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How To Know If You Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux

Make Gravity Work For You

If You Have Acid Reflux, This is What You Should Know

People spend approximately one-third of their lives sleeping. Nighttime reflux is particularly dangerous because stomach acid may come into contact with the esophagus for many hours at night while sleeping, damaging and eroding the tissue. Sleep in a way that makes gravity work for you and keeps stomach acid in its place. Put wooden planks under the head of your mattress to raise your head by about 6 to 8 inches. Other good ways to raise your head include sleeping on a wedge pillow or sleeping with multiple pillows under your head. You may also notice that sleeping on your left side is better for preventing reflux than sleeping on your right side.

How Is Acid Reflux Diagnosed

If you experience classic symptoms of acid reflux disease — chronic heartburn and regurgitation — without any troublesome complications, it may be relatively easy for your doctor to make an acid reflux diagnosis.

A few people have GERD that doesn’t respond to treatment. Or they may have other concerning symptoms, such as weight loss, difficulty swallowing, anemia, or black stools. If you’re one of them, you may need any of the following tests.

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.

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Treatments For Acid Reflux

Your doctor may recommend treating milder forms of acid reflux through a combination of lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. If you are diagnosed with GERD, the doctor may write you a prescription to help with the symptoms.

If lifestyle changes and medication fail to provide relief, a physician might recommend that you have surgery for acid reflux. Available surgical options for treating the condition include:

  • Fundoplication– A minimally invasive procedure that involves wrapping the area around your lower esophageal sphincter to tighten that muscle, preventing reflux.
  • LINX device – Your surgeon wraps a ring of small magnetic beads around the place where your stomach and esophagus meet. The magnetized beads’ strength keeps that juncture closed but still allows food to pass to your stomach.

Rare Symptoms Of Acid Reflux: When You Should Be Worried

How to Determine If You Have Hypochlorhydria

Acid reflux may be a common gastrointestinal problem, but it turns out its symptoms are not always that common. From headaches to nerve pain, there are uncommon acid reflux symptoms that can cause alarm and panic to patients.

So, what are rare acid reflux symptoms? Headaches, dizziness, asthma symptoms, and nerve pain are among those considered to be uncommon but safe acid reflux symptoms. On the other hand, fever and intense pain accompanied by left arm pain are just two examples of potential medical emergencies for reflux patients.

Read on to learn more about the lesser known acid reflux symptoms, and whether or not they pose a health risk.

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Opt For Cooked Onions Instead Of Raw

Raw onions are a common trigger for acid reflux and heartburn.

One older study in people with acid reflux showed that eating a meal containing raw onion significantly increased heartburn, acid reflux, and burping, compared with consuming an identical meal that didnt contain onions .

More frequent burping might suggest that more gas is being produced. This could be due to the high amounts of fermentable fiber in onions .

Raw onions are also more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn .

Whatever the reason, if you think eating raw onion makes your symptoms worse, you should avoid it and opt for cooked onions instead.

Summary

Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.

Check If You Have Acid Reflux

The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
  • an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid

You may also have:

  • a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
  • a hoarse voice

Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

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Symptoms Of Acid Reflux In Children

In older children, things are slightly different.

To make things clear, we report a table below. It shows GERD-related symptoms grouped by age.

As we can see, the differences are also due to the fact that children cannot express their feelings up to 3 years of age .

Another important symptom to remember is recurrent abdominal pain in children.

It refers to the frequency and duration of heartburn episodes in children.

In particular, the threshold to consider is the following: 3 months in the preceding period and, over this 3 months period of time, the occurrence of at least 3 serious episodes of pain that are severe enough to affect the daily activities of the affected patients.

Abdominal pain is closely related to acid reflux in children, and this has been proved because successful treatments for heartburn also fixed the abdominal pain.

Treat The Problem With Medicine

How Do I Know If I Have Acid Reflux?

Heartburn is both a symptom and a disease. When symptoms of heartburn are frequent or severe, its called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Untreated GERD can lead to esophageal cancer. There are two types of effective stomach heartburn medicine used to treat heartburn: antacids that neutralize acid, and acid-blockers, which stop the stomach from making acid.

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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.

Does Heartburn & Acid Reflux Need To Be Monitored And If So How

Many people find their symptoms improve greatly if they change their lifestyle. Others may need to take medicines from time to time or long-term, depending on the results of an endoscopy. There are some people for whom drug treatment is not suitable for one reason or another. In such cases, your GP may then refer you to your local hospitals Gastroenterology Department for their advice. The specialist may choose to measure the amount of acid you are refluxing over a 24-hour period. This is called pH monitoring. The test is often useful when considering if anti-reflux surgery would be appropriate.

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Differentiating Heartburn From Other Diseases

  • 1Know the difference between acid reflux and a heart attack. Pain from a heart attack generally feels like squeezing or tightening in the chest. Oftentimes, you may have jaw or back pain in addition to pain in your chest. You may also feel it in your arms. It can feel different from heartburn pain, which usually moves up into your chest and burns.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • However, acid reflux can be a sign of a heart attack, so if you’re ever unsure, you should go to the emergency room.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • Other symptoms of heart attacks include breaking out in a cold sweat, not being able to breath properly, feeling very tired, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and having jaw and arm pain.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • 2Understand how asthma can act like GERD. You may have been diagnosed with asthma as an adult if you have frequent coughing after meals or shortness of breath. However, sometimes acid reflux looks much like asthma. The main way you can tell that it is actually acid reflux is if you mostly have asthma attacks at night or if you often have them when you lie down. Ask your doctor if your asthma could really be acid reflux, or talk to her if you think acid reflux may be making your asthma worse.XResearch source
  • Symptoms Of Acid Reflux: Learning The Difference

    How to Improves the Heartburn and Reflux

    Generally speaking, we should say that the most common symptom is heartburn.

    Yes, it may sound quite weird, but its true.

    In fact, the burning sensation the affected people refer to in almost all cases, its exactly heartburn.

    In the short video below you can find a proper explanation.

    Acid reflux is the condition, heartburn is the resulting effect.

    This is a thing to remember.

    Acid reflux is the disease, heartburn and other symptoms are the direct consequence, and they are due to the action of acid stomach content when its found inside the esophagus.

    According to the position of the body, some relevant habits, activities, and eating habits as well, symptoms may be weak or strong.

    In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.

    However, in many cases, they are reported frequently, and their number is higher than expected.

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    Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd

    The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.

    Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

    Common Types Of Antacids

    Many different types of antacid are available. Some are sold under a brand name and others are named after their main ingredient. Brands include Gaviscon and Pepto-Bismol .

    Ingredients to look for include:

    • aluminium hydroxide
    • calcium carbonate
    • sodium bicarbonate

    Some antacids also contain other medicines, such as an alginate and simeticone .

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    When Heartburn Becomes Acid Reflux

    There is a fairly simple way to know if heartburn is caused by gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. As Andrew Gawron, MD, a gastroenterologist with University of Utah Health puts it, The definition of gastroesophageal acid reflux disease is when reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus cause troublesome symptoms or complications that impact the quality of life.

    In other words, if heartburn is frequent enough that it causes problems that make your quality of life diminished, you may have acid reflux disease. This might mean that youre unable to sleep at night because of pain, or you might go so far as to find that acid is eating away at the lining of the throat or esophagus. In some cases, GERD can also predispose someone to a pre-cancerous condition in the esophagus called Barretts esophagus.

    Treatment For A Hiatus Hernia

    4 Things To Avoid If You Have Heartburn

    Broadly, treatment follows these steps:

  • Change your eating habits, for example, eat smaller, more frequent meals and do other things to help with the symptoms of GORD.
  • If you smoke, try to give up, as it can irritate your digestive system and make your symptoms worse.
  • Buy medicines from the pharmacy .
  • If medicines from the pharmacy and changing your eating habits do not help, see a GP, who can prescribe stronger medicines.
  • If stronger medicines do not work, a GP can send you for further tests to find out if your symptoms are caused by a hiatus hernia. They might also prescribe medicines for long-term GORD.
  • A GP might refer you to a specialist to check if you need surgery. This usually only happens if other treatments have not worked and you keep having very bad symptoms.
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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.

    Can Acid Reflux Cause Nerve Pain

    Acid reflux symptoms can be typical or atypical in nature. Tingling limbs and nerve pain are considered rare and atypical acid reflux symptoms.

    Dr. Mark Babyatsky, a former department chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, explained that inflammation from acid reflux can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia.

    As a result, the diaphragm can become inflamed, affecting the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve connecting the neck, lung, heart, and diaphragm. In this scenario, a patient can feel referred pain in the limbs, specifically the arms and shoulders.

    Alternatively, nerve-related issues may be caused by pre-existing neuropathic conditions, leading to acid reflux. An example of this is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy characterized by slow digestion. This leads to bloating, heartburn, and vomiting of undigested food.

    If youre experiencing acid reflux symptoms with nerve pain, theres a high chance that your nerve pain is not reflux-related, especially if you are experiencing temporary reflux. Get in touch with a medical professional to find a separate diagnosis concerning your nerve pain.

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    Is Acid Reflux Disease Ever Treated With Surgery

    If medications don’t completely resolve your symptoms of acid reflux disease and the symptoms are severely interfering with your life, your doctor could recommend surgery. There are two types of surgical treatment used to relieve symptoms of GERD if daily use of medication isn’t effective.

    The most recently approved procedure involves surgically placing a ring known as a LINX device around the outside of the lower end of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The ring consists of magnetic titanium beads held together by titanium wires. The device helps reflux by preventing stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. In one study, patients were able to stop taking medicine or cut down the amount they took. You shouldn’t get the LINX device if you’re allergic to certain metals, and once you have a LINX device you shouldn’t get any type of MRI test.

    Another surgical procedure called a fundoplication can help prevent further acid reflux. It creates an artificial valve using the top of your stomach. The procedure involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it, prevent acid reflux, and repair a hiatal hernia. Surgeons perform this procedure through either an open incision in the abdomen or chest or with a lighted tube inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen.

    These procedures are done only as a last resort for treating acid reflux disease after medical treatment has proven to be inadequate.

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    What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux

    Let

    Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.

    With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.

    While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.

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    Can Acid Reflux Disease Be Treated With Medications

    In many cases, lifestyle changes combined with over-the-counter medications are all you need to control the symptoms of acid reflux disease.

    Antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Riopan, can neutralize the acid from your stomach. But they may cause diarrhea or constipation, especially if you overuse them. It’s best to use antacids that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide. When combined, they may help counteract these gastrointestinal side effects.

    If antacids don’t help, your doctor may try other medications. Some require a prescription. Your doctor may suggest more than one type or suggest you try a combination of medications such as these:

    • Foaming agents coat your stomach to prevent reflux.
    • H2 blockers decrease acid production.
    • Proton pump inhibitors also reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes.
    • Prokinetics can help strengthen the LES, empty your stomach faster, and reduce acid reflux.

    Don’t combine more than one type of antacid or other medications without your doctor’s guidance.

    Chew Gum To Neutralize Stomach Acid In The Oesophagus

    Chewing gum may help to neutralize stomach acid in your oesophagus due to its alkaline nature. Because the chewing action produces more saliva, it can also help with acid reflux symptoms by washing acid back down into your stomach where it belongs. Try chewing gum for about half an hour after you eat, which is about as long as it takes for the food to pass through your stomach.

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