When To Seek Care For Heartburn
Dont ignore heartburn. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and increase your risk of cancer. Sometimes natural remedies and over-the-counter medications are not enough to reduce your symptoms of heartburn, and prescription medications may be necessary.
Schedule a virtual visit with a general practice doctor if lifestyle changes and medicines are not helping, if you have heartburn three to four times per week, or if you have other symptoms such as food getting stuck in your throat, vomiting or unintentional weight loss.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, dark-colored vomit, black stools, persistent vomiting, or feel like you are choking, seek care in the Emergency Room right away.
The Surprising Role Stomach Acid Plays In Gerd
If malabsorption of carbs can cause increased abdominal pressurewhich leads to heartburnwhats the reason for the absorption problem in the first place? Interestingly enough, this question brings us right back to healthy stomach acid levels.
Low stomach acid can cause malabsorption of carbs and bacterial overgrowth. In many cases, low stomach acid may be the driving force behind increased IAP and GERD. Lets explore how.
What Is Heart Burn
Heartburn is a burning pain that can be felt behind your breast bone. It can be so intense that the patient sometimes believes to have a heart attack. It can be accompanied with stomach acid reaching your mouth, especially when you bend over or lie down.Heartburn usually occurs after we eat. Food travels down the esophagus to the stomach. Between the esophagus and the stomach exists a muscular valve that should close after you have eaten. In the case of heartburn this valve closes only partially or not at all, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This condition is also called GERD . Acid build up results in a burning chest pain called heartburn.Heartburn on a regular basis can lead to serious injuries of the esophagus , bronchitis and asthma and tooth enamel erosion contributing to cavities formation.
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What Causes Acid Reflux
If your symptoms do not subside after improving your eating habits and lifestyle, please seek medical help to properly evaluate the underlying cause. Long-term acid reflux can lead to Barretts esophagus, manifested as esophageal scarring and constriction which leads to swallowing disorders.
Information provided here is meant for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional.
A reference list:
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.
The Real Cause Of Gerd
So if too much acid isnt the driving force behind heartburn, what is? The real cause of GERD is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure .
Heres how it normally works. A bundle of muscles at the end of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter , keeps your stomach contents from traveling up into your esophagus as acid reflux. Aside from swallowing and burping, the LES remains closed. However, if youre experiencing changes in your IAP, the sphincter relaxes and opens at inappropriate times. That allows GERD to become a problem.
Question 4 Of : Treatment
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Treat Your Bacterial Overgrowth
The next step in understanding how to cure GERD without drugs is addressing bacterial overgrowth. Low stomach acid allows bacteria to thrive in the stomach, compete for nutrients, and generate excess gas. Treating the problem can involve several steps, depending on your individual underlying issues.
The Price Is Too High
The temporary relief of antacids or acid-reducing medications are never worth the long-term consequences. That little purple pill has now been proven to cause dangerous vitamin deficiencies and increased risk of osteoporosis, immune problems, and premature death!10,11
There’s a better way that can bring long-term relief without harming your health
Try these 9 strategies to naturally relieve GERD without resorting to antacids and other potentially harmful drugs:
The next time you’re tempted to reach for a roll of Rolaids, try these lifestyle tips and all-natural supplements instead your health is worth it!
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Relieve Heartburn The Natural Way
Although there are many over the counter drugs available against heartburn it is advisable to relive heartburn with one of these natural remedies first. Long-term use of antacids are linked to serious health conditions and worsening of heartburn symptoms.
These remedies can be very effective but you have to try out which one works best for you. We are all unique individuals and what works for somebody doesnt have to work for you. Often a combination of these remedies will work.
Tips When Medication Causes Heartburn
If your heartburn is caused by a medicine, here are tips for finding relief:
1. Donât stop taking any prescription medication without first talking with your doctor.
2. With any medication, donât take more than the recommended dose. Check the label.
3. Pay attention to when and how you take the drug. Some medications and supplements should be taken right after a meal to make heartburn less likely. Others should be taken on an empty stomach. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist when to take each of your medications.
4. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review everything you are taking. âItâs very important to let them know not only about your prescriptions, but about any vitamins, minerals, and over-the-counter products you are taking,â says Heather Free, PharmD, a pharmacist in Washington, DC. Your health professional may be able to change the dose of a medication, switch you to a different medication, or suggest other ways to ease your heartburn.
5. Ask if you can change the way you get your medication. For example, if you take an NSAID for arthritis, you might be able to switch from a pill to a cream that is less likely to cause heartburn.
6. Don’t lie down right after you take certain medications. You should stay upright, for instance, for at least 30 minutes after taking bisphosphonates and at least 15-20 minutes after taking anti-anxiety medication or sleep aids in order to prevent heartburn.
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Prep Your Sleeping Space
If youre more frequently experiencing GERD symptoms at night, you may consider elevating the head of your bed. This can help with the backflow of stomach acid. Consider not sleeping on your right side. Some evidence shows that due to your anatomy and where the stomach acid is created and stored, sleeping on your left side may be more comfortable. All of the suggestions above should be easy to implement in your daily life, considering theyre simple lifestyle changes that dont require a visit to the doctor or any medication.
However, if you have been experiencing discomfort due to acid reflux, you should book an appointment with Carolina Digestive Health Associates so we can determine if there is an underlying cause of your discomfort and give you tips to manage it. Along with the non-medicinal solutions, we can also recommend medication based on your individual circumstances, health, and needs.
How Can I Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
They say prevention is the best medicine, so knowing common heartburn triggers can help you keep the acid at bay.
Of course, pregnancy itself is a major trigger for heartburn. As your growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach, this pushes stomach acid up your throat.
Those lovely hormones are no help either. They tend to relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which makes it easier for acid to make its way upward.
While theres nothing you can do to stop this entirely, there are a few things that can help prevent heartburn from flaring up during pregnancy:
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Warm Water With Lemon Juice
Similar to apple cider vinegar lemon juice can be taken to relieve heartburn. It will contribute to the formation of more gastric acids, which will cause the lower esophageal sphincter to close. That way stomach acid is not going to enter the food pipe anymore.
What Are You Going To Do To Cure Your Heartburn
Are you simply going to treat the heartburn with short-term remedies or are you going to attack the real underlying problem that is driving your symptoms? I suspect that the larger long-term recommendations are a bit intimidating and you are not sure if you can make that type of commitment. You are not alone.
Here is an approach that may help you ease into building your path to relief and good health:
We know you can do this because so many others before you have succeeded. Dont delay, this is your disease and its your quality of life that is at risk. You can do this!
This article is from Reflux MD
Medical Resources Used for This Article
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Five Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication
Most people have experienced some sort of pain or discomfort following a large meal or a particular food that didnt quite agree with their stomach. While acid reflux symptoms can happen without a specific underlying condition, there can be a more severe form of it that happens more frequently or more intensely, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Use A Little Bit Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding acid to an acidic stomach might sound counterintuitive to most people, but hear us out first. Theres a chance that acid reflux might be caused by not having enough acid in the stomach. Acid is responsible for telling the lower esophageal sphincter to close up- if theres not enough acid, this muscular valve might loosen up a little.
How to use: Stir in a tablespoon of raw apple cidder vinegar into five to eight ounces of water. Drink twice or thrice a day. You can also drink this solution before bedtimes.
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Path To Improved Health
To find out which medicine is right for you, talk to your family doctor. He or she can tell you about the benefits and risks. Antacids and acid reducers rarely cause side effects. If they do, the side effects usually are minor and go away on their own. These may include headaches, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor before taking antacids if you have kidney disease. You should avoid any antacid that contains calcium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate unless your doctor recommends it.
Talk to your doctor before taking a proton pump inhibitor if:
- You are elderly or have immune system problems. PPIs can increase your risk for pneumonia.
- You are a postmenopausal woman. PPIs reduce calcium absorption and increase your risk for osteoporosis.
- You have been treated for a Clostridium difficile infection in the past. PPIs may increase the risk that your infection returns.
If you are over the age of 55 and require long-term PPI treatment, your doctor may refer you for an EGD . This procedure examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. If you have significant reflux, your doctor also may test you for the bacteria H. pylori prior to trying you on PPIs.
Eat Small Light Meals Dont Eat Before Sleeping
Eat smaller portions and lighter food to help your body digesting food effectively. When eating smaller portions the stomach is able to secrete smaller amounts of acid, than it needs to if you eat big, fatty meals. This way you reduce the possibility of heartburn.Dont eat 2-3 hours before you go to sleep to avoid nighttime heartburn.
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Increased Risk Of Infection
As I discussed above, stomach acid serves as a first-line defense against pathogens. The ideal pH for the stomach can approach 1 but should be below 3, where most pathogens cannot survive. When the pH rises above 5, several dangerous bacterial species are able to survive.
Acid-blockers can increase the stomachs pH and worsen the risk of a bacterial infection. In one study, Tagamet and Zantac, two H2 blockers, raised the stomach pH from 12 to 5.5 and 6.5, respectively. PPIs can raise the pH even more. In one study, a 20- or 40-mg dose of Prilosec reduced stomach acid levels to almost zeroand increased the pH to almost 7in 10 healthy men.
Without stomach acid, pathogens can thrive. Oral bacteria such as the genus Rothia are over-represented in the gut microbiota of PPI users, indicating that bacteria entering the through mouth are better able to survive in the stomach.
Compared to people on other medications, PPI users have a greater risk of acquiring infectious bacteria like:
- Clostridium difficile
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, is another possible result of PPI usage. SIBO can inhibit nutrient absorption, damage the bowel lining, and cause diarrhea and other GI symptoms. One research study found that 50 percent of PPI users tested positive for SIBO through the hydrogen breath test, compared to only 6 percent of non-users. Meta-analyses have mostly confirmed this association.
The Low Fermentation Potential Diet
About 15 to 20 percent of the starch we generally consume escapes absorption. Instead, its used as food for our gut bacteria or its excreted. When bacterial overgrowth persistsas it does with GERDexcess fiber can do more harm than good.
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