What Is The Treatment For Heartburn
The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a stepwise fashion. For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications may be enough. The next step is nonprescription antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids. Other treatments include acid blockers and even surgery. In most cases, one or more of these treatments provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into a more serious disease.
I take nonprescription antacids for heartburn, but they don’t seem to help.
Nonprescription antacids are only part of the treatment for heartburn. They can work very well, but these antacids alone usually can’t stop heartburn. A health care professional will probably recommend that the patient make lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments.
What kind of lifestyle changes and remedies can I make to reduce heartburn?
Try any or all of the following:
Will these changes stop the heartburn?
They may. If they don’t, adding a nonprescription antacid can be helpful.
How do antacids work?
What if lifestyle changes and antacids don’t work?
If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 blockers, or acid blockers. These drugs block the biochemical process that creates acid in the stomach.
What are acid blockers?
Heartburn Is Common But It Can Also Be Quite Serious
Heartburn is the burning feeling you get in your chest when food in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. Unfortunately, heartburn is extremely common, with an estimated 60 million Americans experiencing heartburn at least once a month. Nearly 15 million Americans experience heartburn every day.
When you feel heartburn, it means you have gastroesophageal reflux. The reflux is acidic stomach juice thats flowing back up into your esophagus. It irritates the delicate lining of your esophagus and can be painful. The acid reflux backs up into your neck and throat. Frequent acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Childhood Heartburn A Warning Sign For Your Childs Future Health
It goes without saying that no one wants their child to have heartburn. But I believe the most important aspect of this problem is that a child with heartburn is a child that is progressing towards more serious illnesses in early adulthood.
High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian disease, gout, obesity, sleep apnea and all triggered by excessive carbohydrates consumption. These are all illnesses associated with insulin resistance a disorder known to be triggered by excess carbohydrate consumption. Coincidentally, these conditions are becoming increasingly more common in young adults.
Your childs lifelong eating habits and taste preferences are formed when they are young. If your child has heartburn, they are on the fast track to develop these other illnesses as well.
It is imperative you change their eating habits by controlling the foods that come into the house, their choices when eating out and the foods they eat at school. You must take charge because no one else is looking out for them.
Its not too late to change their future. Start today by pledging not to bring any more soda, juices, chips, cookies, fruit rollups, donuts or ice cream into the house. These should be foods that are eaten only infrequently. Save them for the rare celebration.
Your kids dont NEED these foods. Sure they will gripe and complain. But in time, they will adapt and in the process, you will literally save their life in adulthood.
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Things To Stop Doing If You Have Gerd
When you suffer from chronic heartburn that can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease , this condition can affect your entire life. It may be necessary to stop eating some of your favorite foods. The heartburn may interfere with your sleep. It may even interfere with your availability to work well.
Treatment For Heartburn In Teenagers
Your doctor may suggest dietary modifications and lifestyle changes to reduce acid reflux. Chewing sugarless gums after eating and sleeping on the side or with an elevated head position may be useful in some teens. If conservative management fails to resolve heartburn, your teen will have to undergo pharmacological treatments.
Heartburn can be treated with medications depending on the causes. The following medications are used :
Almost all of the following drugs, except prokinetics are available OTC , one or two doses may be taken for acute relief. But a doctors advice should be sought if they are needed more than that not only because they have potential adverse effects but also because their abuse may mask the underlying condition which could be dangerous.
- Antacids:This medication neutralizes stomach acid, and it is available as Maalox, Alka-Seltzer, Riopan, Mylanta, etc. Seek a doctors advice for dosing since it may cause side effects such as constipation and diarrhea. Also prolonged consumption of antacids for symptom relief is not advisable and treatment of cause is needed to avoid long-term complications of acid reflux.
- H2 blockers: These drugs decrease the production of stomach acid. Cimetidine , ranitidine , or famotidine are H2 blockers.
- Proton pump inhibitors : These drugs also reduce stomach acid production. omeprazole , esomeprazole , and pantoprazole are a few examples of PPIs.
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How Can Indigestion Affect Me Over Time
Many patients with indigestion find that their symptoms improve either through self-help or after they have been investigated and treated by their GP. A small number, however, do go on to have longer-term problems, and they may find that they need to take treatment over a prolonged period. Finding the lowest dose of the medicine that keeps you well is a wise strategy. You may be able to have breaks between courses of tablets and just take your treatment when you feel worse.
A Digestive Problem That Affects Roughly 18 Percent Of The Us Population
More than 60 million people in the United States experience heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology .
The group also notes that according to some studies, over 15 million Americans have heartburn symptoms every single day.
Heartburn is more common in older people and pregnant women.
In fact, between 17 and 45 percent of pregnant women report episodes of heartburn, according to a study published in September 2015 in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.
Harvard Medical School notes that according to one survey, 65 percent of people with heartburn experience symptoms both during the day and at night.
Among those who report nighttime symptoms, 75 percent experience trouble sleeping as a result, and 40 percent say that it affects their job performance the next day.
While both occasional and frequent heartburn commonly cause discomfort, only about 6 percent of the population has heartburn that causes ongoing functional problems, according to the ACG.
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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.
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.
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Diagnosing H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:
- a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
- a breath test
- a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria
Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.
Causes And Risk Factors
The food pipe becomes narrower just before it reaches the stomach. This narrow part is normally kept shut by the muscles in the food pipe and diaphragm. But this doesn’t work properly in GERD. It is often not clear why.
In some people it is caused by a hiatal hernia . The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities from each other. The food pipe passes through a small hole in the diaphragm and enters the stomach just below it. In people who have a hiatal hernia, the upper part of the stomach pushes up through the hole in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. As a result, the diaphragm can no longer help to close the entrance to the stomach.
There is some debate about whether being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol can affect the sphincter or the risk of reflux and heartburn. Many of those affected say that their symptoms are triggered or made worse by stress or by certain foods or drinks. The symptoms may also get worse after physical activities or through certain positions, such as bending forward or lying down.
Sometimes reflux symptoms and heartburn are caused by a problem with the food pipe. For instance, the food pipe might not move rising stomach juices back down into the stomach fast enough, or it might react very sensitively. The symptoms can also be made worse by medications such as birth control pills and certain drugs against high blood pressure.
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When Should I Call My Doctor About My Heartburn
Even though heartburn is common, it can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. Severe, chronic heartburn has been linked to inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough, GERD, and Barretts esophagus, which may lead to esophageal cancer.
You should contact your doctor if:
- Your heartburn wont go away.
- Your heartburn symptoms become more severe or frequent.
- Its hard or hurts to swallow.
- Your heartburn causes you to vomit.
- You have had substantial, unexpected weight loss.
- You take over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks and you still have heartburn symptoms.
- You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription medicines.
- You have serious hoarseness or wheezing.
- Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities.
Surgery For A Hiatus Hernia
Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia. This involves making small cuts in your tummy .
Its done under general anaesthetic, so youll 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
Theres a small risk that your side effects will not go away and youll need more surgery.
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Signs You Should See The Doctor For Your Heartburn
There’s nothing pleasant about heartburn, which manifests itself as burning pain in the chest. Even a written description of why heartburn occurs is unpleasant: It happens when stomach acid is regurgitated back up through the upper body thanks to an esophageal sphincter not closing at the right time. To many of us, heartburn seems like just another unpleasant thing to endure, much like taxes, rush hour traffic and the contents of a baby’s diaper. For this reason, heartburn is often considered the Rodney Dangerfield of conditions, because it gets no respect. Most people don’t take it seriously enough to put down the over-the-counter medications and speak to their doctor about it. So when should you bite the bullet and make an appointment with your doctor?
Pass On Greasy Fatty Foods
Fried, greasy, and fatty foods can all cause heartburn and lead to reflux because they prevent the lower esophageal sphincter from fully tightening this creates an opening for stomach acids to flow upward. Greasy, heavier foods are also harder to digest so the stomach empties more slowly, which can trigger heartburn. And eating too much fried and high-fat foods increases your risk of obesity, which in turn increases the chances of experiencing uncomfortable acid reflux.
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Foods That May Help Relieve Heartburn
While many foods can make your heartburn worse, there are several foods that may help relieve symptoms.
Here are some foods that may help relieve heartburn:
- Ginger: This is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. While there is limited evidence about gingers effects on heartburn, it may help reduce reflux (
- 41 ).
Summary While many foods can make your heartburn symptoms worse, there are plenty of foods that may ease heartburn symptoms. These include ginger, bananas and melons, veggies, oatmeal, grains and potatoes.
If You’ve Been Taking Medications For A Long Time
Occasional heartburn is often relieved with a simple antacid. However, if you’ve been devouring antacids for weeks and not seeing results, then see a doctor. You may require a stronger prescription medication.
Prescription medications for heartburn aren’t meant to be lifetime drugs, but many people treat them as such. Obviously, it’s difficult to stop taking something that relieves possible pain. While heartburn medications are generally safe, doctors do warn that there are some long-term side effects that are cause for concern. Because the drugs decrease your gastric acid, your body absorbs far less calcium from your diet than normal. As a result, you could be at a higher risk for experiencing a bone fracture or osteoporosis. While the benefits of staying on the drugs outweigh the risks for frequent heartburn sufferers, those who suffer from heartburn only infrequently should eventually taper off their use.
If severe heartburn occurs in a relatively young person, who faces a lifetime of taking prescription medications, doctors may consider surgery in which the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophageal sphincter to strengthen it. Surgery is not recommended for everyone due to its invasive nature and due to studies that show that it might not be a permanent fix .
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Don’t Lay Flat When You Sleep
Lying down flat presses the stomach’s contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure.
You can elevate your head in a couple of ways:
- Place bricks, blocks, or anything that’s sturdy and securely under the legs at the head of your bed,
- Use a wedge-shaped pillow under your head and shoulders.
What Makes Your Heartburn Worsen Over Time
There are four common reasons for increased heartburn.
Your muscles weaken as you grow older. And that includes one critical to fending off heartburn the lower esophageal sphincter.
Food passes down your throat and through your esophagus to your stomach. This sphincter controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. It typically remains tightly closed except when you swallow food. But as you age, it can weaken and stop functioning properly.
Many older adults carry extra weight that can weaken the sphincter further. And, for reasons that arent entirely clear, the risk and severity of GERD is higher for those who are overweight, Dr. Gabbard says.
As you age, your health problems increase and so does your need for medication.
Some blood pressure and antidepressant medications can cause heartburn. Also opiates, says Dr. Gabbard. Being overweight and taking certain medications may be the major driving factors for heartburn.
With age often comes a hiatal hernia, where the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity.
Sixty percent of people over 60 have a hiatal hernia, Dr. Gabbard says. Most are small and do not cause problems, but the larger ones put you at risk for heartburn.
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What Exactly Is Heartburn Anyway
Heartburnor gastroesophageal reflux or acid refluxis a painful burning feeling in your chest or your throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine .
Basically, heartburn happens when your esophagus relaxes too much and stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . It can be managed by making changes to your diet, like cutting back on coffee and alcohol, or through medications.
Having heartburn every once in a while, like after a spicy meal or taking a nap too soon after eating, is normal but if it occurs more than twice a week for more than a few weeks, it’s time to see a doctorin that case, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic, sometimes damaging form of heartburn.
But GERD isn’t the only issue that is related to heartburn. Many other conditionssome even life-threateningcan mimic the feeling of heartburn. Here, nine other conditions that heartburn could be masquerading asand when to see your doctor about it.