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What Does Having Constant Heartburn Mean

Does Heartburn During Pregnancy Mean My Baby Will Be Born With Hair

What is GERD?

Suffering from severe heartburn? You may want to stock up on baby shampoo. Research has backed up the superstition that, on average, the more heartburn you have during pregnancy, the more likely your baby will be born with a full head of hair.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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.

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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    If Your Heartburn Lasts Longer Than Two Weeks

    Occasional heartburn may not require a visit to the doctor, but if you have heartburn that occurs several times a week, for more than two weeks, then its time to go to the doctor. For most people, the symptom can be controlled with either over-the-counter or prescription medications. However, in rare instances, that constant heartburn can indicate a far more serious condition. Because heartburn damages the esophagus tissue, you may be at risk for a precancerous condition known as Barretts esophagus. That, in turn, puts a person at risk for esophageal cancer, which is the fastest-growing in the United States . To determine the extent of esophageal damage, a doctor will perform an endoscopy, in which a tube is slid down the throat to the esophagus. In some cases, surgery to reinforce the esophageal sphincter may be recommended, so if you suffer from heartburn very frequently, consult your doctor.

    Indigestion And Heartburn In Pregnancy

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    3-minute read

    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:

    • heartburn
    • reflux or regurgitation
    • burping
    • feeling heavy, bloated or full
    • feeling sick
    • vomiting

    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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    What Kinds Of Complications Are Caused By Frequent Heartburn

    • Excess stomach acid in the esophagus can cause ulcers, damage to the inner layers of the esophageal wall, and narrowing .
    • Very rarely, the esophagus may bleed or tear completely because it is so damaged. In severe cases, a person may vomit blood or have small amounts of blood in bowel movements, found only on testing the stool.
    • Regurgitated stomach acid can damage the respiratory tract, causing asthma, hoarseness, chronic cough, sore throat, or tooth damage . A person may feel as if he or she has a lump in the throat.
    • If the acid exposure continues for long periods of time, the esophagus becomes thick and damaged. A person may then have difficulty swallowing and food becomes stuck.

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    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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    What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn

    There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .

    Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.

    Quit smoking: Smoking interferes with the proper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter.

    Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.

    Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.

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    Check If You Have Acid Reflux

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    The main symptoms of acid reflux are:

    • heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
    • an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid

    You may also have:

    • a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
    • a hoarse voice

    Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

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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.

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    What Can Trigger Heartburn

    Heartburn can be triggered by many different things that are a part of your daily life. For many people, heartburn can be caused by certain eating and lifestyle habits. These habits can involve things like eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime or even having high stress levels.

    Certain foods and drinks can also trigger heartburn for some people. Some foods and drinks that could trigger your heartburn can include:

    • Onions.
    • Caffeinated beverages.
    • Carbonated beverages.

    Your lifestyle habits can also play a part in why you might experience heartburn. These everyday factors often contribute to medical conditions that cause heartburn, like GERD or hiatal hernia. Some lifestyle habits that can trigger your heartburn include:

    • Being overweight.
    • Having a high stress level.
    • Wearing tight clothes and belts.

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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.

    How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack

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    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.

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    What Does It Mean When You Have Heartburn

    The term heartburn can be misleading at times as it has nothing to do with the heart, even though it contains the word heart. The symptoms of heartburn may appear to be like the symptoms of heart diseases. It is also referred as acid indigestion. Chronic or regular long lasting heartburn takes the form of gastro esophageal reflux disease .

    Childhood Heartburn A Warning Sign For Your Childs Future Health

    It goes without saying that no one wants their child to have heartburn. But I believe the most important aspect of this problem is that a child with heartburn is a child that is progressing towards more serious illnesses in early adulthood.

    High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian disease, gout, obesity, sleep apnea and all triggered by excessive carbohydrates consumption. These are all illnesses associated with insulin resistance a disorder known to be triggered by excess carbohydrate consumption. Coincidentally, these conditions are becoming increasingly more common in young adults.

    Your childs lifelong eating habits and taste preferences are formed when they are young. If your child has heartburn, they are on the fast track to develop these other illnesses as well.

    It is imperative you change their eating habits by controlling the foods that come into the house, their choices when eating out and the foods they eat at school. You must take charge because no one else is looking out for them.

    Its not too late to change their future. Start today by pledging not to bring any more soda, juices, chips, cookies, fruit rollups, donuts or ice cream into the house. These should be foods that are eaten only infrequently. Save them for the rare celebration.

    Your kids dont NEED these foods. Sure they will gripe and complain. But in time, they will adapt and in the process, you will literally save their life in adulthood.

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    When Gerd Progresses To Esophageal Cancer

    GERD develops when acid that digests food in the stomach washes up into the esophagus. Often it occurs in people who overeat or who lie down too soon after eating. It may also be caused by defects in the valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach or by a condition called hiatal hernia, which is when the upper part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm and into the chest.

    After someone has had GERD for many years, it can advance to a condition called Barretts esophagus. Barretts is a defensive mechanism of your esophagus, Dr. Molena explains. When the esophagus is bathed in acid all the time, it wants to protect itself, and so the cells in the lining begin to change. These changes can advance to become cancer.

    When patients develop Barretts esophagus, their GERD symptoms often disappear. Its typical for patients with esophageal cancer to tell me that they suffered from GERD for years, but then it went away and they stopped taking their GERD medications, which would have actually reduced their cancer risk, Dr. Molena says.

    Not everyone with GERD has the typical symptoms, which are heartburn and regurgitation soon after eating. Up to 20% may have different symptoms, such as coughing or chest pain, a sore throat or hoarse voice, or even frequent sinus infections. Its important to talk to your doctor about any of these.

    Heartburn Or Heart Attack

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    Symptoms of severe heartburn and those of a heart attack can often overlap, but you can usually tell you have heartburn if you experience a burning sensation in your upper abdomen and chest, accompanied by a sour taste in your mouth. The most common and similar symptom of heartburn and a heart attack is the chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms that may be a more likely indication of heart attack are listed below:

    • Cold sweat
    • Sudden lightheadedness
    • Pressure or pain in your chest, arms, neck, jaw or back

    With heartburn, you may feel like food is coming up into your mouth. Its a different sensation than vomiting, but severe heartburn can also cause you to vomit. If youre not sure if youre experiencing heartburn or a heart attack, seek immediate medical care.

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    If I Have Heartburn Should I See My Health Care Professional

    That depends. If a person has heartburn more than three times a week for at least two weeks, he or she should see a health care professional. On the other hand, if a person only has occasional bouts of heartburn, he or she may find that taking nonprescription antacids and making some simple changes in lifestyle can resolve the heartburn. If these measures do not help, then a visit to a health care professional is warranted.

    If a person has any of these symptoms, with or without heartburn, call a doctor or go to a hospital emergency department right away:

    • Throwing up blood or passing blood in bowel movements
    • Severe pain, dizziness, or lightheadedness
    • Difficulty swallowing

    With proper understanding of the condition and treatment, relief can be attained.

    When I have chest pain, how can I tell whether it is my heart or just heartburn?

    Sometimes a person can’t tell the difference. Just like chest pain from the heart, heartburn sometimes spreads from the chest to the jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. If a person has chest pain for any reason, seek medical care immediately.

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    Cdhf Talks: Gerd And Barretts Esophagus

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the result of a disordered valve mechanism between the esophagus and the stomach. The valve, or lower esophageal sphincter , opens during swallowing to allow food to enter the stomach and then closes to prevent food and stomach secretions from moving backward into the esophagus. When the LES fails to close correctly, the stomach contentswhich are acidic and contain digestive secretionscan flow back into the esophagus. This reverse flow of food, acids and the digestive enzyme pepsin, can cause damage to the esophageal lining and resulting heartburn. When diagnosis and treatment are delayed, chronic GERD can increase the risk for serious health complications, including Barretts esophagus and esophageal cancer. Barretts esophagus describes a condition where the cells lining the lower esophagus change. The esophagus is the swallowing tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

    In this series of videos, Dr. Jeff Mosko and Dr. Gail Darling go over all things GERD, its relationship to Barretts esophagus, the benefits of getting screened early, what are some of the treatment options, and advocating for your own health! Watch the full version or skip to each section to find the answers you are looking for.

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    What Causes Acid Reflux

    Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.

    Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.

    Factors that can lead to this include:

    • Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
    • Particular types of food and eating habits.
    • Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
    • A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.

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