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What Causes Heartburn And Indigestion

Who Is At Risk For Indigestion

Acid Reflux & Heartburn : Acid Indigestion Causes

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

How And When To Take Antacids

Check the instructions on the packet or leaflet to see how much antacid to take and how often. This depends on the exact medicine you’re taking.

Antacids should be used when you have symptoms or think you will get them soon for most people, the best time to take them is with or soon after meals, and just before going to bed.

Remember that doses for children may be lower than for adults.

Contact a GP or pharmacist, or call NHS 111, if you take too much of the medicine and start to feel unwell.

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

Read Also: How To Relieve Heartburn In Pregnancy

What Can I Do To Prevent This In The Future

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Surgery For A Hiatus Hernia

What is the difference between Indigestion and Heart burn ...

Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia. This involves making small cuts in your tummy .

It’s done under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep during the operation.

After surgery, it usually takes:

  • 2 to 3 days to go home
  • 3 to 6 weeks to go back to work
  • 6 weeks before you can eat what you want
  • a few months to recover from side effects like bloating, burping, farting and difficulty swallowing

There’s a small risk that your side effects will not go away and you’ll need more surgery.

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Taking Antacids With Food Alcohol And Other Medicines

It’s best to take antacids with food or soon after eating because this is when you’re most likely to get indigestion or heartburn.

The effect of the medicine may also last longer if taken with food.

Antacids can affect how well other medicines work, so do not take other medicines within 2 to 4 hours of taking an antacid.

You can drink alcohol while taking antacids, but alcohol can irritate your stomach and make your symptoms worse.

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.

Also Check: Home Remedy To Stop Heartburn Immediately

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider

Indigestion can be a sign of a serious health problem. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have indigestion and any of these symptoms:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Weight loss or not feeling hungry
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Sudden sharp pain in your belly or abdomen
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, or arm
  • Difficult, painful swallowing
  • Yellow coloring of your eyes or skin

Also call your healthcare provider if you have indigestion that lasts longer than 2 weeks.

Indigestion Vs Heartburn And Gerd

Acid Reflux & Heartburn : Acid Indigestion Causes

It is common for people to confuse indigestion with heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease , but these are separate conditions. Some people who experience heartburn describe it as indigestion. Although both conditions have similar triggers, and in many instances may even be treated similarly, indigestion isn’t the same thing as heartburn. Indigestion is an overall condition, whereas heartburn may be a symptom of indigestion, GERD, or other underlying diagnosis.

Occasionally, heartburn is one of the symptoms of indigestion. Heartburn is felt when stomach acid comes up through the lower esophageal sphincter that links your esophagus to your stomach. This causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat. When you feel the taste in the back of your mouth it may be called acid indigestion. Gastroesophageal reflux is when your stomach contents come back up into the esophagus GERD is classified as a sustained or chronic state of GER.

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What Does Severe Acid Reflux Feel Like

The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight.

What Tests Might Be Done

Tests are not usually necessary if you have typical symptoms. Many people experiencing acid leaking up into the gullet are diagnosed with ‘presumed acid reflux’. In this situation they have typical symptoms and the symptoms are eased by treatment. Tests may be advised if symptoms are severe, or do not improve with treatment, or are not typical of GORD.

  • Gastroscopy is the common test. A thin, flexible telescope is passed down the oesophagus into the stomach. This allows a doctor or nurse to look inside. With inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus , the lower part of the oesophagus looks red and inflamed. However, if it looks normal it does not rule out acid reflux. Some people are very sensitive to small amounts of acid and can have symptoms with little or no inflammation to see. Two terms that are often used after an endoscopy are:
  • Oesophagitis. This term is used when the oesophagus can be seen to be inflamed.
  • Endoscopy-negative reflux disease. This term is used when someone has typical symptoms of reflux but endoscopy is normal.
  • A test to check the acidity inside the oesophagus may be done if the diagnosis is not clear.
  • Other tests such as heart tracings, chest X-ray, etc, may be done to rule out other conditions if the symptoms are not typical.
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    What Happens If You Have Heartburn Everyday

    Generally speaking, heartburn is not serious. An occasional bout of heartburn usually means that the foods the person ate produced too much acid in the stomach. If a persons suffers from heartburn often, or every day, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

    Learn What Causes Heartburn Symptoms And How To Control Them

    Heartburn Symptoms Causes Diagnosis And Treatment

    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:

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    Read Also: What Makes You Get Heartburn

    What Are The Usual Symptoms Of Heartburn & Acid Reflux

    Heartburn often seems worse after rich meals, citrus fruits, hot beverages or alcohol. Occasionally it can be felt deeply within the chest, almost within the back although sometimes the burning feeling can reach all the way up to the throat2. Some patients notice acid reflux when some of the contents of their stomach repeat by coming back up the oesophagus as far as the throat or even the mouth. A few patients notice discomfort or pain as they swallow and may often experience frequent throat clearing, coughing and choking. It is quite common for these symptoms to be worse at night or when lying down.

    For most people with the condition, heartburn and reflux is just a nuisance and little more than that. In a few people, especially where there is severe inflammation of the oesophagus, there is a risk of complications that can include internal bleeding and narrowing of the gullet. One in ten people with acid reflux have Barretts Oesophagus12, 13. This is a condition that can, very rarely, progress to cancer of the lower oesophagus. If you are worried about these complications, discuss them with your GP.

    What Does Heartburn Feel Like

    Heartburn typically feels like a burning in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also feel symptoms like:

    • A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
    • Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down.
    • A burning feeling in your throat.
    • A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
    • Difficulty swallowing.

    Read Also: How Do You Get Heartburn

    Herbal Remedies For Heartburn

    Deglycrrhizinated Licorice . DGL increases the secretion of the protective mucus that coats our upper and lower GI tract. This creates a barrier between your stomach acid and the lining of your GI tract. A few weeks of DGL protects the stomach and esophageal lining long enough for the irritation to heal.

    Clinical trials revealed that it is just as effective and sometimes more effective than prescription acid blockers in the treatment of gastric ulcers. DGL is licorice root without the glycyrrhizin, a compound that can cause blood pressure changes and swelling.

    Mastic gum. Mastic gum comes from a tree resin and is a traditional digestive remedy that has science behind its effectiveness. Scientists found that mastic gum kills seven different strains of H. pylori, a bacteria that, when it proliferates, can cause heartburn and other symptoms. It even killed the ones that were resistant to antibiotics.

    What Causes Acid Reflux Disease

    What causes heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD?

    Several factors may increase your risk for acid reflux disease.

    Stomach abnormalities. One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which can occur in people of any age. A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. This is the muscle wall separating your stomach from your chest. When it works correctly, the diaphragm normally helps keep acid from rising into your esophagus. But if you have a hiatal hernia, it is easier for acid to move up into your esophagus.

    Pregnancy. Many women experience acid reflux for the first time during pregnancy. This is caused by increasing levels of hormones combined with pressure from the growing fetus. Usually worst during the third trimester, the symptoms almost always go away after delivery.

    Smoking.Smoking may contribute to acid reflux disease by doing any of the following:

    • Damaging mucus membranes
    • Impairing muscle reflexes in the throat
    • Increasing acid secretion

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    You Must Always See Your Gp If:

    • you have taken acid suppressant mediations, purchased from the pharmacy, for four weeks or more
    • lifestyle changes and pharmacy medicines arent helping
    • you have heartburn most days for three weeks or more
    • you have other symptoms like food getting stuck in your oesophagus, frequently being sick or unintentional weight loss

    What Triggers Indigestion

    Depending on what’s causing your indigestion, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating , belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, “growling” stomach, and even diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours.

    Indigestion can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, including ulcers, pancreas abnormalities, or acid reflux disease. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last for more than two weeks.

    Show References

    Hide References

  • Indigestion . National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/indigestion-dyspepsia.
  • Heartburn Causes. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2014, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/basics/causes/con-20019545.
  • Amos, Julie-Ann. Acid Reflux Statistics and Facts. Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 June 2012, www.healthline.com/health/gerd/statistics.
  • Indigestion. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Aug. 2016, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/indigestion/symptoms-causes/dxc-20209277.
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    What Causes Heartburn

    To know why heartburn happens, it can help to understand how your esophagus and stomach work. When you eat, the food passes down a long tube that connects your mouth and stomach. This tube is called the esophagus. At the bottom of the esophagus is a valve, called the esophageal sphincter. This valve opens to let food through and then closes to keep your stomach contents down. Inside your stomach is a very strong acidic mixture that starts the process of breaking down your food . Your stomach is designed to hold this mixture. However, your esophagus isnt able to hold this mixture without getting hurt.

    Sometimes, the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus doesnt close properly, and some of the acidic mixture from your stomach goes back up the esophagus. This is called reflux. When you have reflux, youll often feel the burning sensation thats heartburn. There are a few medical conditions that can cause reflux and make you feel heartburn, including:

    • Pregnancy.
    • Hiatal hernia .
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease .
    • Certain medications, especially anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin.

    Heartburn can also be caused by your eating habits including the foods you eat, how large your meals are and how close to bedtime you eat and certain lifestyle habits.

    Causes Of Acid Reflux

    Causes and Treatments of Heartburn During Pregnancy

    The following are the most common causes of acid reflux. They may weaken the LES or increase sensitivity to acid reflux symptoms by irritating the esophagus and raising stomach acid levels.

    You may find one or more causation to be the blame for your acid reflux.

    1. Heartburn Trigger Foods

    Certain foods and liquids can trigger heartburn in most people. These should be avoided or eaten sparingly. These foods that trigger heartburn include but are not limited to:

    • Alcohol

    The healthier your diet the less risk of heartburn.

    2. Low Dietary Fiber

    Low dietary fiber can lead to constipation which increases abdominal pressure. This pressure can weaken the LES closure.

    3. High Salt Intake

    A high salt intake decreases LES muscle pressure allowing acid to reflux.1 and irritates the esophagus leading to increased pain from heartburn.2

    4. Eating Large Meals

    Eating large meals Increases abdominal pressure leading to added pressure on the LES.

    5. Eating Before Bedtime

    Eating before bedtime can lead to acid reflux. When laying down, stomach contents will place pressure on the LES and leak through into the esophagus.

    6. Hiatal Hernia

    A hiatal hernia is an impairment of body structure where part of the stomach pushes through the opening known as the hiatus where the esophagus passes through the diaphragm. A hiatal hernia effects LES function prohibiting it from closing properly and allowing acid reflux.

    7. Being Overweight

    Three ways being overweight leads to acid reflux:

    8. Being Pregnant

    Also Check: What Is The Best Thing To Eat For Heartburn

    What Is Acid Reflux

    • Acid reflux means that some acid leaks up into the gullet .
    • Oesophagitis means inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus. Most cases of oesophagitis are due to reflux of stomach acid which irritates the inside lining of the oesophagus.

    The lining of the oesophagus can cope with a certain amount of acid. However, it is more sensitive to acid in some people. Therefore, some people develop symptoms with only a small amount of reflux. However, some people have a lot of reflux without developing oesophagitis or symptoms.

    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.

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    Heartburn Or Heart Attack

    A heart attack is when the arteries connected to the heart become blocked. Heartburn, on the other hand, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus.

    Some symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack could be similar, such as chest pain. As a result, some people who are having a heart attack do not take action as they think they have heartburn.

    If a person experiences heartburn pain alongside shortness of breath or sweating, this could be a heart-related issue.

    Other symptoms of a heart attack can include:

    • discomfort in the chest, such as squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain
    • lightheadedness
    • pain or discomfort in one or both arms, stomach, neck, jaw, or back

    If a person has some or all of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention. In the words of the American Heart Association , If in doubt, check it out.

    Knowing how to distinguish a heart attack from heartburn can save lives.

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