Wednesday, June 15, 2022
HomeIndigestionWhat Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion And Heartburn

What Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion And Heartburn

Learn What Causes Heartburn Symptoms And How To Control Them

Acid Reflux & Heartburn : Early Symptoms of Chronic GERD

That burning sensation in your chest and throat, often accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth, is a common ailment known as heartburn. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, some 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million people have daily flareups. In this video, San Diego Health host Susan Taylor talks with Richard Onishi, MD, a family medicine physician with Scripps Clinic in Carmel Valley, about what causes heartburn and how to control it.

What is heartburn and what causes it?

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Heartburn is a form of indigestion, which is a broad term that includes upper abdominal pain often associated with food or other causes. Heartburn happens when acid in the stomach backs up, or refluxes, into the upper abdominal area and, sometimes, the esophagus and the back of the throat.

Your stomach is an acidic environment, and its protected by a layer of mucous, says Dr. Onishi. Unfortunately, the esophagus doesnt have that same protection, so if the acid refluxes up into the esophagus it causes a burning pain.

Along with burning in the chest and throat, heartburn symptoms may include regurgitation of stomach contents into the mouth, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing and a feeling of having something stuck in the throat. Some people may have a chronic cough.

Heartburn and GERD

A variety of factors can trigger GERD. The most common include:

    Related tags:

Are There Any Complications From Oesophagitis

  • Scarring and narrowing . If you have severe and long-standing inflammation it can cause a stricture of the lower gullet . This is uncommon.
  • Barrett’s oesophagus. In this condition the cells that line the lower oesophagus become changed. The changed cells are more prone than usual to becoming cancerous.
  • Cancer. Your risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus is slightly increased compared to the normal risk if you have long-term acid reflux.

It has to be stressed that most people with reflux do not develop any of these complications. Tell your doctor if you have pain or difficulty when you swallow, which may be the first symptom of a complication.

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.

Also Check: Home Remedies To Prevent Heartburn

How Is Dyspepsia Treated

Most often, medicine can take care of this condition. If you have a stomach ulcer, it can be cured. You may need to take an acid-blocking medicine. If you have an infection called H. pylori in your stomach, you may also need to take antibiotics.

If your doctor thinks that a medicine you’re taking causes your dyspepsia, you might need to try another one.

A medicine that cuts down on the amount of acid in your stomach might help your pain. This medicine can also help if you have acid reflux disease.

Your doctor might want you to have a procedure called an endoscopy if:

You still have stomach pain after you take a dyspepsia medicine for eight weeks.

  • Your doctor thinks you are at risk of serious disease.

  • During an endoscopy, a small tube with a camera inside it is put into your mouth and down into your stomach. Then your doctor can look inside your stomach to try to find a cause for your pain.

    Incredible Home Remedies For Heartburn And Indigestion That Will Blow Your Mind

    Most Common Heartburn Causes &  Symptoms

    After eating a great meal, the last thing you want to think about is heartburn and indigestion. As a passionate foodie, I understand that certain meals or foods can trigger a bout of heartburn and/or indigestion. Thats why Ive discovered home remedies for heartburn and indigestion so that you can enjoy your food with the peace of mind that any heartburn or indigestion will be squandered.

    Don’t Miss: Can Heartburn Cause Esophageal Cancer

    Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own

    For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.

    What Can A Person Expect During The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Indigestion

    The initial approach to dyspepsia, whether it be treatment or testing, depends on the patient’s age, symptoms and the duration of the symptoms. If the patient is younger than 50 years of age and serious disease, particularly cancer, is not likely, testing is less important. If the symptoms are typical for dyspepsia and have been present for many years without change, then there is less need for testing, or at least extensive testing, to exclude other gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal diseases.

    On the other hand, if the symptoms are of recent onset , progressively worsening, severe, or associated with “warning” signs, then early, more extensive testing is appropriate. Warning signs include loss of weight, nighttime awakening, blood in the stool or the material that is vomited , and signs of inflammation, such as fever or abdominal tenderness. Testing also is appropriate if, in addition to symptoms of dyspepsia, there are other prominent symptoms that are not commonly associated with dyspepsia.

    If there are symptoms that suggest conditions other than dyspepsia, tests that are specific for these diseases should be done first. The reason is that if these other tests disclose other diseases, it may not be necessary to do additional testing. Examples of such symptoms and possible testing include:

    Recommended Reading: Signs Of Heartburn In Women

    About Ut Health Austin

    UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at or request an appointment here.

    Can Acid Reflux Cause Asthma

    Heartburn, Acid Reflux (Acidity) or GERD Symptoms

    Patients with asthma are known to experience GERD and are likelier to develop acid reflux than people without asthma. This is because acid reflux can cause damage to the esophagus, leading to chronic coughing.

    Overproduction of acid and constant exposure to stomach contents could also compromise the lungs, making it more susceptible to irritants like dust.

    Developing Asthma Due to GERD

    Its not just asthmatic patients who can be affected by GERD. Turns out that patients who are non-asthmatic can have respiratory problems due to reflux symptoms.

    Wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty are tell-tale signs of asthma. Commonly diagnosed in childhood, adults can also develop asthma late in their lives due to a variety of reasons. Some patients can develop asthmatic symptoms while others go on to experience chronic asthma symptoms and eventually develop adult asthma.

    Asthma can be caused by a variety of stimuli including exposure to allergens and persistent flu. Doctors tend to identify acid reflux, or GERD in particular, as the cause for asthma when:

    • Asthma symptoms worsen after a meal
    • Asthma begins during adulthood, after the patient experiences reflux symptoms
    • Asthma doesnt get better with traditional asthma treatments

    Is It Always Serious?

    You May Like: Get Rid Of Heartburn While Pregnant

    How Can My Doctor Tell If I Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux

    A medical doctor can often diagnose GERD and heartburn by your description of the symptoms your experience.

    You may see a gastroenterologist, a medical specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, who may order an upper GI series. This is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the intestine often used to rule out other health conditions. An upper GI endoscopy, where a flexible probe with a tiny camera at the end is passed down your throat to see the esophagus. This helps diagnose how severe your acid reflux is, and can also rule out other health complications.

    If your symptoms are not clearly from acid reflux, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out important conditions like heart attack, ulcers, lung problems, esophagus problems, and gastritis.

    Can Acid Reflux Cause Gas

    On average, healthy individuals pass gas 13 to 21 times a day. This gas is expelled through the mouth or anus . Gas accumulates in the digestive tract through eating or bacterial fermentation.

    As digestive bacteria break down food, little pockets of air are created in the process. Because the bacteria in each human body is different, some people may be more tolerant of digesting certain food compared to other people.

    How Are Acid Reflux and Gas Related

    Excessive gas and acid reflux may exist simultaneously. A patient experiencing excessive flatulence may also experience bloating from acid reflux. While acid reflux does not directly cause gas, doctors believe that the two may be interlinked.

    This is because certain conditions that trigger acid reflux can also trigger gassiness. Individuals who eat spicy and citrusy foods may increase their acidity levels while also triggering gassiness. Alleviating gassiness could coincidentally improve acid reflux symptoms because the circumstances that create these conditions tend to be similar.

    Learn more about what food to avoid in this article: What Is the Best Breakfast for Acid Reflux Sufferers?

    Don’t Miss: What Can You Take While Pregnant For Heartburn

    How Is Heartburn Diagnosed

    In most cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose heartburn by asking questions about your symptoms and what triggers those symptoms.

    If you have heartburn more than 2 times a week, it could be a symptom of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or other gastrointestinal diseases. These are usually diagnosed by endoscopy, which uses a tube with a camera passed through the mouth into the stomach.

    Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy

    Heartburn Pillows: Best Wedge Pillow for Heartburn Relief ...

    Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:

    • you are 55 years old or over
    • you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
    • you have increasing difficulty swallowing
    • you have persistent vomiting
    • you have a lump in your stomach
    • you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools

    This is because these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy to rule out any serious cause.

    An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .

    Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible complications of severe indigestion.

    Also Check: What To Eat After Heartburn

    Can You Have Acid Reflux And Not Know It

    Acid reflux can manifest in different ways. Other patients may report extreme versions of acid reflux involving constant heartburn and regurgitation, while others might only report trouble swallowing and coughing.

    Alternatively, there is another form of esophageal reflux that doesnt exhibit the same symptoms as GERD or heartburn. If youre experiencing classic reflux symptoms such as coughing and sleep apnea, you may be experiencing what is known as silent reflux.

    Who Is At Risk For Indigestion

    People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with:

    • Excess alcohol consumption
    • Use of drugs that may irritate the stomach, such as aspirin and other pain relievers
    • Conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer
    • Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression

    Also Check: Foods To Eat With Heartburn

    How To Tell If Its Heartburn Or Chest Pain From Coronavirus

    Heartburn is nevertheless a very common symptom reported in a substantial portion of the general adult US population. It may be very easy to confuse heartburn with chest pain or pressure in the chest, which COVID-19 patients often experience. So here is a way to differentiate heartburn from chest pressure / pain from other causes:

    • Heartburn feels like a burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and may occur at night, the discomfort often worsens when lying down or bending over, and there may be a bitter or acidic taste in your mouth. Taking liquid antacids may quickly relieve this discomfort.
    • Chest pain and pressure related to COVID-19 may feel like it is overall harder to breathe, does not worsen after you eat or while laying down, and does not respond to liquid antacids

    When Should I Call The Doctor About Indigestion

    General Medical Information : Common Symptoms of GERD Heartburn

    Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious health problem, call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

    • Vomiting or blood in vomit
    • Weight loss
    • Black, tarry stools or visible blood in stools
    • Severe pain in theƃ abdomen
    • Discomfort unrelated to eating

    Symptoms similar to indigestion may be caused by heart attacks. If indigestion is unusual, accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, or pain radiating to the jaw, neck, or arm, seek medical attention immediately.

    Also Check: Does Ice Cream Cause 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.

    Common Triggers For Heartburn

    Some people experience heartburn regardless of what they eat. Others find they only get it after eating certain foods or meals. Common food triggers for heartburn include:

    • large meals

    Smoking cigarettes can also be a trigger for heartburn.

    Other things that can increase the risk and the severity of heartburn include:

    • being overweight or obese
    • taking certain medications
    • exercising too soon after eating

    Don’t Miss: How Do You Stop Heartburn From Tomato Sauce

    A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux

    Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.

    They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.

    It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.

    Can Acid Reflux Cause Chest Pain

    Heartburn: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

    Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. Chest pain related to reflux is also called noncardiac chest pain . Chest pain occurs during reflux episodes because the heart and the esophagus share a nerve network. Acid reflux, specifically GERD, causes up to 66% of reported NCCPs.

    Evaluating Your Chest Pain

    Since chest pain from acid reflux and more serious conditions such as heart attack are hard to distinguish, its important to know how to evaluate your chest pain. Chest pain from acid reflux often affects the sternum or the area below it called the epigastrium. Pain from acid reflux is often characterized as a sharp pain, which gets worse with coughing.

    Meanwhile, chest pain from non-acid reflux sources could be described as a deep, searing pain. Heart-related chest pain often radiates to other parts of the body including the back, neck, shoulders, and arms.

    The symptoms that accompany chest pain are also key in evaluating the nature of the pain. Gastro-related chest pain is often accompanied by burping or flatulence, trouble swallowing, bile regurgitation, and a burning sensation in the throat or stomach.

    Cardiac-related chest pain is often accompanied by numbness in the left arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, dizziness, and high body temperatures.

    Don’t Miss: What Helps Heartburn Besides Medicine

    What Causes The Valve To Malfunction

    In some people, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes at the wrong time or becomes weakened. This allows stomach contents to escape and travel up the esophagus. This causes burning, irritation, and pain. Surprisingly, not everyone who has acid reflux experiences a burning sensation. Other times, burning in the area of the chest and abdomen is caused by a condition other than reflux. Sometimes chest pain may occur due to a heart attack or other serious conditions. Acid reflux is the main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease , but GERD is associated with other symptoms like nausea, dry cough, hoarseness, sore throat, trouble swallowing, and a feeling of a lump in the throat. See your doctor if you experience pain, burning, or irritation in your chest or abdomen.

    RELATED ARTICLES

    Most Popular