Difficulty Swallowing And Sore Throat
If stomach acids go all the way up your esophagus, they can reach the back of your throat. This condition is called laryngopharyngeal reflux . Besides heartburn, you might feel symptoms like a in your throat or a . You may constantly need to clear your throat or have trouble swallowing. Lifestyle changes can usually correct LPR. Try eating a bland diet and stop eating three hours before bed. If you are overweight, losing weight may help relieve pressure on your stomach. Also skip caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.
A Digestive Problem That Affects Roughly 18 Percent Of The Us Population
More than 60 million people in the United States experience heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology .
The group also notes that according to some studies, over 15 million Americans have heartburn symptoms every single day.
Heartburn is more common in older people and pregnant women.
In fact, between 17 and 45 percent of pregnant women report episodes of heartburn, according to a study published in September 2015 in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.
Harvard Medical School notes that according to one survey, 65 percent of people with heartburn experience symptoms both during the day and at night.
Among those who report nighttime symptoms, 75 percent experience trouble sleeping as a result, and 40 percent say that it affects their job performance the next day.
While both occasional and frequent heartburn commonly cause discomfort, only about 6 percent of the population has heartburn that causes ongoing functional problems, according to the ACG.
What To Do If You Have Chest Pain
If youre having chest pain that you think could be a heart attack, dont drive yourself to the emergency room. Always call 911 or local emergency services so you can get medical attention as quickly as possible.
The more time the heart goes without proper blood flow, the more damage the heart muscle may undergo. This is why its not a good idea to wait or hesitate if you think you may be experiencing a heart attack.
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Are There Any Tests For Heartburn
If it is obvious from the symptoms that a person has heartburn, no tests or exams may be necessary. Advice in regard to lifestyle modifications, diet, or medications may begin immediately.
If your health care professional is not sure about the diagnosis, or if he or she is concerned about damage done by chronic heartburn, tests may be ordered. This is true especially if the patient has already been prescribed medications that are not relieving the heartburn.
There is no simple blood test for heartburn. The tests used to diagnose heartburn include the following:
Treatment Options For Heartburn
FDA identifies three classes of OTC medications for treating occasional heartburn. These include:
- Antacids. These medications help neutralize stomach acid. They can provide quick relief of heartburn symptoms. Common antacids are:
Although these medications can be helpful, they may have side effects, according to the NIDDK . Antacids can cause constipation or diarrhea. PPIs may cause headache, diarrhea, or upset stomach. Talk with your doctor about any medications youre already taking to see if youre at risk for any drug interactions.
If OTC medications do not relieve your symptoms, your doctor may be able to prescribe stronger versions of these medications.
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So What Foods Should You Eat
Apart from avoiding those foods that set off your heartburn , a diet that contains lots of fiber, legumes, and vegetables, as well as olive oil and other components of Mediterranean-style diets, seems to be protective against GERD and heartburn, Brown says.
Substituting water for carbonated beverages like soda also seems to be helpful, Dardarian says.
The article Its Not Food Causing Your HeartburnHere Are The 5 Real Culprits was originally published on Prevention.com
Dangers Of Frequent Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when stomach juices backflow up into the esophagusthe food pipe to your stomach. Most people experience heartburn some time in their life others experience regularly. If you’re having frequent heartburn, talk to your doctor. Heartburn can cause serious problems and it may be a symptom of a more serious condition called gastrointestinal reflux disease also known as acid reflux. Here are several reasons not to ignore your heartburn.
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How Is Heartburn Treated
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.
Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
It is helpful for some individuals who have constant heartburn to avoid certain foods that may trigger their symptoms.
Foods that are associated with heartburn include:
- Fried and fatty foods
- Foods high in citric acids, such as oranges or lemons
It may be helpful to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than infrequent large meals.
If you suffer from acid reflux, it may be helpful to elevate your upper body at night while sleeping.
Take A Proactive Approach
Thats why, if you have had heartburn or acid reflux consistently for longer than three years, you should have an endoscopy, says Brown. An endoscopy is a simple procedure where a specially designed scope is used to examine the esophagus and take tissue samples, when necessary.
The tissue samples or biopsies are examined to look for any abnormal cell growth, Brown explains. The hope is that well be able to catch any abnormal cells before they become cancerous.
Patients who are diagnosed with Barretts typically undergo repeat endoscopies one year and three years later. If precancerous cells are seen at that point, treatment may involve surgical removal of the esophagus to prevent eventual progression to cancer.
But a technique available at Rush, the HALO Ablation System, enables doctors to use radiofrequency ablation to remove Barretts tissue completely, without invasive surgery and with relatively few complications.
HALO ablation has shown to be an effective alternative to surgery in select patients, says Brown. However, the good news is that most patients with Barretts will never progress to the point that they require this level of intervention.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
You should see a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and for proper treatment if:
- You have constant heartburn that won’t subside
- Your symptoms of heartburn are becoming more severe or frequent
- You have taken an over-the-counter PPI for the recommended two weeks and your symptoms return
- You experience vomiting or difficulty swallowing with your heartburn
- You have hoarseness or wheezing
- You experience unexpected weight loss
You should seek care immediately if you vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds . You should also seek care immediately if you notice blood in your stools or have black or tar-like stools .
If your vomiting is large, green, yellow, or forceful, you should seek care urgently by going to an emergency room.
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Dont Lie Flat When You Sleep
When you lie flat your stomach contents press against the LES. Keeping your head higher than your stomach helps reduce this pressure.
You can elevate your head in a couple of ways:
- Place bricks, blocks, or something sturdy and secure under the legs at the head of your bed.
- Use a wedge-shaped GERD pillow under your head and shoulders.
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
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High Bmi Is Linked To Heartburn
Carrying excess weight slows foods course though your digestive system, creates more pressure within your abdomen, and loosens the sphincter muscle that keeps your stomach contents out of your esophagus, concludes a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine.
All of those may explain the link between heartburn and a high BMI, the study authors say.
Reduction in weight through lifestyle modifications such as meeting with a registered dietitian, eating less, and moving more may be the best solutions to reduce the pain, Dardarian says.
What Exactly Is Heartburn Anyway
Heartburnor gastroesophageal reflux or acid refluxis a painful burning feeling in your chest or your throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine .
Basically, heartburn happens when your esophagus relaxes too much and stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . It can be managed by making changes to your diet, like cutting back on coffee and alcohol, or through medications.
Having heartburn every once in a while, like after a spicy meal or taking a nap too soon after eating, is normal but if it occurs more than twice a week for more than a few weeks, it’s time to see a doctorin that case, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic, sometimes damaging form of heartburn.
But GERD isn’t the only issue that is related to heartburn. Many other conditionssome even life-threateningcan mimic the feeling of heartburn. Here, nine other conditions that heartburn could be masquerading asand when to see your doctor about it.
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Symptoms Can Last Up To Several Hours After Onset
Heartburn involves a burning, painful sensation behind your breastbone in the center of your chest.
This pain often gets worse after you eat, in the evening, when you bend over, or when you lie down.
Episodes of heartburn can last between a few minutes and several hours.
In addition to burning sensations in your chest, heartburn may also involve:
- A burning sensation in your throat
- Fluid in your throat that tastes bitter, sour, or salty
- Difficulty swallowing
- A sense that food is stuck in your chest or lower throat
Heartburn often begins after youve eaten a large meal, but it can also be triggered by certain foods even if you dont eat very much.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.
They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.
It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.
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Chocolate Can Cause Everyday Heartburn
Your sweet tooth aint gonna like this, but chocolate may also trigger heartburn attacks.
Again, the problem lies in LES relaxation and subsequent acid reflux.
Eating chocolate boosts your serotonin level, making you feel happy and relaxed.
Unfortunately, the same goes for your LES, which has different types of
And you know the drill: relaxed LES => acid reflux => heartburn
Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate may contribute to LES relaxation, too.
What Are My Options If These Treatments Don’t Work
If a person continues to have heartburn, a health care professional may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide . This drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.
If a person still have symptoms, a health care professional will then recommend one of the drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole , lansoprazole , esomeprazole , rabeprazole , and pantoprazole . These tablets prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped. They may have to be used indefinitely.
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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.
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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What Are Gerd Symptoms
Obviously, heartburn is the main symptom, and its generally worse at night. Not sure if you have GERD? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my heartburn make it difficult to sleep?
- Do I have swallowing problems?
- Do I sometimes spit up food or sour liquid?
- Do I feel a lump in my throat?
- Have I had a chronic cough or laryngitis with my heartburn?
- Do I have chest pain?
Wed like to take a minute to elaborate on one of those symptoms: chest pain. You should always seek immediate medical care if you have chest pain, especially if its accompanied by jaw pain, shortness of breath or arm pain. These could be signs of a heart attack.
Your Stomach Is Cramping And You Feel Nauseous
Stomach pain and nausea are another relatively common side effect of omeprazole, Ravella says. This can be frustrating since the whole point of taking the meds is to help you eat with less pain, and if omeprazole is making your stomach hurt, youre just ruining your meal in a different way.
One possible remedy is to try taking the pill just before your meal instead of first thing in the morning, according to the Mayo Clinic. If the pain is so much that its interfering with your ability to eat, then call your doctor right away.
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Signs Of Deficient Stomach Acid
- Gas, bloating and burping shortly after a meal
- Feeling of fullness or food not digesting
- Heartburn and/or gastric reflux
- Bad breath
- Loose stools in the early morning
- Food allergies
- Dialated blood vessels on the cheeks and nose – Rosacea
- Pernicious anemia or iron deficiency
- Anal Itching
- Nausea especially after taking vitamins and minerals
- Weak or cracked nails
- Parasites – or at least increased susceptibility to parasitic infections
- Chronic yeast infections
- Acne in adults – especially if you have other symptoms from the list
Since low levels of stomach acid result in poor absorption of nutrients, many symptoms that accompany a deficiency of that vitamin or mineral makes this list much longer. The nutrients most affected are calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin K and many B vitamins.
If you’re nervous about trying supplemental hydrochloric acid, you can do a trial with 1-2 TBSP of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water after a meal. If it makes you feel better and does not hurt, you most likely would benefit from taking 300 – 500 mg of Betaine HCl with your meals. Start slowly and work up to this.
If you are afraid of HCl, you can take a dropperful of Gallbladder Bitters with your meals which stimulates digestive juices including both HCl and bile. To curb sugar cravings, take the bitters after your meal as well.
Other Causes Of Morning Heartburn
Although GERD is a common reason for heartburn in the morning, there are other reasons that someone can experience heartburn during this time. Some factors include your activities the night before and lifestyle habits. Other factors include:
- Having a high stress level
- Hiatal hernia
- Wearing tight clothes and belts
- Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus
- Alcoholic beverages
Your healthcare provider can help you create a list of foods to remove and incorporate into your diet that will help treat your GERD symptoms. It is important to work with your healthcare provider, continuing to take your medicineif prescribedand following a plan that will help you have the best outcome regarding your condition.
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What Are The Complications Associated With Heartburn
Occasional heartburn isnt typically a cause for concern. However, frequent heartburn may be a symptom of GERD. This condition may require treatment with prescription medication or surgery.
If left untreated, GERD may lead to additional health problems, such as an inflammation of the esophagus, which is called esophagitis, or Barretts esophagus, according to a 2018 review . Barretts esophagus causes changes in the lining of the esophagus that can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Long-term heartburn can also affect your quality of life. See your doctor to determine a course of treatment if you find it difficult to carry on your daily life or are severely limited in your activities due to heartburn.