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.
Does Anxiety Cause Heartburn
So there may be a connection to your anxiety and your heartburn. Stress can also cause the production of substances called prostaglandins to deplete. These substances usually protect the stomach from the effects of acid so when they are diminished, it could lead to increased discomfort and heartburn symptoms.
Does Heartburn Mean Baby Will Have A Lot Of Hair
MYTH OR TRUTH: Heartburn means a hairy baby. Answer: TRUTH!
Heartburn usually strikes in the third trimester and is due to estrogen causing the esophageal sphincter to relax, which allows stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Estrogen appears to be responsible for hair growth in the developing baby.
Well go over some quick tips to get rid of heartburn, including:
Also Check: What Foods And Drinks Cause Heartburn
Common Symptoms Of Heartburn
If you’ve got a burning feeling in your chest just behind your breastbone that starts after you eat, it might be heartburn. The symptoms could last from a few minutes to several hours.
- Chest pain, especially after you bend over, lie down, or eat
- Burning at the back of your throat
- Fluid at the back of your throat that tastes hot, sour, acidic, or salty
- Long-term cough, sore throat, or hoarseness
Telling your doctor about these symptoms is usually all they need to make a diagnosis of heartburn. But they may ask you to take special tests to find out how severe the problem is or to keep an eye on your treatment.
What Are Prescription Medications For Heartburn
If over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers do not relieve your heartburn, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription for other medicines, such as:
- Prescription-strength acid blockers: In prescription-strength , Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid® and Axid® can generally relieve heartburn and treat GERD.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These are drugs that block acid production more effectively. Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec® and Protonix®.
There are some proton pump inhibitors that can be purchased over-the-counter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these medications and what is best for you.
Read Also: Can You Have Acid Reflux Without Heartburn
How Do I Know If I Just Have Heartburn Or If It Is A Heart Attack
Around six million people go to the emergency department each year with chest pain. In many cases, the determination has to be made as to whether the chest pain is due to a relatively minor condition or to a life-threatening process. Often this means making the distinction between heartburn and angina or heart attack , since these can all present with similar symptoms. Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, is experienced by as many as 60 million Americans at least once a month. Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux , a disorder in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, the tube-like structure that connects the mouth to the stomach. Symptoms result when harsh stomach juices come in contact with delicate lining of the esophagus. The most common features of heartburn are:
- A painful, burning sensation just below the breastbone or ribs
- Pain that develops after eating or upon reclining
- Improvement in symptoms when taking antacids or acid blockers
- A sour or bitter taste in the mouth and belching
- Chest discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, often occurring along with chest discomfort.
- Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
What Heartburn Feels Like
You get this problem when stomach acid moves into a tube called the esophagus, which carries food from your mouth to the stomach. When that happens, you could have a burning pain in your chest. Your throat might burn, and you could have a sour taste in your mouth or a cough. You may also hear it called GERD , which is heartburn that happens often. But other conditions can have similar symptoms.
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Learn How To Identify The Symptoms
Although different things may trigger heartburn, most people experience similar heartburn symptoms. Knowing what heartburn feels like and recognizing the symptoms you experience sooner can lead to earlier treatmentand relief.
The most common symptom of heartburn is often described as an uncomfortable or painful “burning” sensation in the chest.1 You may also experience pressure or pain just behind the breastbone. The pain may worsen when lying down or bending over, and it can last minutes or continue for a few hours.
Other common symptoms include the feeling that food is sticking in your chest or throat, a sour or acid taste in the back of your throat, discomfort that gets worse after eating, as well as burping and/or bloating.2
There are more uncommon heartburn symptoms you may not know: persistent hiccups, pain that radiates to your neck and shoulders, and finding it difficult or painful to swallow.2 Although rare, cold sweat, shortness of breath, light-headedness or dizziness may accompany heartburn. If these symptoms occur, you should discuss them with your doctor right away to determine the heartburn treatment options available to you, and to ensure you do not have a more serious condition.
Because heartburn symptoms are felt in a similar area, some people can confuse the pain of heartburn with a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether you’re suffering from heartburn or having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.
Serious Side Effects Of Heartburn
Even if its not a heart attack, heartburn can be serious. Dangerous side effects and complications can result if you dont seek treatment. Some common side effects include:
- Awaking from sleep, especially if youve eaten within two hours of going to bed
- Esophageal cancer: if Barretts esophagus is not treated
- Esophagus erosion: scarring, ulcers and narrowing of the tube
- Barretts esophagus: precancerous condition from chronic acid reflux
- Esophageal strictures and dysphagia: swallowing difficulties due to esophagus damage
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Elevate Your Upper Body
Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting your head with extra pillows isnt usually enough. Instead, the goal is to elevate your body from the waist up.
If you have an adjustable bed, set it at a suitable angle to provide relief. If your bed isnt adjustable, you can change the angle of your sleeping surface by using a wedge pillow.
How Do I Know If Pain Is Caused By My Gallbladder Or Heartburn
Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 | Written by Premier Surgical Staff
The causes of heartburn and abdominal pain are often bewildering for many patients of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville. The leading symptoms of both heartburn and gallbladder disease are upper abdominal pain and heartburn, which understandably sends peoples minds racing.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that what typically causes heartburn can also trigger a gallbladder attack a diet of fatty or spicy foods, lying down after eating, being overweight, and genetics.
If the symptoms and the sources of both heartburn and gallbladder are so overlapping, how do you know which you may be experiencing? Upper abdominal pain can be caused by a variety of disorders, including acid reflux and gallbladder disease, and even medical professionals may have difficulty distinguishing among these causes. However, the location, nature, and timing of your symptoms may help clarify a diagnosis.
The gallbladder is a sac that sits in the upper right abdomen that stores bile produced by the liver. The bile aids in the digestion of the food you eat. Most of the time, the gallbladder functions normally, but when it becomes blocked or infected it can become a painful and potentially dangerous medical condition.
Heartburn, or GERD
When to stop guessing and seek immediate help
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The Difference In Their Symptoms
Both acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease have many similar symptoms. You say heartburn, we say acid reflux.
Its pretty clear when you have simple heartburn. Theres a burning in your chest that might have been caused by poor digestion since you sat in your lazy boy chair right after dinner.
With acid reflux and GERD there are additional and very uncomfortable symptoms. Pain and pressure in your chest especially when lying down is one obvious symptom. Add in that bitter and sour taste in your mouth because the food you ate is regurgitating back into your throat.
This keeps occurring because the esophagus and stomach are connected by the LES, better known as the lower esophageal sphincter. It should close once the food reaches the stomach, but sometimes it is weakened or just does not close securely to keep the food down. When someone occasionally experiences these symptoms, they are suffering from acid reflux.
What Causes Heartburn
To know why heartburn happens, it can help to understand how your esophagus and stomach work. When you eat, the food passes down a long tube that connects your mouth and stomach. This tube is called the esophagus. At the bottom of the esophagus is a valve, called the esophageal sphincter. This valve opens to let food through and then closes to keep your stomach contents down. Inside your stomach is a very strong acidic mixture that starts the process of breaking down your food . Your stomach is designed to hold this mixture. However, your esophagus isnt able to hold this mixture without getting hurt.
Sometimes, the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus doesnt close properly, and some of the acidic mixture from your stomach goes back up the esophagus. This is called reflux. When you have reflux, youll often feel the burning sensation thats heartburn. There are a few medical conditions that can cause reflux and make you feel heartburn, including:
- Hiatal hernia .
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease .
- Certain medications, especially anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin.
Heartburn can also be caused by your eating habits including the foods you eat, how large your meals are and how close to bedtime you eat and certain lifestyle habits.
Read Also: How To Cure Heartburn Without Tums
How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
The typical tests that your doctor will use to help diagnose GERD include:
24-hour impedance-probe study: This study involves inserting a flexible tub into your nose and advancing it into the esophagus. The tube has sensors that can detect if acid is refluxing past the esophagus.
Upper endoscopy: This test involves using a special tube with a camera on its end. When youre sedated, the tube can be passed from your mouth into your stomach and part of your small intestine. The upper endoscopy test can help a doctor identify any signs of damage, tumors, inflammation, or ulcers in these areas. Your doctor will usually take a tissue sample known as a biopsy.
Acid from the stomach can damage the lining of the esophagus if GERD is left untreated. This can cause:
The acid can also cause a change in the cells in the esophagus over time. This is called Barretts esophagus. About 10 to 15 percent of people with GERD will develop this condition. Barretts esophagus increases your risk for a type of esophageal cancer known as adenocarcinoma. Experts believe that most cases of this type of esophageal cancer start from cells within Barretts tissue.
Eating certain foods are known to increase the amount of acid in the stomach, which can lead to symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Avoiding these foods may help to reduce symptoms without taking medications. Examples include:
- alcoholic beverages
Making lifestyle changes such as:
Read Also: Home Remedies For Heartburn And Indigestion
How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn
Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:
Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.
When To See A Doctor
If OTC medications arent treating your heartburn, talk to your doctor.
In rare instances when you cant manage heartburn with medications, a doctor may recommend surgery to reduce the risk that acid will reflux up from the stomach.
If you cant tolerate OTC medications for heartburn, your doctor can recommend other options.
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Your Pain Is Worse When You Lie Down
Because heartburn is caused by stomach acid that creeps back into your esophagus, your symptoms can worsen when you lie down or bend over. “If you’re sitting up straight, gravity helps keep food in the stomach,” says Dr. Coyle. “If you lose the gravity, you’re more prone to reflux.”
A qjuick fix? Many people with chronic heartburn often raise the head of their bed, so they’re not laying completely horizontal. Eating meals right before bedtime is also something that should be avoided if you have recurring heartburn.
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 can include:
- discomfort in the chest, such as squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain
- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, stomach, neck, jaw, or back
If a person has some or all of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention. In the words of the American Heart Association , If in doubt, check it out.
Knowing how to distinguish a heart attack from heartburn can save lives.
Also Check: Can Seltzer Water Cause Heartburn
Mix Baking Soda With Water
You might have a heartburn remedy at hand in your kitchen without even knowing it. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid.
To do this, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly. In fact, you should drink everything slowly when you have heartburn.
help relieve nausea, so some believe it may be worth trying for heartburn, too.
Consider adding grated or diced ginger root to your favorite stir-fry recipes, soups, and other foods. To make ginger tea, steep raw ginger root, dried ginger root, or ginger tea bags in boiling water.
Its probably best to avoid ginger ale, though. Carbonated beverages are a common heartburn trigger, and most brands of ginger ale are made with artificial flavoring rather than the real thing.
How Do I Know If I Have Heartburn
Your description of your symptoms may be all a doctor requires to diagnose heartburn, but sometimes additional testing may be necessary. The esophagus can be viewed through an endoscope, a long, thin, flexible tube inserted through the mouth, or by X-ray.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a 24-hour esophageal pH probe study, especially if you have unusual symptoms, such as throat or chest or abdominal pain, coughing, or asthma-like symptoms. In this test, a long, narrow, flexible tube is inserted through the nose down into the esophagus and a probe is left there for 24 hours. This probe detects acid levels to determine if it correlates with your symptoms. A newer technique measures up to 48-hour acid it is done using wireless pH sensors, which eliminates the need for a tube insertion. To detect if your heart is the cause of your symptoms, an electrocardiogram , a recording of the heart‘s electrical activity, may be taken.
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