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Do I Have Heartburn Or Indigestion

Indigestion Vs Heartburn And Gerd

Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD-Mayo Clinic

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.

What Tests Might Be Done

Tests are not usually necessary if you have typical symptoms. Many people experiencing acid leaking up into the gullet are diagnosed with ‘presumed acid reflux’. In this situation they have typical symptoms and the symptoms are eased by treatment. Tests may be advised if symptoms are severe, or do not improve with treatment, or are not typical of GORD.

  • Gastroscopy is the common test. A thin, flexible telescope is passed down the oesophagus into the stomach. This allows a doctor or nurse to look inside. With inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus , the lower part of the oesophagus looks red and inflamed. However, if it looks normal it does not rule out acid reflux. Some people are very sensitive to small amounts of acid and can have symptoms with little or no inflammation to see. Two terms that are often used after an endoscopy are:
  • Oesophagitis. This term is used when the oesophagus can be seen to be inflamed.
  • Endoscopy-negative reflux disease. This term is used when someone has typical symptoms of reflux but endoscopy is normal.
  • A test to check the acidity inside the oesophagus may be done if the diagnosis is not clear.
  • Other tests such as heart tracings, chest X-ray, etc, may be done to rule out other conditions if the symptoms are not typical.
  • How To Know If You Have Heartburn

    Last Updated: May 25, 2021ReferencesApproved

    This article was co-authored by Peter Gardner, MD. Peter W. Gardner, MD is a board certified physician who has practiced Gastroenterology and Hepatology for over 30 years. He specializes in diseases of the digestive system and liver. Dr. Gardner earned his Bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina and attended Georgetown Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and then his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Connecticut. He is a previous Chief of Gastroenterology at Stamford Hospital and remains on the staff. He is also on the staff of Greenwich Hospital and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Gardner is an Approved Consultant in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology with the American Board of Internal Medicine.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 33,842 times.

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    What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd

    Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.

    The most common GERD medications:

    • Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
    • H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
    • Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
    • Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.

    Treat Antibiotics Heartburn Caused By Loss Of Good Bacteria With Probiotics

    Probiotics are good bacteria that need to be ingested to rebalance gut bacteria after discontinuation of antibiotics. The reintroduction of these good bacteria will improve digestive function and reduce acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.

    The use of probiotics during antibiotic treatment may help restore stomach acid and alleviate gas, bloating, and belching even though antibiotics will continue to kill these good bacteria.

    Probiotics rebalance digestive function after antibiotic use and thus reduce the instance of heartburn by:

    • Preventing the overgrowth of bad bacteria which produce gas leading to bloating and belching.
    • Preventing constipation by eliminating bad bacteria that cause slow, inefficient digestion.
    • Promoting optimal stomach acid levels. Stomach acid helps the LES close properly, kills harmful bacteria, improves absorption of nutrients, and reduces the instance of constipation.
    • Improving food and nutrient absorption by helping break down food for easier digestion thus reducing the possibility of constipation. Improved nutrient absorption also provides the digestive system needed nutrients for proper function.
    • Maintaining muscle activity which moves material through the digestive tract.
    • Preventing leaky gut and helping with antibody production which boosts the immune system. A healthy immune system also helps protect against bad bacteria overgrowth.

    How to Treat Antibiotics Heartburn from the Loss of Good Bacteria with Probiotics

    Good Bacteria Must Be Fed

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    How Can A Banana Cause Heartburn

    Bananas are usually low in acid, so sometimes, they can be recommended as a fruit that can help reduce acid reflux.

    But you should know that ripe bananas have a pH value of 5, which does get classified as a mildly acidic fruit. Therefore, if eaten on an empty stomach or eaten in large amounts, bananas may cause acid reflux which in turn causes heartburn.

    Another way that a banana can cause heartburn is if the banana is not ripe yet when you eat it. This might cause a trigger within your body that causes acid reflux.

    This trigger can also be caused by an underlying disease known as GERD. GERD is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

    Eating raw bananas or eating them on an empty stomach can cause your stomach acid to try and travel up into the esophagus, causing GERD.

    Why Is Gerd Worse After Going To Bed

    There are several explanations for why GERD is commonly worse at night after going to bed:

    • When lying down, gravity no longer helps keep stomach acid down, making it easier for reflux to occur.
    • Saliva can help neutralize stomach acid, but production of saliva is reduced during deeper stages of sleep.

    A combination of these effects can facilitate the leakage of stomach acid into the esophagus and allow the acid to remain in place for longer, potentially causing more severe GERD symptoms, including those that can disturb sleep. The problem may be even greater if a person goes to bed soon after eating and/or eats foods that trigger GERD.

    Read Also: Best Remedy For Heartburn During Pregnancy

    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.

    How Gastroenterologists Help With Gerd

    Heartburn and Reflux Differences

    The key to treating your GERD: a board-certified gastroenterologist

    If you are suffering from chronic acid reflux, a specialist can help. GERD is a potentially serious condition, and it will not go away on its own. Untreated GERD can lead to inflammation of the esophagus and cause complications like ulcers, strictures and increased risk of Barretts esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.

    A gastroenterologist is a physician with specialized training in managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract . Our gastroenterologists are fellowship-trained and qualified to diagnose GERD and help develop a meet your treatment plan.

    Read Also: What Foods Can Relieve Heartburn

    How A Doctor Can Help

    If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.

    GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.

    The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center

    GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.

    Could You Have Gerd Take Our Test

    For most people, heartburn is an annoyingbut usually briefproblem triggered by too much wine, smoking, spicy food, or other overindulgence. But for some people, heartburn is a painful and constant companion. If youre in the second group, your chronic heartburn could be the sign of something more seriousgastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

    GERD is characterized by unrelenting acid reflux that can result in not only heartburn, but other symptoms as well, such as chronic cough. If you think you might have GERD, its important to get help. Over time, GERD can damage the lower esophagus and can lead to a precancerous condition known as Barretts esophagus. Left untreated, Barretts esophagus can raise the risk of esophageal cancer.

    However, GERD can be trickynot all people with chronic heartburn have GERD, and you can have GERD but not necessarily have chronic heartburn as your main symptom. Whats more, stomach or chest pain can be caused by other conditions, such as an ulcer.

    To find out if your symptoms might be due to GERD, take this test.

    Recommended Reading: How To Get Heartburn To Go Away

    Avoid Tight Fitting Clothing

    When you wear tight fitting clothing, you can actually place pressure on your stomach and cause heartburn and indigestion from the added pressure. For example, if you are wearing tight fitting jeans, when you sit, you will immediately place pressure on your abdomen. This extra pressure will make your lower esophageal tract to allow the contents of your stomach to push through and end up causing heartburn and indigestion.

    Required Ingredients:

    • Check to make sure you are not wearing tight fitting belts, shirts, or pants.
    • Change to something that fits more loosely to prevent pressure on your abdomen.

    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.

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    Do Heartburn Acid Reflux Medications Help Treat Covid

    Although some studies show that heartburn medications, such as proton pump inhibitors , may increase your chances of getting COVID-19, other studies have found that taking some heartburn medications may actually have benefits when treating coronavirus . Such heartburn medications include histamine-2 receptor antagonists such as famotidine .

    A retrospective study done from The Gastroenterology Journal found that the use of famotidine was correlated with a reduced risk of patients being intubated or dying from COVID-19 compared to those who did not receive famotidine. Although this study showed some promising data, only randomized clinical trials can determine if famotidine is fully effective against COVID-19. Therefore, it is not recommended to take famotidine for prevention of COVID-19.

    For more information about coronavirus, please visit the CDC website. As always, if you are not feeling well, please reach out to your medical provider or call 911 in an emergency.

    To learn more about tips for treating heartburn, checkout Curist’s other heartburn articles:

    When To Go To The Doctor

    Usually, indigestion only happens once in a while, like after eating certain foods that don’t agree with you. But you’ll want to see the doctor if you get indigestion even when you’re eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

    You may need to be examined or have stomach X-rays or other tests to make sure your indigestion is not a sign of another problem in your digestive tract. Depending on what the doctor finds, you might need to make changes in your diet or take medicine.

    Be sure to tell your parent or talk to a doctor if these things happen in addition to your indigestion:

    • vomiting , especially if you see blood in your vomit
    • weight loss
    • frequent or intense stomach pain
    • black or bloody bowel movements

    These can be signs of other problems, so be sure to talk to a doctor if you experience one or several of these symptoms.

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    Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux

    Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.

    Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.

    “Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    What Is Indigestion

    Do You Have Acid Reflux or GERD?

    You might call it an upset stomach, a stomachache, or even a bellyachebut the medical term is dyspepsia. Whichever term you use, indigestion is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, feeling you get in your stomach, usually during or after eating.1

    In most cases, indigestion is caused by eating too much, too fast, or by eating foods that your body doesn’t respond well totypically foods high in fat. Chewing with your mouth open also can lead to indigestion. Swallowing too much air while eating can cause belching and bloating, which is another variation of indigestion.4

    Other indigestion triggers include stress, smoking, or drinking caffeinated, carbonated, or alcoholic drinks.4

    Read Also: What Can You Eat If You Have Heartburn

    How Common Is Gerd

    GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.

    Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.

    Youre also more likely to have it if youre:

    • Overweight or obese.
    • Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
    • Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.

    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.

    Also Check: Does Heartburn Indicate Heart Problems

    What Causes Acid Reflux

    Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.

    Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.

    Factors that can lead to this include:

    • Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
    • Particular types of food and eating habits.
    • Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
    • A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.

    What Is 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.

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