What Are The Complications Associated With Heartburn
Occasional heartburn isnt typically a cause for concern. However, frequent heartburn may be a symptom of GERD. This condition may require treatment with prescription medication or surgery.
If left untreated, GERD may lead to additional health problems, such as an inflammation of the esophagus, which is called esophagitis, or Barretts esophagus, according to a 2018 review . Barretts esophagus causes changes in the lining of the esophagus that can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Long-term heartburn can also affect your quality of life. See your doctor to determine a course of treatment if you find it difficult to carry on your daily life or are severely limited in your activities due to heartburn.
Prevent Coffee Heartburn By Getting A Safe Amount Of Caffeine
A big player in the cause of acid reflux is overcaffeination. When your caffeine intake is too high, the muscle that connects the stomach to the esophagus is relaxed.1 When this happens, an opening is created for stomach acid to come up into your esophagus, which causes acid reflux. Ew! Thats pretty gross.
So how do we make sure we have a safe amount of caffeine? Most experts agree 600mg per day is overcaffeination.2 For some such as pregnant mothers, its advised to be 200mg .3 According to Health Canada the federal health department in Canada 400mg is a safe daily caffeine consumption rate.4
Is There Anything Besides Eating That Leads To Heartburn
Besides eating a heavy meal, heavy lifting can cause heartburn, says Galier. So can exercise. And lying flat, especially after eating a big meal, can lead to heartburn, too.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer, Eisen says, noting that some people think only obesity raises heartburn risk. He also points out that pregnant women can suffer heartburn. He says thatâs probably because elevated levels of the hormone progesterone cause a temporary weakness in the LES.
You May Like: Heartburn For 12 Hours Straight
Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd
GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.
- Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
- LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.
Also Check: Can Seltzer Water Cause Heartburn
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.
Don’t Miss: What To Take For Heartburn
When To Seek Medical Advice
Having mild, infrequent heartburn generally isnt cause for concern. But if youre experiencing heartburn more than twice a week, or if your symptoms are severe or getting worse, its important to speak with your doctor. Frequent heartburn could be a sign of gastro-oesophageal reflux , a condition that requires prescription medication and monitoring.
If you are experiencing chest pain and arent sure if its heartburn or a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention by calling triple zero .
How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
In most cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose heartburn by asking questions about your symptoms and what triggers those symptoms.
If you have heartburn more than 2 times a week, it could be a symptom of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or other gastrointestinal diseases. These are usually diagnosed by endoscopy, which uses a tube with a camera passed through the mouth into the stomach.
Don’t Miss: Frequent Heartburn And Acid Reflux
What Are The Treatment Options
If you have heartburn, your provider may prescribe over-the-counter antacids, which may come in a chewable tablet. They might also recommend prescription drugs such as H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors, which reduce how much acid your stomach makes.
Providers may also recommend lifestyle changes, like losing weight and quitting smoking, which can increase stomach acid production. Other changes often include reducing stress, exercising more, avoiding food around bedtime, raising the head of the bed about 6 inches, and eating more high-protein, low-fat meals.
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
You May Like: What To Eat To Avoid Heartburn
How To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux With Home Remedies
When To See A Gastroenterologist
Sometimes its difficult to know when your symptoms are severe enough that you need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, and we understand that. Here are some indications that its time to call a gastroenterologist:
- Symptoms that continue for more than two weeks
- Heartburn that persists after taking over-the-counter medications
- Heartburn episodes that change in frequency or intensity
- Nighttime symptoms that affect your sleep quality
- Acid reflux that interferes with your daily activities or affects your quality of life
- Unexplained weight loss or decreased appetite
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic hoarseness or wheezing
If you experience any of the symptoms above, its time to see one of our gastroenterologists. After performing a complete medical exam, your gastroenterologist may recommend that you undergo an upper endoscopy to evaluate your symptoms and see if you have suffered any damage to your esophagus, or provide you with the peace of mind that everything is all right. During your visit, the doctor will examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum to determine the cause of your digestive symptoms and the appropriate treatment.
Also Check: What Can Heartburn Be A Symptom Of
What Else Should I Know
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
Why Does Heartburn Happen
Heartburn goes by many names you might also know it as acid reflux or acid indigestion. It is a burning or tingling feeling that occurs when the contents of your stomach rise into your food pipe . Mild heartburn is quite common, and most healthy people will experience it from time to time.
To understand why we get heartburn, it can help to think about how the oesophagus and stomach work.
There is a ring of muscle where the oesophagus and stomach meet . It relaxes to allow food into the stomach and tightens to prevent stomach contents from moving back up into the oesophagus.
In the stomach, strong acids help break down food as part of the digestive process. While your stomach is built to withstand this acid, your oesophagus is not.
If the oesophageal sphincter is weak, or relaxes when it shouldnt, the stomachs contents can move up into the oesophagus and causes pain, irritation, and discomfort. This backward flow is called reflux, and the burning chest pain is known as heartburn.
Lying down or bending over can make heartburn feel worse, as the acidic stomach contents can travel further up the oesophagus.
Recommended Reading: Does Baking Soda Get Rid Of Heartburn
What Causes Everyday Heartburn Fried And Processed Fatty Foods
In other words, junk food. Many report heartburn symptoms after eating burgers and deep-fried foods.
The mechanism most probably lies is LES relaxation, mediated bycholecystokinin overproduction.
A big greasy burger and supersized serving of fries right before bedtime is a good way to fuel the flame of heartburn.
Fatty foods, large portions, and late-night meals are the top three triggers that affect many people with heartburn.
Ill explain the other two triggers shortly.
Dont Miss: What Do You Eat When You Have Heartburn
How Gerd Impacts Your Health
Acid reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach, which your body uses to break down food for digestion, comes up through the opening of the stomach and into your esophagus, causing an array of symptoms. If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. If left untreated, GERD could put you at risk for other, more serious health issues.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Heartburn Asap
Your Daily Habits May Be Triggering Your Heartburn
While most heartburn sufferers may recognize the symptoms of the condition, few are aware of how it starts. The root cause of heartburn stems from a weakened lower esophageal sphincter , or when the LES relaxes abnormally.1
The LES is a circular band of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus, and it acts like a ‘valve’ as it enters the stomach. Normally when you swallow, your LES relaxes to let food and liquid flow into your stomach, and then it closes again. For some people, though, the LES may open too often or not close tight enough. When this happens, the acid in your stomach can flow back up into your esophagus. Since your esophagus doesn’t have the same protective lining that your stomach does, the acid can irritate its more sensitive tissues, triggering heartburn and discomfort.
What To Do If Youre Experiencing A Heartburn
When in doubt about acid reflux, it is always better to be cautious and get it checked out at The Emergency Center, which has the tools and experts needed to determine the right diagnosis and start treatment.
The Emergency Center has diagnostic capabilities like ECG and advanced CT imaging to diagnose or rule out heart attack. Additionally, with an onsite lab and pharmacy, patients can find answers without the wait and get needed prescriptions before leaving. Whether it ends up being just a bad case of heartburn or something more serious, going to get evaluated is the first step in finding both care and something equally as important: peace of mind.
Enjoy life. Well be here for the bumps along the way.
You May Like: What Kind Of Food Causes Heartburn
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is when someone has reflux more than twice a week. It’s a more serious condition than GER. Doctors usually treat it with medicine.
GERD can be a problem if it’s not treated because, over time, the reflux of stomach acid damages the tissue lining the esophagus, causing inflammation and pain. In adults, long-lasting, untreated GERD can lead to permanent damage of the esophagus.
Can Heartburn Be Prevented Or Avoided
You might be able to avoid heartburn by making some lifestyle changes.
- Place 6- to 9-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed to raise it.
- Try to eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down. If you take naps, try sleeping in a chair.
- Quit smoking if you smoke.
- Lose weight if youre overweight.
- Dont overeat.
- Avoid tight clothes and tight belts.
- Avoid foods and beverages that give you heartburn.
Read Also: Types Of Food That Cause Heartburn
Why Does Heartburn Occur After Eating
When you swallow food, it passes down your throat and through your esophagus en route to your stomach. The action of swallowing causes the muscle that controls the opening between your esophagus and stomach, known as the esophageal sphincter, to open, allowing food and liquid to move into your stomach. Otherwise, the muscle remains tightly closed.
If this muscle fails to close properly after you swallow, the acidic contents of your stomach may travel back up into your esophagus. This is called reflux. Sometimes, the stomach acid reaches the lower part of the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.
Eating is a necessity, but getting heartburn doesnt have to be an inevitable result. There are steps you can take to soothe the feeling of heartburn after a meal. Try the following home remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Also Check: Is Lemon Juice Good For Heartburn
Heartburn Causes And Risk Factors
Heartburn symptoms can start up because of a problem with a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter . It’s 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 it’s 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 doesn’t close tightly enough, stomach acid can seep into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.
If your LES doesn’t 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 you’re pregnant, the hormone progesterone can relax your LES and lead to heartburn. Smoking also relaxes the LES and increases stomach acid.
Also Check: How To Not Have Heartburn
Heartburn Is Common But It Can Also Be Quite Serious
Heartburn is the burning feeling you get in your chest when food in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. Unfortunately, heartburn is extremely common, with an estimated 60 million Americans experiencing heartburn at least once a month. Nearly 15 million Americans experience heartburn every day.
When you feel heartburn, it means you have gastroesophageal reflux. The reflux is acidic stomach juice thats flowing back up into your esophagus. It irritates the delicate lining of your esophagus and can be painful. The acid reflux backs up into your neck and throat. Frequent acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Is It Possible To Get Heartburn When You Havent Eaten
As noted earlier, yes, it is possible to get heartburn when you havent eaten.
While eating food is often a triggering factor for heartburn symptoms to begin manifesting, it is not always that direct of a relationship.
Remember that the systems in our body are always working even when we arent actively moving or eating something.
Since these systems are always in motion, the potential for negative symptoms, like heartburn, is possible at any time.
Still, there are some specific reasons why you might be experiencing heartburn even when you didnt just eat a meal or drank a certain beverage, and were going to go into some of them and how to address them in more detail.
Don’t Miss: How To Completely Cure Gerd And Heartburn
How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.