Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
02-14-20 – Esophageal Issues
Most people have experienced the symptoms of heartburn at one time or another. Perhaps you ate too much just before bed and awoke to a burning sensation in your chest. You may have even had some regurgitation of stomach acid into your throat and mouth. While unpleasant, these symptoms are easily treated with antacids or home remedies for most. Its only an occasional occurrence and is given little thought after the discomfort passes. However, for sufferers of acid reflux disease, these symptoms and others can become a regular occurrence.
When heartburn becomes more persistent, occurring two or more times a week, or if it is resistant to medications, its time to see a specialist. Additionally, there are several other symptoms that may suggest acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease . While these symptoms may not be as disruptive as heartburn, they also point to this chronic digestive disorder and should be addressed.
How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
Bacteria In Your Large Intestine
Your large intestine contains a large number of bacteria and some fungi and viruses that make up the gut microbiomethe microbes in your digestive tract that help with digestion. Bacteria in the large intestine help break down carbohydrates and create gas in the process.
Certain foods and drinks contain types of carbohydratessugars, starches, and fiberthat your stomach and small intestine dont fully digest. Undigested carbohydrates will pass to your large intestine, where bacteria break them down and create gas. You may have more gas symptoms if you consume more carbohydrates that your stomach and small intestine dont fully digest.
Read Also: Foods Good For Acid Reflux And Heartburn
Why Heartburn And Gas May Occur At The Same Time
Gas and heartburn are not always connected directly. However, it is possible for the two to exist together and make each other worse. It is also possible for a person to manage them in a similar way.
One common cause of heartburn and gas is eating too much too quickly. Eating large amounts of food in one sitting can trigger heartburn, while eating quickly may cause a person to swallow more air, resulting in gas.
Drinking fizzy alcoholic drinks, such as beer, can also cause both conditions to co-occur.
Relieving gas through belching can cause heartburn to worsen. The release of air when someone passes gas either during or immediately after a meal can cause more acid to rise in the throat. If this occurs, a person may experience heartburn.
People can treat heartburn directly with a couple of different types of medication that are available on prescription or over the counter .
Medications for heartburn include:
- Antacids, which offer quick relief for heartburn.
- H2 blockers, such as famotidine , which block the amount of acid that a persons stomach produces.
- Proton pump inhibitors, which are longer-lasting medications that act in a similar way to H2 blockers. Examples include omeprazole and lansoprazole .
There are fewer medications to treat gas. Antacids do not typically prevent or treat gas. Instead, a person can try the following drugs:
Some people may also have success using home remedies for heartburn. Some potential remedies to try include:
Avoid Spicy Foods And Keep Some Dazzle In Your Diet With Low
The fiery feeling of heartburn is the last way you want to remember a great meal. But when your doctor says you have chronic heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease , you may worry that a bland and disappointing menu is in your future. “That may not be true,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “The foods that trigger heartburn are different for everyone.” He suggests keeping a journal to determine which foods cause symptoms.
Some foods and ingredients may intensify heartburn, such as spicy foods, citrus, tomato sauces, and vinegar.
Fatty and fried foods linger longer in the stomach. That may increase stomach pressure and force open the muscles that keep stomach acid out of the esophagus.
Other common heartburn triggers include chocolate, caffeine, onions, peppermint, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
Recommended Reading: Where Do I Feel Heartburn
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion
Each persons symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling full too soon while eating
- Feeling pain, burning, and discomfort in your upper belly or abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Burping and loud stomach gurgling
- Having an upset stomach or vomiting
- Having diarrhea
- Having gas
The symptoms of indigestion may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
Recommended Reading: What To Do For Constant Heartburn
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.
Is Milk Bad For Acid Reflux
Milk and dairy products are high in fat and tend to make heartburn worse. When you have frequent GERD symptoms, like heartburn, eating high-fat dairy products like cheese can aggravate your symptoms. Furthermore, cold dairy products like ice cream can actually numb and inhibit the lower esophageal sphincters function.
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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.
Heartburn Triggers: Heartburn And Diet
A number of foods and drinks can cause the LES to relax. Food and drinks that commonly trigger heartburn include:
- alcohol, particularly red wine
- citrus fruits and products, such as lemons, oranges and orange juice
- coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
However, unless these foods are causing you heartburn you dont have to avoid them. To prevent heartburn after meals:
- Dont overeat. Eat five or six small meals each day, instead of several large meals.
- Dont eat before bedtime. Allow 2 hours to digest your food before lying down. This allows time for the food to pass out of the stomach and into the small intestine, rather than having it back up into the esophagus. Lying down makes digestion difficult and makes heartburn more likely.
Can Anxiety Cause Indigestion
Stress and anxiety can affect the body and can aggravate symptoms of indigestion. The physiological stress due to anxiety and stress also affect indigestion. Because indigestion can be caused by anxiety, lifestyle and diet, or another medical condition, it may be difficult to know what is causing it.
Contact a doctor to find out if anxiety is causing your indigestion, and to help you manage your anxiety if it is aggravating indigestion symptoms.
Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
Read Also: How Soon Does Heartburn Start In Pregnancy
How Is The Cause Of Indigestion Diagnosed
In addition to a physical exam and questions about your symptoms, a doctor may perform the following tests:
- Blood tests
Some of the above medications are available in over-the-counter strengths.
A combination of antibiotics and acid blockers may be prescribed for up to several months if the underlying cause is related to Helicobacter pylori .
If the underlying cause is found to be gastroparesis, pro-motility drugs such as metoclopramide may be prescribed.
If the underlying cause is found to be a medication you are currently taking, do not abruptly stop the medication. Work with your health-care professional to find alternatives that will not worsen your indigestion.
It the underlying cause is caused entirely or partially by lifestyle, medications listed above may help reduce symptoms, but changes in lifestyle will produce the best results .
What Are Prescription Medications For Heartburn
If over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers do not relieve your heartburn, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription for other medicines, such as:
- Prescription-strength acid blockers: In prescription-strength , Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid® and Axid® can generally relieve heartburn and treat GERD.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These are drugs that block acid production more effectively. Proton pump inhibitors include Aciphex®, Nexium®, Prevacid®, Prilosec® and Protonix®.
There are some proton pump inhibitors that can be purchased over-the-counter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these medications and what is best for you.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
Belching: Getting Rid Of Excess Air
Belching or burping is your body’s way of expelling excess air from your stomach. It’s a normal reflex caused by swallowing air. You may swallow excess air if you eat or drink too fast, talk while you eat, chew gum or suck on hard candies, drink carbonated beverages, or smoke.
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease can have the same effect. If stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, you may swallow repeatedly to clear the material. This can lead to swallowing more air and further belching.
Some people swallow air as a nervous habit even when they’re not eating or drinking. In other cases, chronic belching may be related to inflammation of the stomach lining or to an infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for some stomach ulcers.
You can reduce belching if you:
- Eat and drink slowly. Taking your time can help you swallow less air.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and beer. They release carbon dioxide gas.
- Skip the gum and hard candy. When you chew gum or suck on hard candy, you swallow more often than normal. Part of what you’re swallowing is air.
- Don’t smoke. When you inhale smoke, you also inhale and swallow air.
- Check your dentures. Poorly fitting dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink.
- Treat heartburn. For occasional, mild heartburn, over-the-counter antacids or other remedies may be helpful. GERD may require prescription-strength medication or other treatments.
Also Check: What Will Get Rid Of Heartburn
When To Get Medical Help
See your midwife or GP if you need help managing your symptoms or if changes to your diet and lifestyle do not work. They may recommend medicine to ease your symptoms.
You should also see your midwife or GP if you have any of the following:
- difficulty eating or keeping food down
- weight loss
- stomach pains
Your midwife or GP may ask about your symptoms and examine you by pressing gently on different areas of your chest and stomach to see whether its painful.
The Key To Relieving Heartburn Bloating And Even Stress
Despite a burning sensation rising up into the throat and that gnawing feeling right beneath your rib cage, heartburn is usually caused by too little stomach acid, not too much.
Hypochlorhydria, or a low concentration of gastric acid, has been linked to a long list of disorders related to digestive, immune, and brain function.
Common symptoms of hypochlorhydria include:
- Difficulty digesting proteins
Recommended Reading: Baking Soda To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Bacterial Overgrowth Can Stress Every Cell In Your Body
Whether it is low stomach acid, too many starchy foods that feed bacteria, or a combination of these factors, once bacteria have the opportunity, they will multiply as quickly as possible.
As bacteria begin to colonize the small intestine, they produce gas. This gas can affect your digestion in a number of ways, ranging from cramping and belching to constipation.
Unfortunately, all this activity also can inflame the tissue lining the intestinal wall.
Under the right circumstances, inflammation protects the body against infection. When inflammation is chronic, or ongoing, it can lead to tissue damage. In order to control tissue damage, the body releases cortisol. If an inflammatory trigger persists, the body continues to release cortisol.
- Dampens, or weakens the immune response system
- Controls inflammation
The stress response is so important that every nucleated cell in the body has receptors for cortisol. The nucleus stores genetic information. Every cell that is in charge of its own reproduction is able to receive and respond to cortisol.
This means that when tissue lining the intestinal tract becomes inflamed from bacterial overgrowth, it is not just the intestinal tract that picks up on stress hormones. Practically every cell in the body is reading the stress response, including the mind.
Heartburn Triggers: Heartburn And Medications
Many different medications can trigger heartburn, or make heartburn worse. An aspirin here or there is not likely to lead to that fiery feeling. But regular use of aspirin or a popular class of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may irritate the esophagus. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex. These drugs are often used to treat arthritis.
Several different types of blood pressure medicines can also cause heartburn. Many blood pressure and heart disease medicines, including calcium channel blockers and nitrates, relax the LES muscle, making it easy for your stomach acids to retreat backwards.
Several other types of medications are known to relax the LES muscle and lead to heartburn. They include:
- An asthma medicine called theophylline, taken by mouth
Read Also: What Not To Eat When Having Heartburn
When And How To Strengthen The 3 Elements Of Your Digestive Power
Digestive power is a combination of many functions coming together. When any one element of this trio is dysfunctional or not up-to-speed, bacteria can work their way into the small intestine and set up shop. When we eat the wrong foods or too much of any food, this can lead to fermentation. When we eat on the go, when angry or upset, or when the stress response has been activated, this can also lead to fermentation.
The three elements responsible for healthy digestive power are:
- Sufficient stomach acid
- Special enzymes called brush border enzymes
- Beneficial bacteria
Low levels of stomach acid are common and, contrary to popular belief, are actually one of the main culprits responsible for heartburn. Body Ecology Assist Dairy & Protein strengthens digestive fire because it contains HCL, along with other enzymes, to break down proteins.
Medications to treat heartburn, like proton pump inhibitors , will lower stomach acid levels and actually promote SIBO.
- Reduced stomach acid means carbohydrates are less likely to break down and more likely to feed bacteria, causing bacterial overgrowth.
- A diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugars feeds bacteria, causing overpopulation, gas, and heartburn.
The enzymes most responsible for breaking down food, moving it along, and keeping the gut healthy are called brush border enzymes.
- Body Ecology Full Spectrum Enzymes are full of these powerful helpers, which prevent fermentation by breaking down food and by keeping food material mobile.