What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Indigestion
Although many believe that heartburn and indigestion are the same condition, there are slight differences between them. Heartburn is type or symptoms of indigestion, while indigestion is a relative term used to describe one of several potential stomach conditions which characterize the condition. In other words, indigestion is a term used to describe heartburn as well as reflux, sour stomach, and other conditions or symptoms. Both are caused by an increase in stomach acid that is usually related to eating foods that are spicy or hard to digest and sometimes by having an empty stomach.
The main cause of pain in heartburn and indigestion is acid being pushed back into the esophagus from the stomach. This causes a burning or uneasy sensation in the upper portion of the chest or lower throat. Acid may rise due to several factors, the most common being the consumption of foods that cause an increase in acid needed for digestion. Others may include weakened or underdeveloped sphincter muscles, an empty stomach, and certain stress-related conditions.
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.
Differences Between Heartburn And Indigestion
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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Acid Reflux: The Cause
Acid reflux is when the contents of your stomachlike food or acidsgo in the wrong direction. They travel from your stomach back to your throat through the tube connecting them, your esophagus.
When you have acid reflux, you may taste food or stomach acid in the back of your mouth. This can be uncomfortable and make you feel sick. Acid reflux is also referred to as GER .
Medical Treatments For Gerd
Medications are available with and without a prescription for acid reflux and GERD.
Antacids: First-line treatments for acid reflux are usually antacids. These medicines act quickly to reduce the effect of stomach acid, which can relieve symptoms. Examples of these medicines are Tums and Rolaids.
If these medicines dont relieve acid reflux or a person has GERD, other treatments can include:
H2 blockers: H2 blockers are designed to reduce the amount of acid a persons stomach produces. Sometimes taking these medicines with antacids can help. Examples of these medicines include cimetidine and famotidine .
Proton pump inhibitors: These medications work longer than H2 blockers to reduce acid in the stomach. They can also help heal the stomach lining. Examples include:
Prokinetics: These are medications like metoclopramide . There is controversy as to whether these medications benefit people with GERD. Many new prokinetics have been removed from the market due to serious side effects .
If medications dont reduce a persons acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES.
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What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux
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.
What May Cause Stomach Pain
Stomach pain is often used to describe pain in the abdomen and surrounding areas. Almost everyone will experience stomach pain at some point in their lives, multiple times even. There are several causes of stomach pain. Most episodes are not serious, but sometimes abdominal pain is a symptom of an …
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Indigestion Vs Heartburn And Gerd
It is common for people to confuse indigestion with heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease , but these are separate conditions. Some people who experience heartburn describe it as indigestion. Although both conditions have similar triggers, and in many instances may even be treated similarly, indigestion isn’t the same thing as heartburn. Indigestion is an overall condition, whereas heartburn may be a symptom of indigestion, GERD, or other underlying diagnosis.
Occasionally, heartburn is one of the symptoms of indigestion. Heartburn is felt when stomach acid comes up through the lower esophageal sphincter that links your esophagus to your stomach. This causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat. When you feel the taste in the back of your mouth it may be called acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal reflux is when your stomach contents come back up into the esophagus GERD is classified as a sustained or chronic state of GER.
Q: Are Heartburn And Acid Reflux The Same Thing What About Gerd
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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How Can I Prevent Indigestion
The best way to prevent indigestion is to avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause it. Keeping a food diary is helpful in identifying foods that cause indigestion. Here are some other suggestions:
- Eat small meals so the stomach does not have to work as hard or as long.
- Eat slowly.
- Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
- Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
- If stress is a trigger for your indigestion, learn new methods for managing stress, such as relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
- If you smoke, quit.Ã Smoking can irritate the lining of the stomach.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption, because alcohol can also irritate the stomach lining.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments, because they tend to compress the stomach, which can cause its contents to enter the esophagus.
- Don’t exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
- Don’t lie down right after eating.
- Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.
- Sleep with your head elevated above your feet and use pillows to prop yourself up. This will help allow digestive juices to flow into the intestines rather than to the esophagus.
Diagnosing H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:
- a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
- a breath test
- a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria
Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.
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Whats The Difference Heartburn Vs Acid Reflux Vs Gerd
If acid reflux, and the heartburn it causes, becomes chronic, it can progress to GERD.
Heartburn is very common, affecting more than 60 million Americans at least once a month. Acid reflux and GERDare related to heartburn but each means something a little different. While none of the conditions are life-threatening, they can lead to medical complications and more severe diseases if theyre not treated.
Heartburn Is A Key Symptom Of Acid Reflux
Heartburn, or that burning sensation typically located just behind or below the breastbone, is caused by acid reflux — the upward splashing of acidic contents of the stomach back into the esophagus. The resulting irritation of the esophagus creates burning symptoms that are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as a sour taste in the mouth, regurgitation and belching. Technically, the word heartburn can refer specifically to the chest discomfort. However, many people talk about their heartburn, indigestion and any accompanying symptoms together as a single problem.
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Not All Of Them Are Obvious
Feel like you just cant keep that nasty stuff in your belly from bubbling up into your throat? What youre experiencing might not be run-of-the-mill heartburn. It could be a case of gastroesophageal reflux diseaseGERD, for shorta condition that causes the acid and food in your stomach to rise into your esophagus, and sometimes even enter your mouth or lungs. GERD is far from rare: In fact, it occurs in 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the medical journal Gastroenterology. But there are also several factors that make some people an easier target for the disease.
Everyone has a small, normal amount of gastroesophageal reflux, but an abnormal amount of acid reflux occurs when the one-way valve between the esophagus and the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, becomes too loose, says Ketan Shah, M.D., gastroenterologist at Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. This can occur for multiple reasons that cause intra-abdominal pressure to be abnormally elevated, including being overweight or obese, frequent overeating, lying down too soon after eating, chronic straining or coughing, or chronic heavy lifting. These are typically the people who are more susceptible to GERD.
Heartburn won’t go away
Heart Attack Feeling
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Who Is At Risk For Indigestion
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Use of drugs that may irritate the stomach, such as aspirin and other pain relievers
- Conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer
- Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression
What Triggers Heartburn
Heartburn can be triggered by a lot of things, but eating is the main culprit. It can be caused by the specific foods you eatwe’re looking at you, greasy fries and hot wingsas well as by eating too much, or simply eating a big, heavy meal close to bedtime.
Carbonated and alcoholic beverages can also give you heartburn. People who are overweight often suffer from heartburn. Even a few extra pounds can put pressure on your stomach, causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
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When To See A Doctor
Indigestion can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ulcer or occasionally cancer. If you experience the following symptoms in addition to indigestion, see your doctor.
- Heartburn more than twice a week
- Unplanned weight loss
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Black, tarry stools
- Family history of gastric cancer
You also should see your doctor if you’re over 45 and have rarely had indigestion in the past.
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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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
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.
Gerd: The More Serious Cause
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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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.
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