Try Eating Like French People
If you suffer from heartburn after meals, then a few mealtime changes can help. The French can take up to 2 hours to eat a meal that an American can gobble down in 5 minutes. That’s why according to Healthgrades, the USA is #1 for heartburn.
- Eat slowly
- Talk to people while you eat
- Take small bites
- Chew well
Taking food in large sizes and quantities will lead to heartburn. Sit and relax after a meal to help reduce the risk of suffering from heartburn.
How Is Heartburn & Reflux Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you to describe your reflux symptoms and the length of time you have had them and review the need for prescribing you acid-suppressant medication. Should you require such medication long term or the treatment is not working, and your symptoms continue or return, your GP may request an endoscopy. This will ensure there are no underlying problems with your oesophagus or stomach. Up to half of all patients with symptoms that suggest they have reflux turn out to have only mild inflammation or an oesophagus that looks quite normal.
Cytosponge: This is a new test that is available in some areas of the UK to identify Barretts oesophagus in people who have persistent heartburn and reflux symptoms. For the Cytosponge test you swallow a small capsule with a sponge inside, which is attached to a piece of thread. Approximately 7 min after swallowing it, the capsule dissolves in the stomach, and the sponge inside is released and then a nurse removes the sponge by pulling on the thread. On the way out the sponge collects cells from the oesophagus lining so that the laboratory can check if there are any changes in the cells.
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
- 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.
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Causes Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Lots of people get heartburn from time to time. There’s often no obvious reason why.
Sometimes it’s caused or made worse by:
- certain food and drink such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
- being overweight
- some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers
- a hiatus hernia when part of your stomach moves up into your chest
Take Time To Eat Slowly
Many reflux and heartburn symptoms begin after meals, and eating too muchviii and too quicklyix are classic heartburn catalysts. Having five or six small meals a day is better than several large ones.viii Take time to enjoy your food, chewing slowly and eating it in a relaxed manner to head off heartburn.
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Quick Relief For Heartburn
If you are experiencing heartburn, you may ease the problem by:
- Standing up straight: Lying down may put more pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. Standing up reduces this pressure and decreases the escape of acidic contents from the stomach upwards through the food pipe. This is the reason it is advised to not lie down or sleep right after eating.
- Drinking non-fat milk: Non-fat milk can act as a temporary barrier between the gut lining and the acidic stomach contents. This may provide relief in symptoms. Full fat milk should not be consumed for heartburn as it can aggravate acid reflux. Low-fat yogurt also provides a soothing effect in heartburn along with providing probiotics or good bacteria that aid digestion.
- Loosening up your clothing: Tight clothes can put pressure on the tummy causing acid reflux or heartburn
- Taking ginger: Ginger has several medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory and also helps in the digestion of food. Sipping some ginger tea may prevent and relieve heartburn
- Taking over the counter antacids: Antacids provide relief by neutralizing the acidic contents. They provide rapid relief from heartburn.
- Drinking dilute lemon water: A small amount of lemon juice mixed with water and honey can help ease the symptoms of heartburn.
Other medications for heartburn, including the H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors or PPI, may provide long term relief from heartburn.
Watch What You Eat Drink And Do
Making some changes to your lifestyle can go a long way toward easing the pain of heartburn.
Say goodbye to cigarettes. Smoking causes your body to make less saliva, a liquid that helps stamp out stomach acid. That can lead to burning in your esophagus. Tobacco may also cause your stomach to make more acid and relax the muscles at the lower end of your esophagus that can shut down the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Chewing gum and sucking on lozenges can help you make more saliva.
Donât lie down after you eat. If you need an afternoon siesta, snooze upright in a chair. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed, and donât make the last meal of the day your biggest one.
Raise the head of your bed. If the top of your bed is higher than the bottom, itâs harder for the acid to travel up. You can do this with a block of wood under the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress.
Be careful what medications you use. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other medications, such as some sedatives and blood pressure drugs, can trigger heartburn. Ask your doctor if any of your medications might be causing your symptoms. There may be something else you can take.
Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing, including belts, can cause stomach contents to push upward.
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Are There Any Tests For Heartburn
If it is obvious from the symptoms that a person has heartburn, no tests or exams may be necessary. Advice in regard to lifestyle modifications, diet, or medications may begin immediately.
If your health care professional is not sure about the diagnosis, or if he or she is concerned about damage done by chronic heartburn, tests may be ordered. This is true especially if the patient has already been prescribed medications that are not relieving the heartburn.
There is no simple blood test for heartburn. The tests used to diagnose heartburn include the following:
Ways To Quell The Fire Of Heartburn
Heartburn is a common problem. It’s caused by the backwash of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and stomach. This is formally called gastroesophageal reflux disease . More than just a minor discomfort, heartburn can significantly reduce quality of life. “Heartburn can cause damage to the esophagus and even increase the risk of cancer if ignored and untreated,” says Dr. William Kormos, editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
These eight steps can help ease heartburn.
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What Causes Acid Reflux And Whom Does It Affect
The circular band of muscle at the bottom of the gullet normally prevents acid leaking up . Problems occur if the sphincter does not work very well. This is common but in most cases it is not known why it does not work so well. In some cases the pressure in the stomach rises higher than the sphincter can withstand – for example, during pregnancy, after a large meal, or when bending forward. If you have a hiatus hernia , you have an increased chance of developing reflux. See the separate leaflet called Hiatus Hernia for more details.
Most people have heartburn at some time, perhaps after a large meal. However, about 1 adult in 3 has some heartburn every few days, and nearly 1 adult in 10 has heartburn at least once a day. In many cases it is mild and soon passes. However, it is quite common for symptoms to be frequent or severe enough to affect quality of life. Regular heartburn is more common in smokers, pregnant women, heavy drinkers, those who are overweight and those aged between 35 and 64 years.
Are There Any Complications From Oesophagitis
- Scarring and narrowing . If you have severe and long-standing inflammation it can cause a stricture of the lower gullet . This is uncommon.
- Barrett’s oesophagus. In this condition the cells that line the lower oesophagus become changed. The changed cells are more prone than usual to becoming cancerous.
- Cancer. Your risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus is slightly increased compared to the normal risk if you have long-term acid reflux.
It has to be stressed that most people with reflux do not develop any of these complications. Tell your doctor if you have pain or difficulty when you swallow, which may be the first symptom of a complication.
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Prescription Proton Pump Inhibitors
Healthcare providers prescribe PPIs to treat people with gastroesophageal reflux disease , peptic ulcer disease, or other digestive disorders that may cause excess stomach acid.
Prescription proton pump inhibitors are available under the following brand names and may have generic formulations:
Prescription PPIs are meant to be taken under a healthcare provider’s supervision and only for a limited amount of time. Chronic use of PPIs has been associated with heart attacks, kidney disease, and bone fractures.
Take A Licorice Root Supplement
Licorice root is generally considered a traditional, folk sort of treatment the kind that has been used for decades, if not centuries. Why? Theres a chance that it will help increase mucus production to coat the lining of the esophagus more reliably. This can prevent stomach acid damage.
Of course, eating licorice candy wont exactly help you. The trick lies in a supplement known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL. The supplement has reduced glycyrrhizin content to reduce licorice side effects, providing the benefits without too many downsides.
However, do note that you shouldnt consume too much DGL, according to experts at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Excessive DGL consumption can cause:
- Medication interference
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What Kinds Of Complications Are Caused By Frequent Heartburn
- Excess stomach acid in the esophagus can cause ulcers, damage to the inner layers of the esophageal wall, and narrowing .
- Very rarely, the esophagus may bleed or tear completely because it is so damaged. In severe cases, a person may vomit blood or have small amounts of blood in bowel movements, found only on testing the stool.
- Regurgitated stomach acid can damage the respiratory tract, causing asthma, hoarseness, chronic cough, sore throat, or tooth damage . A person may feel as if he or she has a lump in the throat.
- If the acid exposure continues for long periods of time, the esophagus becomes thick and damaged. A person may then have difficulty swallowing and food becomes stuck.
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Ways To Prevent Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Most of us are all too familiar with the painful, burning sensation in the center of the chest thats associated with heartburn.
In fact, up to 28% of adults in North America experience gastroesophageal reflux disease , a common condition that causes heartburn. GERD occurs when acid is pushed up from the stomach back into the esophagus, which leads to the heartburn sensation .
Although people often use medications to treat acid reflux and heartburn, many lifestyle modifications can also help you reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Here are 14 natural ways to reduce your acid reflux and heartburn, all backed by scientific research.
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How Our Acid Reflux Relief System Can Help
Our Acid Reflux Relief System is specially designed to provide relief from heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, and other associated conditions. In fact, clinical studies have revealed that individuals who used the Acid Reflux Relief pillow showed significant improvement in:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease // Acid Reflux
- Laryngopharyngeal Reflux // Silent Reflux
- Gestational Reflux
Our three-part Acid Reflux Relief System is engineered to support the physician-recommended postureleft side, at an inclinefor optimal sleep with acid reflux. For more information on how MedCline can help, head over to our FAQ page for in-depth details on our products and more.
Surgery For A Hiatus Hernia
Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia. This involves making small cuts in your tummy .
It’s done under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep during the operation.
After surgery, it usually takes:
- 2 to 3 days to go home
- 3 to 6 weeks to go back to work
- 6 weeks before you can eat what you want
- a few months to recover from side effects like bloating, burping, farting and difficulty swallowing
There’s a small risk that your side effects will not go away and you’ll need more surgery.
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What Causes Heartburn
A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus normally prevents foods and acid from backing up. This muscle acts like a tight drawstring to close off the opening between the esophagus and stomach when a person is not eating.
Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close all the way.
Why doesn’t the lower esophageal sphincterclose all the way?
Many different things loosen the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Certain foods and drinks loosen the lower esophageal sphincter. These include chocolate, peppermint, caffeine-containing beverages , fatty foods, and alcohol.
- The body’s position affects the lower esophageal sphincter. It is easier for stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus if a person is lying down or bending over.
- Anything that increases the pressure on the stomach can force stomach acid backward and cause heartburn. Lifting, straining, coughing, tight clothing, obesity, and pregnancy can worsen heartburn.
- Certain medical conditions increase a person’s chance of suffering from heartburn. A hiatal hernia, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases are linked to heartburn.
- Many prescription medications can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, including certain blood pressure and heart medications and the asthma drug theophylline.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
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How To Get Rid Of Heartburn Quickly: Medications & Home Remedies
If youve ever experienced a burning sensation in your chest after eating, youve probably had heartburn.
Caused by stomach acid coming up into the esophaguswhich is called acid refluxheartburn can happen to anyone, and it may get worse after eating certain foods, bending over, or lying down.
Heartburn, as common as it is, can be painful and even debilitating.
Luckily, there are several at-home remedies for heartburn that can help improve your symptoms, including over-the-counter medications.
If you find your heartburn symptoms are occurring more frequently or not going away when you try to treat them, its important to talk to a doctor who can rule out serious medical conditions and help you find a treatment that decreases your discomfort.
Discuss H2 Blockers With Your Doctor
If an antacid isn’t working, it may be time to consider stronger medications.
Your first option will likely be an H2 blocker like Tagamet or Zantac. These drugs suppress stomach-acid production. All four H2 inhibitors on the market are now available without a prescription and considered to be safe during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor before taking them.
“They really work,” says Einarson. “You only have to take one or two a day.”
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