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What Causes Heartburn And Acid Reflux

What Should You Know About Heartburn

What Causes Heartburn Acid Reflux

Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .

Do most people get heartburn?

Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.

What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?

How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?

How can you get rid of heartburn?

Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,

  • eat a healthy diet,
  • sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
  • Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.

Find Out The Differences Between The Two

Acid Reflux and GERD are tied closely togetherbut most people arent aware of what differentiates them. Heres an easy way to know the difference: Acid Reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach backs up, or refluxes, into your esophagus, causing heartburn. And Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease is chronic or recurring acid reflux.1

Many things can cause acid reflux, including foods like coffee and chocolate, being overweight or pregnant, or eating too much or too quickly.

But whats actually happening inside you? At the entrance of your stomach is the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle that opens to let food in and closes tight to keep food and acid in the stomach. If this muscle doesnt close all the way or opens too often, acid can flow back into your esophagus, causing heartburn.

Other Ways To Relieve Heartburn

In addition to removing foods from your diet that may cause heartburn, there are other ways to tame heartburn.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity is associated with GERD. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight may decrease GERD symptoms like heartburn (
  • ).

There are many other ways to improve and manage symptoms of GERD.

If you have heartburn, its best to develop a treatment plan with a healthcare professional.


There are many other methods you can use to manage GERD symptoms. A healthcare professional can help come up with a treatment plan that works best for you.

Also Check: Can You Take Heartburn Medicine While Pregnant

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.

Are There Rare Acid Reflux Symptoms

What is the Cause of Heartburn &  Acid Reflux?

Although a common gastrointestinal condition, not all acid reflux symptoms are shared by patients. Some only experience heartburn and regurgitation, which are two distinct signs of acid reflux. Others may exhibit symptoms that stray from the usual list.

Listed below are some of the usual concerns on uncommon acid reflux symptoms. Keep in mind that the majority of these are caused by chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease and may not be relevant to patients with temporary acid reflux.

If so, a separate issue not related to acid reflux may be the cause of the following symptoms:

Also Check: How To Relieve Severe Heartburn

Recommended Reading: Can You Take Tums For Heartburn While Pregnant

Whats The Difference Between Heartburn Reflux Gerd And Nerd

Some of these terms are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between them.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, just behind the breastbone. This isnt a condition in and of itself, but rather a common symptom of acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the medical term for stomach acid occasionally flowing back up into the esophagus. If reflux becomes chronic, it can lead to GERD.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder is when reflux occurs more than twice per week, leading to inflammation or damage in the esophagus .

What is NERD?

Non-erosive Reflux Disease is a lesser understood condition in which reflux occurs often, but without damage to the esophagus . We wont discuss NERD in detail here, but its important to remember you can still have similar symptoms and associated health risks of GERD even without esophageal damage.

Can Heartburn Be Prevented Or Avoided

You might be able to avoid heartburn by making some lifestyle changes.

  • Place 6- to 9-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed to raise it.
  • Try to eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down. If you take naps, try sleeping in a chair.
  • Quit smoking if you smoke.
  • Lose weight if youre overweight.
  • Dont overeat.
  • Avoid tight clothes and tight belts.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that give you heartburn.

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What Causes Acid Reflux Disease

One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. This occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest. Normally, the diaphragm helps keep acid in our stomach. But if you have a hiatal hernia, acid can move up into your esophagus and cause symptoms of acid reflux disease.

These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:

  • Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal

The Real Cause Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux & What To Do About It

The Real Causes of Acid Reflux, Heartburn & GERD Dr.Berg

Heartburn and acid reflux feel terrible, right?! Seriouslythe struggle is real for those who love food but worry about everything they put in their mouth because it could cause one of the most uncomfortable feelings they have ever experienced.

So, what do most people do?

They run for the TUMS, which may work for a second but doesnt stop heartburn from reappearing again. Some have even chosen to be on a proton pump inhibitor. However, they also find that it isnt consistently working and that it causes some pretty glamorous side effects, such as diarrhea, headaches and even rashes. Or maybe their physician gave them a prescription for a stomach acid suppressor or antacid, such as Prilosec, Zantac, etc.

Well, heres a newsflash that goes against what these options are trying to do

Heartburn and acid reflux are symptoms of a need for MORE stomach acid, not less!

Most people have been told that the reason for heartburn is because they have too much stomach acidthus, the prescriptions. However, the truth is that probably 90% of the time, those individuals have too little stomach acid! In fact, when the foundation of the issue is not fully addressed, a person may not only suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, GERD and food borne illnesses, but they may also struggle with parasites, anemia, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, allergies and depression.

Heres why

To give you even more of a clear picture, heres the proper north to south digestion process and how things SHOULD work:

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What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are medications that decrease the amount of stomach acid that the stomach produces. They are more effective for providing heartburn relief than H2 blockers. They also work better to help heal the esophagus. Both over-the-counter and prescription versions of these medications are available. They need to be taken on an empty stomach. Examples of PPIs include lansoprazole , pantoprazole , esomeprazole , omeprazole , and Rabeprazole . PPIs should not be taken long-term nor in high doses because this is associated with an increased risk of fractures of the wrists, spine, and hips.

Most Common Triggers Of Acid Reflux / Heartburn

Heartburn is a painful burning sensation experienced in the chest or upper stomach due to the reflux of stomach acid into the oesophagus.

The reflux is a result of relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle that is under normal conditions, supposed to stay tight and prevent acid up-flow.

The relaxation of LES, in turn, is usually caused due to poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, smoking, alcoholism, and several other pathophysiological factors.

Though heartburn is a common condition and can be treated easily with simple medications, its negligence can lead to a more chronic ailment called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease .

  • Summary
  • Read Also: Why Do I Get Really Bad Heartburn

    What You Should Do

    Mild acid reflux can usually be managed with a few lifestyle changes and the occasional use of over-the-counter medications. Clearly, losing weight will help if you have a few extra pounds or more. Also, avoiding some of the known trigger foods will help bring the symptoms of GERD under control.

    If you experience heartburn and its accompanied by pain in other areas of the chest, or in your arm or jaw, call 911 immediately because this could be signs of a heart attack. You should make an appointment with a physician if your symptoms are severe or if you have frequent episodes of acid reflux. For example, if you are taking OTC heartburn medication more than twice a week, you should see a doctor.

    Alcohol And Acid Reflux

    10 Home Remedies for Acid Reflux and The Problem with PPIs

    The relationship between alcohol and acid reflux isnt as simple as it may seem. If youre reading this, chances are that youve experienced the uncomfortable sensation of acid rising up your throat and into your mouth after drinking alcohol, or may be curious to know what causes this feeling. Alcohol causes irritation in the esophagus and changes the pH levels of its contents, including saliva.

    Nearly 1 in 3 adults suffers from heartburn on a regular basis, and while some turn to prescription drugs, others reach for a glass of wine to relax at the end of the day. But while wine may provide relief, it can also cause problems.

    It is estimated that 30 to 60 million Americans have acid reflux or GERD. Acid reflux can be caused by many factors, including diet, obesity, smoking, stress, and the condition of the throat muscles. Alcohol consumption can worsen acid reflux by increasing stomach acids. Too much alcohol can cause the esophagus to relax and allow food and stomach acid to enter into the esophagus.

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    Is Gerd Dangerous Or Life

    GERD isnt life-threatening or dangerous in itself. But long-term GERD can lead to more serious health problems:

    • Esophagitis: Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the stomach acid causes in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in your esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and trouble swallowing.
    • Barretts esophagus: Barretts esophagus is a condition that develops in some people who have long-term GERD. The damage acid reflux can cause over years can change the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.
    • Esophageal cancer: Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two major types. Adenocarcinoma usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. This type can develop from Barretts esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
    • Strictures: Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, causing narrowing of the esophagus. These strictures can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach.

    Acid Reflux And Headaches

    While there are no studies showing that gastrointestinal disorders can lead to headaches, there are publications that illustrate how gastric problems, in particular acid reflux, can coincide with headaches.

    A study involving 43,782 patients studies the possible prevalence of headaches in patients with gastrointestinal problems. Compared to diarrhea and constipation, patients with acid reflux symptoms report higher prevalence of headaches.

    Another study involving 1,832 migraine patients were tested for heartburn and GERD symptoms. Of the group, 22% reported GERD diagnosis, 11.6% reported heartburn, and another 15.8% reported previously undiagnosed reflux symptoms.

    These studies show that patients with acid reflux problems also tend to experience headaches, although there are no clear reasons why. Although unclear, doctors confirm that treating gastrointestinal problems also alleviates headache symptoms, which is how acid reflux-related headaches are treated.

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    And Then Theres Yoga For Acid Reflux Yes Yoga

    Yoga acid reflux treatment for seniors

    I saw CNNs program Chasing Life, in which its health expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta travels to countries where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives and tries to learn what enables them to do so.

    In India, Dr. Gupta interviewed its prime minister, Narendra Modi, who practices and promotes yoga. During the interview, he demonstrated a yogic treatment for acid reflux.

    Strange as it seems, this is it. All I can tell you is that Ive used it five times, four while lying on my side about to go to sleep, when I felt a reflux attack coming on. It worked.

  • Place a finger over one nostril. Either side of your nose.
  • Curl your tongue the long way:
  • Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth as necessary to tame the acid reflux.
  • My first try, I breathed three times, the second four, the third seven. The fourth time, I inhaled and exhaled about nine times.

    I have no idea why this should have worked. But it did. Every time. Next time you feel an acid reflux attack coming on, give it a try.

    Worst case, it wont work and you can pop an antacid as usual.

    There are many approaches to yoga and heartburn on the Internet. Although I did a form of yoga over forty years ago, most of what Ive looked at is more yoga than I feel like doing these days. That doesnt mean you cant try them. It would be best to join a yoga group and get proper instruction.

    Gerd Symptoms Not Recognized By Most Acid Reflux Sufferers

    GERD and Acid Reflux. Common Causes.

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can have a variety of symptoms we do not typically associate with acid reflux. GERD is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When functioning properly, the LES opens only to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach. However, a loose LES can allow gastric acid to backflow into the esophagus, and heartburn is only one of many symptoms.

    Here are some hidden symptoms of GERD that you might not recognize as being caused by reflux:

  • Hoarse or husky voice A deeper-sounding voice after a meal might mean that you are experiencing reflux of acid into the esophagus or throat.
  • Sore throat GERD can also cause your throat to become sore after eating.
  • Bitter taste A bitter or sour taste in your mouth after eating might be gastric acid from the stomach caused by GERD. In severe cases, acid reflux can cause choking.
  • Asthma Wheezing and coughing can be caused by stomach acid reaching the lungs.
  • Chest pain Heartburn or chest pain can be due to repeated acid reflux.
  • Nausea Feeling queasy after a meal could also point to reflux.
  • Excessive saliva Extra saliva may be produced to wash acid from the esophagus.
  • Bad breath The acidity of reflux can cause bad breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing A feeling of a lump in the throat that wont go away could indicate inflammation of esophageal tissue and strictures.
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    Acid Reflux : Causes And Treatments

    Many people have to deal with mild acid reflux or heartburn from time to time. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , it occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus from the stomach. A circular band of muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter is located at the opening where the esophagus leads into the stomach, and normally, the LES is open only when food or liquid is being swallowed.

    This valve prevents stomach acid from flowing back the wrong way, so if it relaxes or weakens at the wrong time, acid reflux can occur. As the stomach acid comes in contact with the lining of the esophagus, it can cause severe pain and discomfort that feels like a burning sensation in the chest or throat. Acid reflux can also cause the regurgitation a food and unpleasant liquid, and in some cases even make it difficult to swallow.

    Do You Have Nighttime Symptoms

    Nighttime heartburn may be particularly dangerous. Waking up with a sour taste in the mouth, coughing, or sore throat may indicate nighttime acid reflux. Not only does it disturb sleep, but the esophagus may sustain more damage. That’s because when you are lying down for several hours, acid has a lot of time to linger in the esophagus and damage the tissue. When we are awake, we swallow saliva throughout the day. Saliva helps neutralize stomach acid. We naturally swallow less saliva when we sleep, so stomach acid is not neutralized.

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