heartburn

Exercise can trigger heartburn. Sometimes that√Ęs due to increased pressure on the abdomen, which can increase the risk of acid reflux. In one study looking at different types of exercise, weightlifters had the most heartburn and acid reflux. Runners had milder symptoms and less reflux than weightlifters. Cyclists had the least reflux.

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What Causes Acid Reflux Disease

Several factors may increase your risk for acid reflux disease.

Stomach abnormalities. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which can occur in people of any age. A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. This is the muscle wall separating your stomach from your chest. When it works correctly, the diaphragm normally helps keep acid from rising into your esophagus. But if you have a hiatal hernia, it is easier for acid to move up into your esophagus.

Pregnancy. Many women experience acid reflux for the first time during pregnancy. This is caused by increasing levels of hormones combined with pressure from the growing fetus. Usually worst during the third trimester, the symptoms almost always go away after delivery.

Smoking.Smoking may contribute to acid reflux disease by doing any of the following:

  • Damaging mucus membranes

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What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis

What Causes Heartburn in Women?
  • Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
  • Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
  • Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
  • A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
  • Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
  • Severe chest pain develops in some cases .

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Heartburn Or Heart Attack

A heart attack is when the arteries connected to the heart become blocked. Heartburn, on the other hand, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus.

Some symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack could be similar, such as chest pain. As a result, some people who are having a heart attack do not take action as they think they have heartburn.

If a person experiences heartburn pain alongside shortness of breath or sweating, this could be a heart-related issue.

Other symptoms of a heart attack

What Treatments Are Available For Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Most treatments revolve around lifestyle changes as your symptoms are likely to lessen if you take measures to reduce the amount of reflux that you have. For example, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol can all make a big difference to the discomfort you experience.

Alcohol

Check your alcohol intake and reduce if needed to within healthy guidelines, if you do have a large intake it might be better to discuss your intake with your GP before reducing it. You can use the online calculator here to work out how many units you are having. Healthy advice is not to have in excess of 14 units per week with some alcohol free days during the week.

Smoking

Ask you GP about NHS stopping smoking services where you live. There are a number of different methods to use and stopping can have other benefits to health. See here for more information

Some foods are more likely than others to trigger reflux symptoms so you may find it helpful to look at how you eat as well as what you eat. Avoid late night, high fat meals so you dont go to bed with a full stomach. Eat your main evening meal three hours before going to bed3. Propping up your head when you sleep may also alleviate symptoms3. Eat little but more often, if necessary. Try to avoid bending forward or wearing tight clothes as this can put extra pressure on your tummy.

Being overweight.

These are split into 2 groups:

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What Makes It Better

For most women, things that help reduce acid production or prevent reux are helpful in avoiding the discomfort of heartburn. Here are tips that may help:

  • Avoid classic spicy foods, as well as those with lots of fat or grease. Many people recommend avoiding citrus and chocolate, as well.

  • Eat multiple, small meals spread throughout the day, much like grazing, instead of three big meals.

  • Try elevating the head of your bed by several inches, and wait a while after eating before going to bed or lying down.

Some women find that its better to drink fluids between meals, rather than with a meal. This can increase the amount of contents in the stomach.

If your symptoms do not improve after the above recommended diet and lifestyle changes are in place, talk with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines. Antacids are available as chewable tablets and liquids. They work by coating the lining of the esophagus and stomach and neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn medicines called H2-blockers work by reducing the amount of acid made by your stomach. Although most of these are considered safe in pregnancy, as with all medicines, these should be avoided in the first trimester.

Symptoms Can Last Up To Several Hours After Onset

Acid Reflux Symptoms in Women

Heartburn involves a burning, painful sensation behind your breastbone in the center of your chest.

This pain often gets worse after you eat, in the evening, when you bend over, or when you lie down.

Episodes of heartburn can last between a few minutes and several hours.

In addition to burning sensations in your chest, heartburn may also involve:

  • A burning sensation in your throat
  • Fluid in your throat that tastes bitter, sour, or salty
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A sense that food is stuck in your chest or lower throat

Heartburn often begins after youve eaten a large meal, but it can also be triggered by certain foods even if you dont eat very much.

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What Causes Heartburn In Women

Heartburn happens when the acids in stomach break up into the esophagus, a muscular tube which assists to provide a path to food from mouth to stomach. As per the American College of Gastroenterology, almost 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn. This condition is also named as acid reflux. Note that the symptoms of acid reflux may vary from person to person but it often includes some burning sensation in the chest area. Anyone ranging from children to older people including men and woman can experience heartburn but the chances are more in women.

The Symptoms Of These Two Health Problems May Overlap And Sometimes So Do The Treatments

During your regular after-dinner walk around the neighborhood, you feel a painful sensation in the center of your chest. Could it be your heartburn flaring up again, or something more serious?

Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease , often called acid reflux. Acid from the stomach bubbles up into the esophagus, causing a painful burning just behind the breastbone. Not surprisingly, it’s often mistaken for a heart attack. In fact, of the over eight million emergency room visits for chest pain each year, severe heartburn accounts for over half the cases in which actual heart problems are ruled out.

Chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart or a heart attack is often described as a feeling of tightness, constriction, or pressure, rather than a burning sensation . But it’s not always easy to tell the difference. “Chest discomfort brought on by exercise is more likely to be a heart-related problem,” says Dr. Michelle O’Donoghue, cardiovascular specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But you can also have angina that’s not related to physical activity, she notes. If you have any symptoms you’re not sure about, see a doctor. And call 911 if you feel chest tightness, have trouble breathing, break into a sweat, turn pale, or become very weak.

GERD and heart disease are both common, and many people take medications to prevent or treat both conditions.

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What Is The Treatment For Heartburn

The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a stepwise fashion. For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications may be enough. The next step is nonprescription antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids. Other treatments include acid blockers and even surgery. In most cases, one or more of these treatments provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into a more serious disease.

I take nonprescription antacids for heartburn, but they don’t seem to help.

Nonprescription antacids are only part of the treatment for heartburn. They can work very well, but these antacids alone usually can’t stop heartburn. A health care professional will probably recommend that the patient make lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments.

What kind of lifestyle changes and remedies can I make to reduce heartburn?

Try any or all of the following:

Will these changes stop the heartburn?

They may. If they don’t, adding a nonprescription antacid can be helpful.

How do antacids work?

What if lifestyle changes and antacids don’t work?

If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 blockers, or acid blockers. These drugs block the biochemical process that creates acid in the stomach.

What are acid blockers?

A Digestive Problem That Affects Roughly 18 Percent Of The Us Population

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

More than 60 million people in the United States experience heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology .

The group also notes that according to some studies, over 15 million Americans have heartburn symptoms every single day.

Heartburn is more common in older people and pregnant women.

In fact, between 17 and 45 percent of pregnant women report episodes of heartburn, according to a study published in September 2015 in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.

Harvard Medical School notes that according to one survey, 65 percent of people with heartburn experience symptoms both during the day and at night.

Among those who report nighttime symptoms, 75 percent experience trouble sleeping as a result, and 40 percent say that it affects their job performance the next day.

While both occasional and frequent heartburn commonly cause discomfort, only about 6 percent of the population has heartburn that causes ongoing functional problems, according to the ACG.

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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:

  • Onions.
  • 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.

How To Avoid Reflux

There are some things you can do to keep the heartburn away.

  • Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, aspirin/anti-inflammatories and citrus , Bauman advised.
  • And if you experience heartburn at night, try giving gravity a hand. Raise the head of your bed on blocks so gravity can help keep your stomach contents down in the stomach, Bauman said.
  • Another possible remedy can be not to eat close to bedtime or late at night. When your stomach is full of food or busy digesting food, try letting it finish that work before heading to bed.
  • Some over-the-counter medications can also help.
  • See your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
  • Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.

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    Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach

    When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food. Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage from the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.

    There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but then normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.

    Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis

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    Heartburn symptoms can start up because of a problem with a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter . Its located where the esophagus meets the stomach below the rib cage and slightly left of center.

    Normally, with the help of gravity, the LES keeps stomach acid right where it should be in your stomach. When its working right, the LES opens to allow food into your stomach or to let you belch, then closes again. But if the LES opens too often or doesnt close tightly enough, stomach acid can seep into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.

    If your LES doesnt tighten as it should, there are often two things that contribute to the problem. One is overeating, which puts too much food in your stomach. Another is too much pressure on your stomach, often due to obesity, pregnancy, or constipation.

    Certain foods can relax your LES or increase stomach acid, including:

    Meals high in fats and oils often lead to heartburn, as do certain medications. Stress and lack of sleep can raise how much acid your stomach makes and can cause heartburn.

    If youre pregnant, the hormone progesterone can relax your LES and lead to heartburn. Smoking also relaxes the LES and increases stomach acid.

    To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.

    You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

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    Treatment Options For Heartburn

    FDA identifies three classes of OTC medications for treating occasional heartburn. These include:

    • Antacids. These medications help neutralize stomach acid. They can provide quick relief of heartburn symptoms. Common antacids are:
    • Mylanta
  • omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate
  • Although these medications can be helpful, they may have side effects, according to the NIDDK . Antacids can cause constipation or diarrhea. PPIs may cause headache, diarrhea, or upset stomach. Talk with your doctor about any medications youre already taking to see if youre at risk for any drug interactions.

    If OTC medications do not relieve your symptoms, your doctor may be able to prescribe stronger versions of these medications.

    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.

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    Preparing For Your Appointment

    To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.

    You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

    • What are your main symptoms? Report any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, or vomiting.
    • How long have you had heartburn?
    • Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated? How did you respond to that treatment?
    • Have you had any signs of bleeding from your digestive system?
    • Have you had any difficulty swallowing when you eat or drink?
    • How much tobacco do you use? How much alcohol do you drink? How much caffeine do you drink?
    • Has your weight increased or decreased more than 5 lb recently?
    • Have there been any changes in your diet? Are you eating certain foods more often?
    • Have there been changes in your daily schedule, such as when you eat and when you go to bed?
    • Are you taking any nonprescription or prescription medicines? Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to your appointment.
    • What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help? Be sure to include lifestyle changes you have made.
    • What nonprescription medicines have you taken or used to treat your heartburn? Did they help?
    • Do you have any health risks?

    Remember to take your heartburn symptom record to your doctor visit. Be sure to note any lifestyle changes you have made or nonprescription medicines you use.

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