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How Does One Get Heartburn

The Surgery Option: Relief For The Most Severe Cases

How To Get Rid Of Heartburn In 1 Minute

Surgery is rarely required for heartburn.

However, for extreme reflux cases the most established and effective procedure is the Nissen Fundoplication. It has been the go-to surgery for decades. For cases of medium severity, the newer Stretta procedure can be helpful.

There are some other new procedures. However most are just filling the pockets of their inventors, without offering advantages for patients.

That being said, do not despair. As mentioned above, surgery only makes sense for a very small percentage of heartburn cases. A surgeon once told me that surgery is only the best option for about 1% of chronic acid reflux cases.

Things You Might Not Know About Heartburn

Ill never forget my first time.

It was when I was at university and sharing a house with other students. Our dinner routine was always the same: cook together, eat together, and sprawl on the sofa or even fall straight into bed.

Lying on the sofa one evening, I felt a sudden, sharp pain in my chest, and a slight feeling of pressure. It wasnt too painful and was over quickly, so I didnt give it much thought.

Over the following weeks, however, I experienced the same discomfort again and again, at varying degrees of intensity. A visit to the doctor revealed that I was suffering from heartburn. Thinking about it afterward, the diagnosis totally added up: the symptoms were always worse when I lay down after eating, especially if Id over-indulged.

The doctor prescribed me a proton-pump inhibitor, or PPI, which is an acid-reducing medication. The heartburn went away on that drug, and stayed away even when I discontinued the medication. At least for a while. When the reflux finally flared up again in the form of airway reflux, I had to figure out what was going on and how to fix the problem permanently. Thats when I started Refluxgate.

But lets talk about you. Do you have heartburn? If yes, let me share with you the most important things I have learned about heartburn from my research and interviews over the years:

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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

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What Causes Chronic Heartburn

Reflux is a protective function that prevents the stomach from overstretching. If you eat too much, the stomach releases pressure into the esophagus.

When this happens on a minor scale, its not a problem. However, some people are more prone to reflux than others – this can be due to an anatomical dysfunction.

There are different causes for reflux. One is a too weak lower esophageal sphincter . This is the valve that sits between the stomach and the esophagus.

In some people, this valve is simply not strong enough to perform its function effectively. It might have become damaged from decades of overeating.

Another cause can be a too tense pyloric sphincter . In that case, the pressure in your stomach will be higher than usual, which means you will get reflux more easily.

Either way, what it comes down to is that you need to be careful to avoid reflux triggers, or to fix the cause of your reflux.

Bring Lifestyle Changes To Get Rid Of Heartburn

HeartBurn No More

Wrong eating habits and certain other habits make it difficult for your body to digest food properly. There are some other lifestyle habits that lead to heartburn and you need to change them. Here is a list of such lifestyle changes that you must adopt if you want to get rid of heartburn.

  • Drink lots of water during the day. It is good for proper digestion. Water dilutes gastric juices and helps you avoid build-up of excessive stomach acid.
  • Always eat smaller meals so that you do not put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Also, have smaller bites while eating slowly. This lets your stomach work properly to digest the food you eat.
  • Dont go to sleep just after having your meal. Sleep after 2-3 hours of your dinner. This time is for your food to get digested so that you do not experience nighttime heartburn.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Extra body weight puts pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter which eventually loosens and becomes weak giving you heartburn every now and then.
  • Quit smoking as it also makes your lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Drink less alcohol for the same reason.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. Very tight jeans or belts, for example, will put undue pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. This may trigger acid reflux.
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    What You Wear Matters Too

    Lifestyle changes can have surprising effects on acid reflux symptoms. The clothing you wear may influence your symptoms. Tight-fitting clothing puts pressure on the abdomen and may force acid and food in your stomach up into your esophagus. Avoid wearing tight pants, belts, shapewear, and constraining clothing that puts pressure on your abdomen. Wear loose-fitting pants, shirts, and other types of clothing to give yourself ample room to encourage proper digestive function. These styles may help prevent reflux, too.

    Only Drink 100% Arabica

    Strictly speaking, there are two categories of coffee beans, Robusta and Arabica. They both have their own general flavor profiles. Arabica tends to be of a lighter and sweeter taste. Robusta tends to have a more earthy and bitter flavor. Robusta is often preferred because it has about twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica beans. The beans are also harder and more resistant to disease, making them lower maintenance to grow. But the fact that Robusta has a significantly higher caffeine content than Arabica beans means that it is easier to get over-caffeinated, thereby relaxing the LES and causing reflux. Drinking Arabica beans can make it easier to control caffeine intake.

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    What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn

    There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .

    Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.

    Quit smoking: Smoking interferes with the proper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter.

    Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.

    Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.

    Elevate Your Upper Body

    How to get rid of heartburn naturally

    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.

    Also Check: Can Seltzer Water Cause Heartburn

    You Should Avoid Foods And Drinks Such As:

    • Alcohol Alcohol can relax your lower esophageal sphincter.
    • Coffee and Orange Juice These two beverages can trigger or make heartburn worse.
    • Fatty foods, fried foods, and acidic foods For example, oranges, grapefruits, and tomatoes can cause heartburn.
    • Spicy foods Everyone is different, but spicy foods are known to give people heartburn.
    • Sodas bubbly drinks can often give people heartburn.

    Some people have gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, for short. This is chronic heartburn and a serious form of acid reflux, and heartburn is the symptom.

    If you experience heartburn more than twice a week, a checkup with your doctor may be a good idea.

    Diet: A Crucial Part Of The Solution

    Diet is by far the most important aspect in the treatment of heartburn in fact, some reflux cases are related directly to diet alone.

    Even if your heartburn has other underlying causes, a change in your diet will still help to control the symptoms. One way of accomplishing this is by avoiding known reflux triggers.

    There is a lot of advice out there on diets for heartburn. And much of that advice is conflicted. Often, its simply general wisdom that is not backed up by studies. You dont want to restrict yourself unnecessarily, but instead make a few effective changes in how and what you eat.

    That is why I wrote my book How to Cure Heartburn without Pills, where I take an in-depth look at the methods that really work for healing heartburn. The book is primarily focused on diet and eliminating reflux triggers, but also contains information about other methods, like medical procedures. Its a complete resource to help you get rid of your heartburn, naturally and effectively.

    References

    Farré R, Sifrim D. Regulation of basal tone, relaxation and contraction of the lower oesophageal sphincter. Relevance to drug discovery for oesophageal disorders. Br J Pharmacol. 2007 153:858869.

    Esophageal Cancer. Canadian Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/esophageal/esophageal-cancer/precancerous-conditions/?region=on. Abgerufen am 24.04.2019.

    Holzer P. Acid-sensitive ion channels and receptors. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2009 :283332.

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    Diagnosis Of Heartburn In Teenagers

    Heartburn can be diagnosed based on the symptoms and medical history of your teen. If dietary changes and medications do not improve it, your doctor may order tests to confirm the cause of heartburn. It can be :

    • Radiography : This is a visualization of the esophagus under an x-ray with the help of contrast liquid. Your teen should swallow contrast liquid, such as barium, during this procedure. This method helps to identify structural defects in the esophagus. Contrast may cause nausea and light-colored stool, but it is not something to worry about.
    • Esophageal impedance and pH monitoring: This test helps to identify the acid reflux using specific tubes.
    • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy: This test could give clear information about esophageal tissue damages from acid and sphincter function. Your doctor may also collect samples for biopsy during endoscopy. Usually, endoscopy is done in severe and moderate cases of heartburn.

    Doctors may order blood tests, breath tests, and stool tests to exclude helicobacter pylori infection that could cause heartburn. The infection is often caused due to the consumption of contaminated food or water.

    How To Tell If Its Heartburn Or Chest Pain From Coronavirus

    What causes regurgitation with acid reflux?

    Heartburn is nevertheless a very common symptom reported in a substantial portion of the general adult US population. It may be very easy to confuse heartburn with chest pain or pressure in the chest, which COVID-19 patients often experience. So here is a way to differentiate heartburn from chest pressure / pain from other causes:

    • Heartburn feels like a burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and may occur at night, the discomfort often worsens when lying down or bending over, and there may be a bitter or acidic taste in your mouth. Taking liquid antacids may quickly relieve this discomfort.
    • Chest pain and pressure related to COVID-19 may feel like it is overall harder to breathe, does not worsen after you eat or while laying down, and does not respond to liquid antacids

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    The Lower Esophageal Sphincter

    When you swallow food, it travels down the esophagus and passes through a muscular ring known as the lower esophageal sphincter . This structure opens to allow food to pass into the stomach. It is supposed to remain closed to keep stomach contents where they belong. If the valve is weak or damaged in some way, it may open and allow stomach contents and acid to travel back up, or reflux, into the esophagus. Acid reflux produces a burning sensation.

    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.

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    Eat Bananas To Get Rid Of Heartburn

    Bananas can be categorized as natural antacids as they lessen the effect of your acid reflux. This is enough a reason to have the tasty banana for getting relief from heartburn. High on potassium which is an alkalizing mineral with a pH of 14, banana helps in moderating the acidity of your stomach by increasing its pH. Higher the pH, lower is the acidity. However, you need to eat a ripe, preferably overripe banana because the bananas that are green or are not overripe contain potassium in the form of potassium nitrate and this can actually make your heartburn more painful. Potassium is not the only reason for bananas being such a good remedy for heartburn. Bananas also have such a chemical that stimulates your stomach lining and thus it produces more mucus to act as a buffer against acid.

    Get this:

    • Overripe banana

    Do this:

    • This will keep your heartburn away.

    Chew Gum To Get Rid Of Heartburn

    The #1 Mistake Treating Heartburn

    A research shows that people with gastroesophageal reflux disease got relief when they were asked to chew sugar-free gum for about half an hour after a meal. When you chew gum, it stimulates your salivary glands to increase the flow of saliva. This saliva washes away or neutralizes your stomach acid giving you instant relief from heartburn.

    Get this:

    • Place the piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth after you have finished your meal.
    • Now chew this for 25-30 minutes.

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    What Are My Options If These Treatments Don’t Work

    If a person continues to have heartburn, a health care professional may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide . This drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.

    If a person still have symptoms, a health care professional will then recommend one of the drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole , lansoprazole , esomeprazole , rabeprazole , and pantoprazole . These tablets prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped. They may have to be used indefinitely.

    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.

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    Proton Pump Inhibitors Are Overprescribed And Dangerous

    PPIs are achieving record profits for pharmaceutical companies, who have marketed them aggressively as a miracle cure for heartburn.

    As a result, proton-pump inhibitors have long been readily prescribed by doctors.

    In recent years, however, the long-term side effects of PPIs have become clearer.

    Disruption of the Bacterial Balance

    Nowadays, most people are aware that we have both good and bad bacteria living in our intestines.

    The good bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with our bodies. We help each other. Good bacteria create some of the nutrients our bodies need, support our immune system, and prevent bad bacteria from multiplying.

    Unfortunately, the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria can easily be destabilized, for example by antibiotics.

    Heartburn medication can damage this balance as well. PPIs alter the level of acidity in our digestive tract. Stomach acid is our natural barrier against food-borne pathogens. PPIs weaken this sterilizing effect, leaving us more vulnerable to bacteria in food, which can infect the intestines. Also, less stomach acid means that some food might not be broken down sufficiently. What is not digested by our body can provide nourishment to bad bacteria.

    Acid Reflux Drugs Lose Their Efficacy Over Time

    Even if you take PPIs, damage to the esophagus will continue to occur. The progression of the disease is only slowed down.

    Reduced Absorption of Vitamins and Minerals

    This is a huge problem!

    What Else Should I Know

    How to Treat Heartburn during Pregnancy

    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.

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