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Difference Between Heartburn And Indigestion

What Is Acid Reflux

What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux?

A circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter joins your esophagus and stomach. This muscle is in charge of tightening your esophagus after food passes to the stomach. If this muscle is weak or doesnt tighten properly, the acid from your stomach can move backward into your esophagus. This is known as acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other symptoms that include:

  • cough

Most people can experience heartburn and acid reflux intermittently related to something they ate or habits like lying down immediately after eating. However, GERD is a chronic condition where doctors start to examine long-lasting habits and parts of a persons anatomy that could cause GERD. Examples of the causes of GERD include:

  • being overweight or obese, which puts extra pressure on the stomach
  • hiatal hernia, which reduces pressure in the LES
  • smoking
  • consuming alcohol
  • pregnancy
  • taking medicines known to weaken the LES, such as antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, pain-relieving medicines, sedatives, and antidepressants

Symptoms of GERD may disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, they can usually be controlled with treatment. Options include:

  • diet modification
  • smoking cessation
  • alcohol cessation

Medications for GERD work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. They may not be effective for everyone. Some people need surgery to help reinforce the LES.

When To See A Doctor About Heartburn Vs Indigestion

If your symptoms of heartburn and/or indigestion dont improve after a few weeks of home remedies and preventive measures, see your doctor.

Chronic heartburn or indigestion issues could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. To get to the root of chronic indigestion or heartburn issues, your doctor may order a few tests, including:

  • a physical exam of your abdomen
  • acid probe tests to measure when stomach acid reaches back into your esophagus
  • imaging tests, such as X-rays and endoscopies , to look at your esophagus and stomach
  • blood or stool tests to rule out bacterial infections that may be causing indigestion
  • pain in your abdomen that doesnt go away
  • frequent vomiting
  • blood in vomit or stools
  • tar-colored stools

Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd

The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.

Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

Also Check: What Is The Best Home Remedy For Heartburn

Indigestion Doesnt Always Involve Reflux

Indigestion conveys that a person is having unpleasant stomach symptoms, perhaps associated with his intake or a specific meal, but not necessarily so. Occasional heartburn from acid reflux is very common, so for many people who say they have indigestion, its likely they are referring to acid reflux symptoms. However, many possibilities other than acid reflux can make a person feel like theres something wrong with their stomach. For some, the medical term dyspepsia is a better fit than heartburn for these symptoms. Dyspepsia is a burning discomfort in the stomach, sometimes likened to hunger pains except that it occurs on a full stomach, too. Like acid reflux, dyspepsia may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including belching, bloating and feelings of gassiness, nausea or fullness.

What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux

What is the difference between Indigestion and Heart burn ...

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn describes a feeling of burning, pain, or discomfort in the chest that can be quite uncomfortable. You also may a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth, and it usually occurs after you eat a big meal or when you lay down.

Not everyone with GERD will experience heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux include regurgitation of acid into the throat or mouth, a bitter taste in the mouth, upset stomach, belching, nausea after eating, feeling full, stomach and upper abdomen bloating, dry cough, wheezing, hoarseness, feeling of tightness in the throat, and in some people, vomiting.

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Is There A Difference Between Acid Reflux And Indigestion

Quite often, the terms acid reflux and indigestion are used interchangeably without fully understanding the differences between the two.

There are in fact a number of differences between the two as indigestion is not, as many believe, just a milder form of acid reflux.

Rennie have taken the time to look into the two issues, and have put together this guide to allow you to understand the differences for yourself.

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Acid Reflux Vs Indigestion

The difference between acid reflux and indigestion is that acid reflux occurs when acid produced by the stomach flows up into the esophagus. Indigestion is persistence or recurring pain in the upper abdomen.

In most individuals, indigestion occurs on and off and its chronic. Rennie can help ease the discomfort caused by indigestion.

Side effects include but not limited to dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, nauseaSide effects include but not limited to headache, drowsiness, fatigue
Drug AdministrationIt can be administered either by mouth or intravenous or intramuscular or as subcutaneous injections depending on the condition and requirement of an individualIt can be administered only by mouth in the form of capsule or tablet or syrup

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Indigestion Doesn’t Always Involve Reflux

Indigestion conveys that a person is having unpleasant stomach symptoms, perhaps associated with his intake or a specific meal, but not necessarily so. Occasional heartburn from acid reflux is very common, so for many people who say they have indigestion, it’s likely they are referring to acid reflux symptoms. However, many possibilities other than acid reflux can make a person feel like there’s something wrong with their stomach. For some, the medical term dyspepsia is a better fit than heartburn for these symptoms. Dyspepsia is a burning discomfort in the stomach, sometimes likened to hunger pains — except that it occurs on a full stomach, too. Like acid reflux, dyspepsia may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including belching, bloating and feelings of gassiness, nausea or fullness.

Q: Are Heartburn And Acid Reflux The Same Thing What About Gerd

Differences between acid reflux and heartburn

A: They are different but related. It starts with the esophagus. The esophagus is made up of predominantly smooth muscle. It extends from the throat down through the chest cavity and, when it gets past the abdomen, joins up with the stomach. When you swallow, the esophagus opens and then squeezes food down.

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At the very bottom of theesophagus, there is a valve that separates it from the stomach. That valve shouldnormally be closed. When you swallow, it opens so that food can pass through,and then it closes again. Acid reflux is a disorder that occurs when that valveopens when its not supposed to, so stomach contents can flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus and causesymptoms.

Now, normal individuals can have up to an hour of reflux per day and not feel it. But if people have problematic reflux, it can cause heartburn, which is a burning thats felt mid-chest, below the sternum, especially after meals or at night when you lie down. So heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux can also cause regurgitation.

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Its a more severe form of acid reflux where the stomach contents flowing back up into the esophagus becomes problematic. It can also cause a cough or the feeling that theres a lump in the back of your throat.

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When Do You Refer To Dyspepsia

nausea OR vomiting and ANY of: dyspepsia or weight loss or reflux upper or abdominal pain upper abdominal pain and low Hb levels raised platelet count with ANY of dyspepsia or nausea or vomiting or weight loss or reflux if 55 with treatment-resistant dyspepsia: follow local policy first then refer on 2ww form

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Difference Between Gerd And Peptic Ulcer Disease:

  • Acidity of the stomach.
  • Stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Heartburn :

The stomach naturally produces a metered amount of acid called hydrochloric, which aids in the digestive process, and stomach acidity occurs:

  • As a result of increased secretion of hydrochloric acid.
  • And an increase of this acid leads to a feeling of heartburn.

What is the reason for increased acid secretion leading to acidity in the stomach?

There are several reasons that cause an increase in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which in turn leads to the appearance of heartburn, such as:

  • Indigestion, irregular eating, or stomach failure to accept certain types of food.
  • Smoking and drinking coffee are among the main causes, especially on an empty stomach.
  • Burnt items such as chili and black pepper.
  • Tablets and injections containing cortisone derivatives.
  • Most of the analgesic medicines that treat Roma diseases are tympanic.
  • There are people who suffer from constant acidity for no apparent reason.
  • Also, stomach ulcers, which we will talk about, are accompanied by heartburn and burning.

Gastric and duodenal ulcers :

Symptoms of stomach ulcers:

There are several distinct symptoms that you can recognize for stomach ulcers, and they are:

What are the factors that help the emergence of ulcers:

Ulcers or stomach ulcers are among the most common diseases of the digestive system.

Treating stomach ulcers:

Stomach ulcers are treated by following a number of important habits and dietary methods, including:

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Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy

Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:

  • you are 55 years old or over
  • you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
  • you have increasing difficulty swallowing
  • you have persistent vomiting
  • you have a lump in your stomach
  • you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools

This is because these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy to rule out any serious cause.

An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .

Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible complications of severe indigestion.

When In Doubt Check It Out

What is the difference between Indigestion and Heart burn ...

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.

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Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women

Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.

Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.

Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.

Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.

Give Yourself A Buffer Before Bedtime

If you lay down immediately after eating, its going to be easier for acid to flow back up. Thats why we recommend eating your last meal of the day two to three hours before bedtime. You can even develop a bedtime routine with activities like meditation thatll make your mind and body even more relaxed.

Also Check: Why Am I Getting Severe Heartburn

A Pharmacist Can Help With Indigestion

A pharmacist can recommend medicines to ease the burning feeling or pain that can come with indigestion.

Medicines that help reduce acid in your stomach include:

  • antacids
  • proton pump inhibitors

Some indigestion medicines are best to take after eating as their effects last longer. Check the information leaflet that comes with the medicines for more information.

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Gerd: The More Serious Cause

The Difference Between Heartburn & Indigestion | TUMS

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease .

Like its name suggests, GERD is a more serious version of acid reflux. They can both cause heartburn. Often people who experience heartburn more than twice a week have GERD.

GERD happens when the closure in your lower esophaguswhich is near your stomachbecomes weak or relaxes when it should not. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath, or trouble swallowing.

Treating GERD may require prescription medications. Occasionally, surgery or other procedures may be necessary.

If you suspect you have GERD, make sure to see your provider or a gastroenterologist, a doctor who focuses on the digestive system. This can help prevent future damage to your esophagus, or cancer.

MedlinePlus National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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Differences Between Acid Reflux Heartburn & Gerd

Knowing whether you have acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD is understandably confusingthe symptoms are often similar. The three conditions are actually all progressions of the same issue. Heres whats happening in your body to jump-start the process.

First, you eat something. It doesnt have to be something particularly fatty, spicy, or decadent. The most common culprits, though, are acidic and fatty foods. Think citrus, chocolate, fried foods, tomatoes, and other things like that.

After chowing down, that food heads from your esophagus to your stomach, a space guarded by the lower esophageal sphincter. Its a ring of muscle that closes up to keep everything in when food hits your belly. The problem comes in when that muscle doesnt tighten or close up properly. Stomach acid can then leak back into your esophagus, causing acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD.

All three conditions are more common with people who eat too quickly, drink or smoke, are obese, have a lot of stress, slouch a lot, have Diabetes, or are pregnant. So how do you know which one you have? Lets take a closer look.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Whats causing my indigestion?
  • What are some foods I should avoid to help with my indigestion?
  • How much time do I need to leave been my final meal of the day and bedtime?
  • Does sleeping on an elevated pillow help indigestion?
  • What medicines will help my indigestion? Do they have side effects?
  • Are there any medicines I should avoid that may make my indigestion worse?
  • What should I do when nothing seems to help my indigestion?

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Difference Between Heartburn And Indigestion

Heartburn vs Indigestion

Heartburn is a specific clinical presentation due to acute gastritis while indigestion is the laymans term for the actual ill feeling caused by gastritis and other conditions.


Heartburn is a burning sensation felt in the lower chest or upper abdomen due to acute gastritis. Acute gastritis presents as upper abdominal pain, tightening chest pain behind the sternum, and difficulty in breathing, which exaggerates with lying down. There is usually nocturnal burning type chest pain. It is a very common condition plaguing many millions of people. Men and women both get it equally. It is related to irregular meal patterns.

Ulcers usually occur at the lesser and greater curvatures and at the pyloric area of the stomach. These ulcers are difficult to treat due to constant irritation by gastric acidity. Food may also reflux up the esophagus with chronic gastritis. With prolonged gastritis, the lining of the lower esophagus may change into a pre-cancer state. This is called Barettes esophagus. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to visualize the alimentary canal up to the second part of the duodenum is the investigation of choice. A small piece of the ulcer edge may be removed to examine under the microscope, to exclude cancers. Helicobacter pylori is associated with chronic gastritis. Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment, antacids, and proton pump inhibitors are the available treatment options.


Differences Between Heartburn And Indigestion

What is the difference between Indigestion and Heart burn ...

There is often confusion in distinguishing between indigestion and heartburn. Both share certain common causes and other similarities, but the two are essentially different from each other. A key way to determine the difference between heartburn and indigestion is that indigestion is a condition with heartburn as one of its symptoms, albeit the causal link is not always present. Heartburn is more of a symptom than a condition in itself, which is commonly associated with acid reflux incidences including gastroesophageal reflux disease .

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