HomeNewsWhat Can Heartburn Be A Symptom Of

What Can Heartburn Be A Symptom Of

Diagnosing H Pylori Infection

Pregnancy Heartburn: Causes, Symptoms, and Foods that Help

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.

How Gerd Is Treated

There are a few ways to reduce your acid reflux symptoms. In most cases, you can prevent acid reflux before it starts.

When you have fewer acid reflux episodes, there is less chance of damage to your esophagus.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications. Over-the-counter remedies can also help.

There are also alternative homeopathic remedies for easing heartburn. Discuss these with your doctor if you’re thinking of trying them.

What Heartburn Feels Like

You get this problem when stomach acid moves into a tube called the esophagus, which carries food from your mouth to the stomach. When that happens, you could have a burning pain in your chest. Your throat might burn, and you could have a sour taste in your mouth or a cough. You may also hear it called GERD , which is heartburn that happens often. But other conditions can have similar symptoms.

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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.

RELATED: What Is GERD?

How Can I Prevent Heartburn

There are many steps you can take to help prevent heartburn:

  • Avoid foods or drinks that may trigger your symptoms, such as acidic foods, high fat foods, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, mint, and carbonated drinks.
  • Wait at least 3 hours after eating to lie down.
  • Place blocks or books under your bed to elevate the head of your bed. This can help prevent stomach acid from traveling back up your esophagus.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes, which can put pressure on your stomach and lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than two or three large ones to help ease the impact on your digestive system.
  • Chew sugarless gum after eating. A

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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.

How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn

Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:

  • Tums®.
  • Maalox®.
  • Gaviscon®.

Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.

Also Check: Best Home Remedy For Heartburn During Pregnancy

How Is Acid Reflux Disease Diagnosed

It’s time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications don’t bring lasting relief. Symptoms such as heartburn are the key to the diagnosis of acid reflux disease, especially if lifestyle changes, antacids, or acid-blocking medications help reduce these symptoms.

If these steps don’t help or if you have frequent or severe symptoms, your doctor may order tests to confirm a diagnosis and check for other problems. You may need one or more tests such as these:

  • Barium swallow can check for ulcers or a narrowing of the esophagus. You first swallow a solution to help structures show up on an X-ray.
  • Esophageal manometry can check the function and movement of the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
  • pH monitoring can check for acid in your esophagus. The doctor inserts a device into your esophagus and leaves it in place for 1 to 2 days to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus.
  • Endoscopycan check for problems in your esophagus or stomach. This test involves inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube with a camera down your throat. First, the doctor will spray the back of your throat with anesthetic and give you a sedative to make you more comfortable.
  • A biopsymay be taken during endoscopy to check samples of tissue under a microscope for infection or abnormalities.

Pregnancy Sign: A Missed Period

Can anxiety cause acid reflux symptoms?

Well, duh, of course a missed period is the most common of early pregnancy signs. For many women who havent been pregnant before, this is usually the first symptom they notice, explains Nordahl. But hindsight is often 20/20. A first-time mom usually thinks back and realizes that a few things were different but wasnt sure what they meant, she says.

Read more:

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How Is Gerd Diagnosed

Tell your parents and visit your doctor if you’ve had heartburn that doesn’t seem to go away or any other symptoms of GERD for a while.

The doctor will do an exam and ask about your symptoms. If the doctor suspects GERD, you might go see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who treats kids and teens who have problems of the gastrointestinal system.

Doctors sometimes order these tests to diagnose GERD or rule out other possible problems:

Are There Any Tests For Heartburn

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:

Read Also: Difference Between Heartburn And Heart Problems

Connection Between Acid Reflux And Headaches

Heartburn, or acid reflux, is a common problem. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million people feel it daily. If you have regular heartburn that doesnt go away, or continues in spite of treatment with acid reflux remedies, you could have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The roughly one in five adults in America who have GERD may brush the condition off as simple indigestion, but it can develop into more serious issues. It may also be the cause of other problems you are having, like headaches.

Find out how GERD is linked to headaches, and what you can do to treat them.

Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your main symptoms? Report any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, or vomiting.
  • How long have you had heartburn?
  • Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated? How did you respond to that treatment?
  • Have you had any signs of bleeding from your digestive system?
  • Have you had any difficulty swallowing when you eat or drink?
  • How much tobacco do you use? How much alcohol do you drink? How much caffeine do you drink?
  • Has your weight increased or decreased more than 5 lb recently?
  • Have there been any changes in your diet? Are you eating certain foods more often?
  • Have there been changes in your daily schedule, such as when you eat and when you go to bed?
  • Are you taking any nonprescription or prescription medicines? Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to your appointment.
  • What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help? Be sure to include lifestyle changes you have made.
  • What nonprescription medicines have you taken or used to treat your heartburn? Did they help?
  • Do you have any health risks?

Remember to take your heartburn symptom record to your doctor visit. Be sure to note any lifestyle changes you have made or nonprescription medicines you use.

Recommended Reading: Best Medicine To Treat Heartburn

Is Acid Reflux Disease Ever Treated With Surgery

If medications don’t completely resolve your symptoms of acid reflux disease and the symptoms are severely interfering with your life, your doctor could recommend surgery. There are two types of surgical treatment used to relieve symptoms of GERD if daily use of medication isn’t effective.

The most recently approved procedure involves surgically placing a ring known as a LINX device around the outside of the lower end of the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The ring consists of magnetic titanium beads held together by titanium wires. The device helps reflux by preventing stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. In one study, patients were able to stop taking medicine or cut down the amount they took. You shouldn’t get the LINX device if you’re allergic to certain metals, and once you have a LINX device you shouldn’t get any type of MRI test.

Another surgical procedure called a fundoplication can help prevent further acid reflux. It creates an artificial valve using the top of your stomach. The procedure involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the LES to strengthen it, prevent acid reflux, and repair a hiatal hernia. Surgeons perform this procedure through either an open incision in the abdomen or chest or with a lighted tube inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen.

These procedures are done only as a last resort for treating acid reflux disease after medical treatment has proven to be inadequate.

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What Causes Acid Reflux And Whom Does It Affect

The circular band of muscle at the bottom of the gullet normally prevents acid leaking up . Problems occur if the sphincter does not work very well. This is common but in most cases it is not known why it does not work so well. In some cases the pressure in the stomach rises higher than the sphincter can withstand – for example, during pregnancy, after a large meal, or when bending forward. If you have a hiatus hernia , you have an increased chance of developing reflux. See the separate leaflet called Hiatus Hernia for more details.

Most people have heartburn at some time, perhaps after a large meal. However, about 1 adult in 3 has some heartburn every few days, and nearly 1 adult in 10 has heartburn at least once a day. In many cases it is mild and soon passes. However, it is quite common for symptoms to be frequent or severe enough to affect quality of life. Regular heartburn is more common in smokers, pregnant women, heavy drinkers, those who are overweight and those aged between 35 and 64 years.

Also Check: Why Do I Have Heartburn When I Lay Down

What Else Should I Know

Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.

You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.

It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.

This Factsheet Is About Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Be Clear on Cancer – Heartburn, most days for 3 weeks or more. BSL leaflet

Heartburn is extremely common, affecting up to 1 in every 4 of UK adults. It is a chest pain that occurs after eating, lying down, or bending over and is most usually described as burning. The pain is located at the lowest end of the breastbone in the centre of the chest. The discomfort often rises upwards and outwards.

Acid reflux is the regurgitation of some stomach contents including gastric acid into the oesophagus. Itis the major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease . Reflux mostly occurs without us being aware that it is happening.

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Food And Lifestyle Habits Can Cause Stomach Acid To Flow Back Up

Heartburn occurs when the contents of your stomach flow up into your esophagus.

A ring of muscle at the end of your esophagus where it joins your stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter normally prevents your stomach contents from flowing back up into your esophagus by tightening after you swallow food.

But sometimes this muscle doesn’t tighten completely, and the entrance to your stomach doesn’t fully close. When this happens, stomach acid can enter your esophagus and cause heartburn.

There is a wide range of potentially problematic foods and other factors that can contribute to heartburn.

Foods that can trigger heartburn for many people include:

  • Tomatoes and tomato-based foods, including ketchup and sauces
  • Peppermint
  • Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Onions

Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach

When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food. Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage from the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.

There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but then normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.

Acid Reflux and Oesophagitis

Recommended Reading: Can You Take Tums While Pregnant For Heartburn

Serious Side Effects Of Heartburn

Even if its not a heart attack, heartburn can be serious. Dangerous side effects and complications can result if you dont seek treatment. Some common side effects include:

  • Awaking from sleep, especially if youve eaten within two hours of going to bed
  • Esophageal cancer: if Barretts esophagus is not treated
  • Esophagus erosion: scarring, ulcers and narrowing of the tube
  • Barretts esophagus: precancerous condition from chronic acid reflux
  • Esophageal strictures and dysphagia: swallowing difficulties due to esophagus damage

Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy

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.

Recommended Reading: I Have Been Having Heartburn Everyday

Is It Simple Heartburn Or Is It Gerd

Nearly everyone has heartburn now and then. But heartburn is also the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease , so talk to your doctor if:

  • Your heartburn happens 2 or more times a week
  • Your heartburn gets worse
  • Your heartburn happens at night and wakes you from sleep
  • Youve had heartburn now and then, but for several years
  • You have difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Your discomfort or pain interferes with your daily activities