What Should You Know About Heartburn
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?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
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.
Acid Reflux Mythbusters: Drinking Water Dilutes Stomach Acid
With all of the information available right at our fingertips, the potential to stumble upon diet myths is fairly high. During the age of information-overload, how do you know youre getting accurate facts rather than hyped-up hyperbole?
This is part three of a ten part mythbusters series on acid reflux relief. Part one explores if acidic foods cause acid reflux.Part two dives into myths surrounding a high fat diet and reflux. Todays article divulges if drinking water dilutes stomach acid, a common question by those aiming to optimize digestive health.
Lets explore why this myth became popular and what the current research has to say about it. I use the mythbuster-scaling system of totally true, a little bit true, or not true at all.
So, fact or fiction: does drinking water dilute stomach acid?
Here Are Some Other Lifestyle Tips To Reduce Reflux
- If you are overweight then losing weight can help reduce the pressure on the LES
- Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the stomach or promote relaxation of the LES. These include alcohol, carbonated or caffeinated drinks, chocolate, citrus, milk, peppers, and tomatoes.
- Quit smoking. Smoking weakens the LES and reduces saliva production.
- Eat meals earlier in the night, or just have a simple soup if you have to eat late.
- Try intermittent fasting to give your digestion a chance to fully digest your food before eating the next meal
- Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, blood pressure medications, steroids, and anti-biotic drugs can all contribute to reflux.
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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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Tests And Surgery For Heartburn And Acid Reflux
If medicines do not help or your symptoms are severe, a GP may refer you to a specialist for:
- tests to find out what’s causing your symptoms, such as a gastroscopy
- an operation on your stomach to stop acid reflux called a laparoscopic fundoplication
Page last reviewed: 09 September 2020 Next review due: 09 September 2023
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Stomach Acid Reflux And Your Diet
The increasing prevalence of the condition in the western world means that dietary habits could be a potential cause. Plus, there is increasing evidence that lifestyle is a major cause for concern. But identifying the food or drinks causing your acid reflux means you can prevent it in the future by avoiding these triggers.
- feeling like there is a lump in your throat
- acidic taste or acid throat
FACTCan acid reflux cause stomach pain? When gastric acid irritates the stomach lining, its called gastritis. Gastritis and acid reflux are sometimes known as hyperacidity.
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Can Cucumbers Give You Acid Reflux
Cucumbers are rich in two of the most basic elements needed for healthy digestion: water and fiber. If you struggle with acid reflux, you should know that drinking water can help suppress acute symptoms of acid reflux by temporarily raising stomach pH its possible that water-rich cucumbers may have a similar effect.
Beside above, are cucumbers acidic or alkaline? The high water content and alkaline potassium in cucumber make it a mild diuretic that can ease bloating. Cucumber is high in alkaline magnesium, calcium, plus vitamin K1 all essential for bone health. Eat cucumber regularly if you are eating a low-meat or low-dairy diet.
Hereof, why does cucumber give me heartburn?
Cucumber is also not a friendly snack for people with sensitive stomachs. It contains an ingredient called cucurbitacin, which is a powerful ingredient, known to cause indigestion problems. Even a little growling or indigestion can lead to flatulence or burping, which again makes it difficult to rest with ease.
Can I eat pears with acid reflux?
Noncitrus fruits, including melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits.
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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:
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.
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
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Avoiding Indigestion And Heartburn
If your symptoms are mild, it’s possible that changes to your diet or lifestyle may help prevent indigestion and heartburn. You could try:
- eating smaller meals, more often
- avoiding eating just before bed
- avoiding foods and drinks that you suspect give you heartburn
- not drinking a lot of coffee at the end of the day
- avoiding eating and drinking at the same time, which can make your stomach more full
- sitting up straight while eating, and not lying down after a meal
- chewing gum, which may cause you to produce more saliva to help neutralise the acid
- stop smoking
- raise the head of your bed by 10 to 15cm
- sleep on your left side
If your indigestion is not helped by diet and lifestyle changes, or your symptoms are more severe, your doctor or midwife may suggest that you take a medicine for indigestion that is safe to use during pregnancy. Medicines can neutralise the acid in your stomach, reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach and stop the acid rising into your oesophagus.
Gerd Vs Heartburn Vs Acid Reflux
When people talk about heartburn, theyre really referring to a specific condition called acid reflux. When someone has acid reflux, it means that digestive acids and other stomach contents have risen up into the esophagus and are causing inflammation. The presence of stomach acid on esophageal tissue results in the pain and discomfort we associate with heartburn. When acid reflux becomes recurrent and chronic , it is recognized as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. In this sense, the terms chronic heartburn and GERD are essentially interchangeable.
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Can Alkaline Water Give You Heartburn
An interesting study by Kaufman & Johnston investigated that potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease. They set out to test whether consuming water with a pH level of 8.8 could inactivate human pepsin more effectively than conventional-pH water such as those straight from the tap or bottled varieties .
The study found that pH 8.8 alkaline water irreversibly inactivated human pepsin and its hydrochloric acid-buffering capacity far exceeded that of those conventional forms of drinking water.
The University of Maryland has also suggested that drinking filtered water throughout the day can help prevent heartburn.
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What Triggers Heartburn
Heartburn can be triggered by a lot of things, but eating is the main culprit. It can be caused by the specific foods you eatwe’re looking at you, greasy fries and hot wingsas well as by eating too much, or simply eating a big, heavy meal close to bedtime.
Carbonated and alcoholic beverages can also give you heartburn. People who are overweight often suffer from heartburn. Even a few extra pounds can put pressure on your stomach, causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
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How To Banish The Burn
Lifestyle changes can be very effective for those with mild to moderate acid reflux, says Pichetshote. Start with these tweaks and see if they help.
Avoid certain foods. To find what triggers your acid reflux, Mohan recommends keeping a food journal that includes what you eat and any symptoms that flare up afterwards. You may notice fried and fatty foods in particular cause trouble. There are chemical components in these foods that can affect receptors in the lower sphincter muscle, causing it to relax, Mohan says. Whats more, she says, because foods with greater fat content can take longer to digest, they may sit in your stomach longer. And the longer that food stays there, the more likely it is to be refluxed back into your esophagus.
Another potential trigger? Carbonated beverages, which can cause acid reflux by expanding our stomach, Pichetshote says: When we distend our stomach, it can cause a relaxation or lowering of the lower esophageal pressure.
Doctors Dont Recommend Alkaline Water
Heartburn is caused by a flow of stomach acid backward into the esophagus, and drinking an alkaline solution may neutralize that fluid for a few minutes, according to Dr. Dellon. But it wont solve the underlying problem of why that acids there in the first place.
Its no different than taking a Tums or drinking a lot of milkwhich some people with reflux like to do because milk is also slightly alkaline, he says.
Drinking regular water may provide some relief, as well: It will raise the pH of your stomach, dilute the acid, and clear out the esophagusso theres lots of good reasons to drink water in general, and to stay hydrated, Dr. Dellon adds.
Patricia Raymond, MD, a physician in Norfolk, Virginia, and fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, says her patients ask her about the alkaline diet and alkaline water as alternative treatments for reflux, but she doesnt recommend either.
I do support complementary medicine when we know that it can actually help, she explains. But the medical opinion is really lacking on alkaline water. Were not excited about it as a potential treatment.
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Will I Need Surgery
You wont need it if you have ordinary heartburn. Its rare, but you may need an operation if:
- Other treatments havent helped.
- The muscle that controls the valve at the top of your stomach doesnt work properly.
- You have cancer in your esophagus. Keep in mind that trouble swallowing, and not heartburn or GERD, is the most common symptom of this type of cancer.
How Heart Palpitations Are Diagnosed
Heart palpitations are diagnosed using a device called an electrocardiogram.
An electrocardiogram is used to measure the electrical system of the heart and can provide insight into palpitations. Sometimes a wearable device is used to record your heart rhythm for several days to better understand your hearts conduction system.
Your primary care doctor or a doctor who specializes in heart disease can evaluate you if you have significant heart palpitations.
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What Is The Treatment For Heartburn
The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a stepwise fashion. For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications may be enough. The next step is nonprescription antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids. Other treatments include acid blockers and even surgery. In most cases, one or more of these treatments provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into a more serious disease.
I take nonprescription antacids for heartburn, but they dont seem to help.
Nonprescription antacids are only part of the treatment for heartburn. They can work very well, but these antacids alone usually cant stop heartburn. A health care professional will probably recommend that the patient make lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments.
What kind of lifestyle changes and remedies can I make to reduce heartburn?
Try any or all of the following:
Will these changes stop the heartburn?
They may. If they dont, adding a nonprescription antacid can be helpful.
How do antacids work?
What if lifestyle changes and antacids dont work?
If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 blockers, or acid blockers. These drugs block the biochemical process that creates acid in the stomach.
What are acid blockers?
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Indigestion And Heartburn In Pregnancy
Many women experience indigestion and heartburn while they are pregnant, which can be painful or uncomfortable. There are ways to help avoid or treat indigestion and heartburn, especially if it is mild. Sometimes the feeling of heartburn can be confused with a more serious condition called pre-eclampsia.
Indigestion, also called ‘dyspepsia’, is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the stomach . This mostly occurs after eating or drinking but can happen some time after.
If you have indigestion in the early stage of your pregnancy, this may be caused by changes in your hormone levels. In the second or third trimester, indigestion becomes more common and may be caused by your baby pushing up against your stomach. As many as 8 in 10 women may have indigestion during their pregnancy.
Symptoms of indigestion may include:
- reflux or regurgitation
- feeling heavy, bloated or full
- feeling sick
Heartburn is a burning pain in the throat or chest, behind the breastbone, caused by stomach acid coming up the oesophagus and irritating the lining.
In pregnant women, indigestion and heartburn can be caused by:
- eating a big meal
- drinking fruit juice or caffeinated beverages
- doing physical activity soon after eating
- bending over
- feeling anxious
It’s a good idea to take note of the particular foods, drinks or activities that give you indigestion while you are pregnant.
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How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
Administer Apple Cider Vinegar
While you have acid boiling and burning in your stomach and esophagus, it might seem counter-productive to add more acid to your already struggling system, but apple cider vinegar can make you feel so much better.
Sometimes acid reflux can be caused by a lack of acid or lowered amounts of acid in your system. Adding a bit of acidic apple cider vinegar can stop these problems before they occur.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar with the water and drink before a meal.
- You can repeat before each meal or even 3-4 times throughout the day.
Notes: If you notice that your acid reflux is worsening, discontinue this home remedy.
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Baking Soda And Water For Heartburn
Baking soda is highly effective in helping mitigate acid reflux or heartburn. Baking soda is a base with a ph level of 7, which helps neutralize stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus. A mixture of baking soda and water works as an alkaline. When the mixture is swallowed, it temporarily cuts down the acid to work as a natural antacid. The popular Alka-Seltzer is an example of a commercial antacid that contains sodium bicarbonate.
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:
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