If I Have Heartburn Should I See My Health Care Professional
That depends. If a person has heartburn more than three times a week for at least two weeks, he or she should see a health care professional. On the other hand, if a person only has occasional bouts of heartburn, he or she may find that taking nonprescription antacids and making some simple changes in lifestyle can resolve the heartburn. If these measures do not help, then a visit to a health care professional is warranted.
If a person has any of these symptoms, with or without heartburn, call a doctor or go to a hospital emergency department right away:
- Throwing up blood or passing blood in bowel movements
- Severe pain, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Difficulty swallowing
With proper understanding of the condition and treatment, relief can be attained.
When I have chest pain, how can I tell whether it is my heart or just heartburn?
Sometimes a person can’t tell the difference. Just like chest pain from the heart, heartburn sometimes spreads from the chest to the jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. If a person has chest pain for any reason, seek medical care immediately.
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How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn
Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:
- Pepcid AC®.
- Tagamet HB®.
Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.
Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.
The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, dropping a few pounds can help resolve heartburn symptoms not least because you are less likely to eat high-fat foods on a diet. Losing as little as 2.5 pounds can help reduce heartburn symptoms, according to David A. Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine.vii
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Dont Drink Too Much Citrus Juice
In a study of 400 GERD patients, 72% reported that orange or grapefruit juice worsened their acid reflux symptoms .
The acidity of citrus fruits doesnt appear to be the only factor contributing to these effects. Orange juice with a neutral pH also appears to aggravate symptoms .
Since citrus juice doesnt weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, it is likely that some of its constituents irritate the lining of the esophagus (
While citrus juice probably doesnt cause acid reflux, it can make your heartburn temporarily worse.
Most patients with acid reflux report that drinking citrus juice makes their symptoms worse. Researchers believe citrus juice irritates the lining of the esophagus.
How To Relieve Heartburn Naturally
Check out these simple steps you can take to ease your heartburn symptoms.
1. Rethink Your Drink
Ginger Mint Detox Smoothie
Unfortunately for coffee lovers, that morning cup of joe could be the culprit behind your heartburn.
Too much caffeine can cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax, which creates the perfect window of opportunity for stomach acid to splash back up into the esophagus and cause those negative heartburn symptoms.
Although I dont recommend caffeine intake in general, if you need to get your coffee fix, its best to opt for a darker roast or a brew thats lower in acidity. is also a good alternative because the amount of acid is reduced during processing.
Or, try mixing up your morning by trading your cup of coffee for some herbal tea. Free of caffeine, tea generally has a calming effect on the stomach and is much less irritating than coffee.
If tea doesnt strike your fancy, why not wake up with a refreshing green smoothie like this one, or one of these smoothie bowls? Green smoothies can give your fiber intake a big bump, which will help keep your digestive system moving and prevent the recurrence of acid reflux and heartburn.
Green smoothies also help alkalize your blood, helping your red blood cells to easily transport oxygen throughout the body and allowing your cells to produce more energy. This means you wont even need to get your caffeine fix to feel energized.
2. Switch Your Sleep Routine
3. Help Your Body Digest
4. Chew Some Gum
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Elevate The Head Of Your Bed
Some people experience reflux symptoms during the night .
This may disrupt their sleep quality and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
One study showed that patients who raised the head of their bed had significantly fewer reflux episodes and symptoms, compared to those who slept without any elevation .
Additionally, an analysis of controlled studies concluded that elevating the head of the bed is an effective strategy to reduce acid reflux symptoms and heartburn at night (
Elevating the head of your bed may reduce your reflux symptoms at night.
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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Aloe Vera Syrup Products
Aloe vera juice has been used in traditional medicine to heal irritation of the esophagus. It is unwise to use unprocessed aloe vera sap as it contains laxative compounds, but some products are formulated for internal use. AloeCure contains organic aloe juice and is marketed as an all-natural remedy for digestive disorders, including heartburn. Some trials, including a 2015 study, have found aloe vera syrup to be effective for heartburn symptoms. Note that consuming aloe can lower your blood sugar levels. Discuss the use of aloe with your doctor if you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, thyroid disorders, kidney disease, heart disease, or electrolyte abnormalities.
Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
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How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
Is It Just Heartburn Or Gerd
Frequent heartburn can be a major issue. If you experience heartburn two or more times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease .
In this chronic condition, frequent exposure to stomach acid irritates and damages the esophagus. Over time, that can lead to problems such as difficulty swallowing. An estimated 40 percent of Americans report symptoms of GERD but the condition can significantly improve with lifestyle changes.
If you’ve tried home remedies and lifestyle adjustments and still have frequent heartburn, consult with your family doctor or a gastroenterologist. There are multiple treatments that can help, including medications and minimally invasive surgery for acid reflux.
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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:
Top 15 Heartburn Remedies
Just because heartburn is common doesnt mean you have to suffer with it. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can develop into more serious health problems. Here are the top 15 heartburn remedies…
Despite humorous commercials touting heartburn remedies with funny words like plop-plop and fizz-fizz, heartburn is no joke. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least occasionally, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, occurs when acidic stomach juices flow backward into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining. The resulting pain can be uncomfortable, annoying or excruciating. It can hurt as much as a heart attack, says Paige Hastings, a certified nurse practitioner at The Little Clinic in Nashville, Tenn.But not everyone has such pain you could also feel a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your throat or the awful sensation of food or liquid washing back into your mouth and down the gullet.In fact, frequent heartburn and food sticking in the throat are signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease .Untreated, these problems can lead more serious problems, including strictures , ulcers, cancer and pneumonia, explains Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Virginia Beach, Va.
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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.
What Should You Know About Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .
Do most people get heartburn?
Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.
What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?
How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
How can you get rid of heartburn?
Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,
- eat a healthy diet,
- sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
- Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.
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Use Carom Seeds To Relieve Heartburn
Carom seeds or ajwain as they are known in India is an age-old remedy for heartburn and other gastric problems. It is one of the finest Ayurvedic remedies for heartburn and gas. Carom seeds have anti-acidic properties and thus act as natural antacids. Thymol present in carom seeds act against acidity and gives you relief from heartburn. It also soothes the mucous membrane of your stomach.
Ways to Use Carom Seeds for Heartburn
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.
- Overripe banana
- This will keep your heartburn away.
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What Is The Quickest Heartburn Remedy
Over-the-counter antacids, like Tums, Mylanta, or Rolaids, which work by neutralizing stomach acid, are a good option for fast, short-term relief of mild heartburn. However, antacids, along with other over-the-counter medications like H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors , are not meant to be used for long-term support.
Vinegar To Cure Heartburn
Vinegar has long been used to get rid of heartburn. Although there is no medical proof of vinegar being a remedy for heartburn, people who use it swear by its efficacy. You too can use vinegar- white or apple cider vinegar- to treat your heartburn but only after diluting it with water. It may or may not give you the required relief from acid reflux but you can know that only after experimenting with it at least once.
- Add the vinegar to your glass of water and mix well.
- Now have this water.
- You may have it 2-3 times a day if you dont notice any discomfort.
- Take it before meals or before bedtime if you cant sleep due to heartburn at night.
Warning: Never use vinegar undiluted. When done so, vinegars acidity may cause damage not only to your esophagus but also to your tooth enamel. Always dilute the vinegar with water before consuming it and wash your mouth with clean water after having it to protect your tooth enamel. If you are not comfortable after having diluted vinegar, immediately stop having it.
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