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Things To Do For Heartburn

Can Heartburn Take A Serious Turn

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All of us face heartburn at some time or the other. But if it becomes a repetitive feature, its something you need to worry about. Heartburn, every time you eat, maybe a sign of a further serious condition called GERD . GERD may lead to long-term cough issues, swelling of the voice box, ulcers of the oesophagus, issues with swallowing food, Barretts oesophagus that may increase the risk of oesophageal cancer. Dyspepsia can also be a very common symptom of GERD.

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
  • Peppermint
  • 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.”

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.

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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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Understanding Heartburn Vs Indigestion

What Are Causes Of Heartburn? 9 Things That Promote Reflux

To understand more about the discomfort, lets trace the journey of food you just consumed. The moment you have your lunch, the food travels from the oesophagus into the stomach. A little valve that acts as a door to let the food in. This door is the lower esophageal sphincter and is supposed to open one way. This prevents the re-entry of food back into the oesophagus. But for some of us, the door has loose hinges which allow the acid to seep upwards again. Its this acid reflux that causes the burning sensation in the centre of your chest named heartburn.

Feeling too full, bloating, discomfort, nausea, gas and pain in your upper abdomen further worsen the way you feel. This may be due to indigestion, also known as dyspepsia.

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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.

An Everyday Online visit is a convenient option for diagnosis and treatment of heartburn, as well as to help determine if your heartburn symptoms point to acid reflux or GERD .

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.

Does Milk Help Heartburn

Milk is another old-school remedy for heartburn. Like calcium-based over-the-counter antacids, milk counteracts the acidity of your stomach, says Zumpano. Stick with skim or low-fat milkthe fat content in whole milk could actually contribute to heartburn. Along the same lines, low-fat yogurt may also ease your heartburn .

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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.

When To See A Doctor About Heartburn Vs Indigestion

How to Naturally Cure Heartburn and GERD without Medication

If your symptoms of heartburn and/or indigestion dont improve after a few weeks of home remedies and preventive measures, see your doctor.

Chronic heartburn or indigestion issues could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. To get to the root of chronic indigestion or heartburn issues, your doctor may order a few tests, including:

  • a physical exam of your abdomen
  • acid probe tests to measure when stomach acid reaches back into your esophagus
  • imaging tests, such as X-rays and endoscopies , to look at your esophagus and stomach
  • blood or stool tests to rule out bacterial infections that may be causing indigestion
  • pain in your abdomen that doesnt go away
  • frequent vomiting
  • blood in vomit or stools
  • tar-colored stools

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Does Heartburn During Pregnancy Mean My Baby Will Be Born With Hair

Suffering from severe heartburn? You may want to stock up on baby shampoo. Research has backed up the superstition that, on average, the more heartburn you have during pregnancy, the more likely your baby will be born with a full head of hair.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Does Pickle Juice Help Heartburn

People who find heartburn relief from apple cider vinegar or lemon juice may find pickle juice is another option. In addition to its natural acidity, the juice from homemade pickles contains Lactobacillus bacteria, a probiotic that forms in the skin of the pickle when it ferments. The gut-healthy bacteria can sometimes be removed during commercial processing, so make your own pickles if possible.

Related: Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: Heres Everything You Need to Know

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Eat Smaller Meals Slower And More Often

If youre eating three square meals a day and have heartburn, you might want to mix things up. Too much food at too few sittings may be contributing to your discomfort. Instead, eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day, chewing slowly and thoroughly to maximize digestion. When the stomach is too full or the food is too fatty, the esophageal valve opens and food and acid move from the stomach back up toward your throat, leading to heartburn, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Meals that are more than 500 calories cause more reflux than lower-calorie meals, says Dr. Gabbard, and foods that contain more than 10 to 15 grams of fat tend to increase the amount of heartburn.

Elevate Your Upper Body

Easy to Get Home Remedies for Heartburn Relief

Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting your head with extra pillows isnt usually enough. Instead, the goal is to elevate your body from the waist up.

If you have an adjustable bed, set it at a suitable angle to provide relief. If your bed isnt adjustable, you can change the angle of your sleeping surface by using a wedge pillow.

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Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes

Things cinched tightly about your waist or middle can worsen heartburn. If you have super tight jeans on, when you sit down, the waistband is going to sink into your abdomen region. Same goes for tight belts-and even shirts can be a problem for some. This is because all of the above puts extra pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter, which make it more likely stomach contents, will push through and youll experience reflux.

Bring Lifestyle Changes To Get Rid Of Heartburn

Wrong eating habits and certain other habits make it difficult for your body to digest food properly. There are some other lifestyle habits that lead to heartburn and you need to change them. Here is a list of such lifestyle changes that you must adopt if you want to get rid of heartburn.

  • Drink lots of water during the day. It is good for proper digestion. Water dilutes gastric juices and helps you avoid build-up of excessive stomach acid.
  • Always eat smaller meals so that you do not put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Also, have smaller bites while eating slowly. This lets your stomach work properly to digest the food you eat.
  • Dont go to sleep just after having your meal. Sleep after 2-3 hours of your dinner. This time is for your food to get digested so that you do not experience nighttime heartburn.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Extra body weight puts pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter which eventually loosens and becomes weak giving you heartburn every now and then.
  • Quit smoking as it also makes your lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Drink less alcohol for the same reason.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. Very tight jeans or belts, for example, will put undue pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. This may trigger acid reflux.
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    Eat A Banana Or An Apple

    Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try out the simplest home remedies for heartburn first, try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eating one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort.

    Are There Any Tests For Heartburn

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    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:

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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.

    Don’t Lie Down Too Soon After Eating

    Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter , increasing the chances of refluxed food. Try these tips:

    • Wait at least two to three hours after eating to go to bed.
    • Avoid late-night snacking.
    • If one of your meals ends up being larger than the others, aim to eat that meal for lunch instead of supper.

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    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.

    Dont Drink Too Much Citrus Juice

    Eight ways on how to control and prevent the discomfort of ...

    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.

    Summary:

    Most patients with acid reflux report that drinking citrus juice makes their symptoms worse. Researchers believe citrus juice irritates the lining of the esophagus.

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    How Is Heartburn Treated

    In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.

    Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.

    Things You Should Know About Heartburn And Gerd

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    Heres a situation youve probably been in. Youre at a party with your friends and family, catching up with your near and dear ones but secretly wondering when the buffet would start. But soon after a hearty meal, you feel a burning sensation in your chest that makes you restless. Ever wondered what that was about? You probably experienced heartburn or acid reflux, a digestive issue caused by indigestion or overeating of food. This condition if not treated can progress to GERD . To know the difference between heartburn vs acid reflux vs GERD read further.

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    Antacids H2 Blockers Ppis Our Pharmacists Explain The Options

    Fortunately, pharmacies stock plenty of safe, effective remedies so many, in fact, that it can be confusing trying to figure out which one is right for you. So, we asked some pharmacists for help. Heres a rundown on the three classes of heartburn remedies, courtesy of The Portland Clinic pharmacy team.

    Antacids

    Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox and Mylanta are the fastest-acting heartburn relievers. They take effect in less than five minutes by quickly neutralizing acid in the stomach. For mild heartburn after a meal, antacids offer quick relief that lasts about 20-30 minutes. They come in a variety of strengths, so check labels for dosing information. In general, you shouldnt use antacids more than four times a day. If you find yourself reaching for them frequently, it might be time to try a different one or to switch to one of the stronger remedies.

    H2 blockers

    Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac are some of the more well-known H2 blockers, so called because they block a chemical called histamine that prompts the stomach to make acid. They take longer than antacids to bring relief about 30-45 minutes but the relief lasts 4-10 hours. H2 blockers can be used to relieve mild or moderate heartburn, or to prevent it when you anticipate heartburn . You also can combine H2 blockers with antacids for quicker relief. Just dont take H2 blockers more than twice a day, or for more than two weeks if you use them regularly.

    Proton pump inhibitors

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