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What Can Heartburn Feel Like

How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn

What Does Heartburn Feel Like?

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.

Some Heart Attack Sufferers Dont Experience Chest Pain At All

While chest pain is far and away the symptom most commonly associated with a heart attack, not everyone who has a heart attack feels that crushing chest pain. While some may double over due to a vice-like grip around their hearts, others may feel as though a bear is standing on their chest. Or, they may experience nothing at all.

  • Women, for instance, tend to have different heart attack symptoms than men. Often, women dont have the classic symptoms, such as pressure-like chest pain, says Schaer. They more frequently experience dizziness, nausea or fatigue, and they may have chest pain that radiates to both arms instead of just the left arm, as is common in men.
  • Diabetics also may not experience crushing chest pain because they dont have the same nerve responses as nondiabetics. When having a heart attack, a diabetic may instead feel weak or dizzy, be short of breath or just not feel well.
  • Elderly patients, too, are likely to not experience chest pain.
  • Individuals with a high pain tolerance, some researchers believe, may be less likely to recognize the signs of a heart attack.

They may pass out, or feel weak or confused, Schaer says. If youre a diabetic or older adult or are a caregiver for a diabetic or older adult its important to know that these populations often experience out-of-the-ordinary heart attack symptoms so you dont write them off.

Do You Have Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

Laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR is a type of esophageal reflux that doesnt involve the tell-tale sign of GERD: heartburn. As a result, patients have a difficult time understanding the nature of their symptoms. In most cases, patients with LPR dont even know they have reflux, which is why the disorder is called silent reflux.

LPR is caused by the same mechanism that triggers GERD. When the lower esophageal sphincter loosens, stomach contents travel back up the esophagus. In this case, stomach acids travel further up the pharynx, reaching the larynx and nasal pathways. As a result, a patient with LPR experiences symptoms like:

  • Chronic cough
  • Difficult swallowing feeling of persistent lump in the throat
  • Post-nasal drip

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Learn How To Identify The Symptoms

Although different things may trigger heartburn, most people experience similar heartburn symptoms. Knowing what heartburn feels like and recognizing the symptoms you experience sooner can lead to earlier treatmentand relief.

The most common symptom of heartburn is often described as an uncomfortable or painful “burning” sensation in the chest.1 You may also experience pressure or pain just behind the breastbone. The pain may worsen when lying down or bending over, and it can last minutes or continue for a few hours.

Other common symptoms include the feeling that food is sticking in your chest or throat, a sour or acid taste in the back of your throat, discomfort that gets worse after eating, as well as burping and/or bloating.2

There are more uncommon heartburn symptoms you may not know: persistent hiccups, pain that radiates to your neck and shoulders, and finding it difficult or painful to swallow.2 Although rare, cold sweat, shortness of breath, light-headedness or dizziness may accompany heartburn. If these symptoms occur, you should discuss them with your doctor right away to determine the heartburn treatment options available to you, and to ensure you do not have a more serious condition.

Because heartburn symptoms are felt in a similar area, some people can confuse the pain of heartburn with a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether you’re suffering from heartburn or having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.

References

How Is Gerd Diagnosed

What Causes Bad Acid Reflux And Heartburn

Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and do an exam. Many times, doctors can be fairly certain a person has GERD just by the signs. If your doctor thinks your signs are caused by GERD, medicine may help. If the medicine helps, you and your doctor will know that GERD was the cause of your problems. You may not need to have any special tests.

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Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women

Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.

Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.

Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.

Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.

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When Acid Reflux Is Chronic: What Is Gerd

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, GERD is acid reflux that occurs two or more times per week. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of the U.S. population has GERD.

That said, its not the case that a person who has occasional heartburn will necessarily progress toward having GERD, says Louis Cohen, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But the symptoms are the same as those of acid reflux, such as the burning feeling in your chest and the sensation that your stomach contents are in your throat. You may also have a dry cough or trouble swallowing.

Diagnosing the condition can usually be done by a primary care doctor by simply evaluating symptom frequency and severity.

We may also put a probe into a patients esophagus for a day to measure how frequently reflux happens, says Dr. Cohen. Knowing how often reflux occurs is another way to confirm a diagnosis, beyond evaluating the symptoms.

Treatment for GERD starts with lifestyle modifications, adds Hagan: Well ask patients to try these steps before we offer medication, although we understand that it can be hard to do some things, such as quitting smoking.

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Other drugs called H2 blockers, such as Zantac or Pepcid , may also be effective, says Hagan. H2 blockers also lower stomach acid production, and they are available over the counter.

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Acid Reflux And Coronavirus: Is Heartburn A Symptom Of Covid

Many people are confused with what symptoms are caused by COVID-19. One symptom that is beginning to be questioned more prominently is heartburn. So, what exactly is heartburn? Heartburn is a common problem due to acid reflux. This occurs when content in the stomach finds its way up the esophagus, which causes slight burning in the chest and causing pain. This pain can worsen when lying down.

Can Acid Reflux Cause Gas

What does acid reflux feel like?

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?

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Adopting A Diet To Help Prevent Symptoms Of Gerd

Making changes to your diet to reduce GERD pain arent just about changing what you eat.

Theyre also about changing how much you eat and how often. Now, dont panic this isnt about starving yourself.

Adopting a GERD diet is simply a matter of reducing the size of each meal you eat so you arent putting too much strain on the stomach at any given time.

When it comes to specific foods, changes should be about avoiding the foods that make GERD worse for you and cleaning up your diet if youre currently eating a lot of junk food.

As a general guideline you should try to avoid greasy and fatty foods, chocolate, citrus fruits, minty foods, coffee, Coke and carbonated drinks in general.

Also, think about restricting your intake of alcohol and cigarettes if those are things you indulge in often. Reducing or eliminating these two things alone can make a significant difference.

The timing of your meals in relation to going to bed is also more important, because GERD tends to be worse when youre lying doing.

When youre in bed, you dont have the help of gravity to keep acid in the stomach, so more acid tends to leak into the esophagus as a result.

Try to avoid eating any large meals within three hours of bed time. This should allow any GERD symptoms to pass and let you get a good nights sleep.

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Is Heartburn A Symptom Of A Heart Attack

Heartburn is often a symptom of GERD, but it can also be a symptom of a heart attack. In fact, heart attacks can cause other symptoms that usually happen with GERD, such as nausea, burping, and vomiting. In this case, the symptoms usually do not occur by themselves and will come with other symptoms that point to a more serious cause.

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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.

Some Behaviors Can Cause Gerd Or Make It Worse

What does heartburn feel like

For instance, many people experience symptoms of acid reflux disease after a night of drinking alcohol.

It appears that alcohol can have an effect on the muscle valve which is supposed to stop acid from flowing up into the esophagus.

Many foods can also make the problem worse, such as oranges and chocolate.

However, this doesnt mean GERD is always the result of actions youve taken. Some people simply suffer from GERD without any explanation that relates to the way they eat or behave otherwise.

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Identifying Symptoms Of Gerd In Children

It can be hard to pick up on the symptoms of GERD in a young child as the symptoms can differ from those experienced by adults.

If you have a baby or toddler who cant yet speak enough to describe symptoms to you, here are some of the visual indicators to keep an eye out for:

  • Regurgitation and vomiting these are amongst the most common symptoms in babies
  • Coughing
  • Fussy behavior
  • Burping
  • Heartburn

What Is A Heart Attack

A heart attack is a stoppage of blood flow to the heart caused by a blockage. The blockage often is a buildup of fat or cholesterol which forms plaque in the coronary arteries that feed the heart.

When blood flow to your heart is blocked, it causes damage to your heart muscle. A heart attack is a medical emergency that can be life-threatening, so if you think youre having a heart attack, call 911 right away.

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Arm Pain: Heartburn Or Something Else

Heart attack survivors often recount their first symptom as a heartburn-like sensation. Many patients explicitly use the word heartburn when recounting their cardiac experience. Patients often realize that their heartburn is in fact not reflux-related but heart-related when:

  • There is a pain radiating up the arm, specifically the left arm
  • They have no history of acid reflux
  • There is a burning sensation in the chest
  • They have not eaten anything prior to the pain
  • The pain doesnt go away with antacid

If your heartburn symptoms dont go away after taking an antacid, and are accompanied by arm pain and back pain, we suggest going to an emergency facility immediately to get medical help.

What To Do If You Have Frequent Heartburn

What does indigestion feel like? What are the symptoms of functional dyspepsia?

If you suffer from more-than-occasional heartburn or indigestion, it is important that you seek attention from a health care professional as soon as possible. These may be symptoms of a serious medical condition like a heart attack, ulcer, or gallbladder disease. Furthermore, the symptoms of heartburn may be a sign of damage to the esophagus which can lead to scarring and narrowing of the esophagus or to abnormal cell growth, increasing the risk of cancer.

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How To Avoid Antibiotic Pill

To avoid antibiotic pill-induced esophagitis, patients should:

  • Swallow pills when sitting upright or preferably while standing.
  • Swallow pills one at a time.
  • Swallow pills with 4 to 8 ounces of water.
  • Remain in an upright position for two hours after swallowing pills.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a liquid form of the antibiotic youre prescribed.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the antibiotic pill can be crushed and mixed with water to make swallowing easier.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the antibiotic can be taken with food without limiting its effectiveness.
  • Ask your doctor if a less caustic antibiotic is available for treatment.
  • Ask your doctor if sublingual, intrarectal, subcutaneous, or intravenous, forms of antibiotics are available for treatment.
  • The elderly should increase stomach acid to improve the digestion time of antibiotics.
  • The mucosal membrane lining the esophagus and stomach can be bolstered with mucilage for added protection against esophagitis. Mucilage is a substance produced by plants and is found in aloe vera, licorice , slippery elm, and .

Patients who are at risk of a recurrence of antibiotic pill-induced esophagitis or the development of chronic esophagitis from taking antibiotic pills are those who have esophageal issues that restrict swallowing, the elderly, those whose health condition prohibits swallowing pills with an adequate amount of water, and those who are unable to sit up.

Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd

The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.

Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

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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.
  • Barretts 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.

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How Is Heartburn Treated

Heartburn: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

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.

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