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What Does It Feel Like When You Have Heartburn

Treatments For Acid Reflux

4 Things To Avoid If You Have Heartburn

Your doctor may recommend treating milder forms of acid reflux through a combination of lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. If you are diagnosed with GERD, the doctor may write you a prescription to help with the symptoms.

If lifestyle changes and medication fail to provide relief, a physician might recommend that you have surgery for acid reflux. Available surgical options for treating the condition include:

  • Fundoplication– A minimally invasive procedure that involves wrapping the area around your lower esophageal sphincter to tighten that muscle, preventing reflux.
  • LINX device – Your surgeon wraps a ring of small magnetic beads around the place where your stomach and esophagus meet. The magnetized beads’ strength keeps that juncture closed but still allows food to pass to your stomach.

Heartburn Symptoms Vs Heart Attack

The symptoms of heartburn and heart attack are often confused17,but they are very different conditions. Its important to learn the difference and know when to seek medical help.

Signs Of A Heartburn

Signs of heartburn include a burning pain in your chest that rises toward your throat, burning pain that worsens when you bend over or lie down, or an unpleasant, acidic taste in your mouth and even bad breath3.

Signs Of A Heart Attack

Signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, the neck, the jaw or the stomach, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea or lightheadedness.

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

If your heartburn seems worse or different than usual, seek medical attention immediately if you experience chest discomfort, have heart disease or diabetes, smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol. Do not wait. Call 911 immediately for emergency medical help.18

What To Do If Youre Experiencing A Heartburn

When in doubt about acid reflux, it is always better to be cautious and get it checked out at The Emergency Center, which has the tools and experts needed to determine the right diagnosis and start treatment.

The Emergency Center has diagnostic capabilities like ECG and advanced CT imaging to diagnose or rule out heart attack. Additionally, with an onsite lab and pharmacy, patients can find answers without the wait and get needed prescriptions before leaving. Whether it ends up being just a bad case of heartburn or something more serious, going to get evaluated is the first step in finding both care and something equally as important: peace of mind.

Enjoy life. Well be here for the bumps along the way.

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Is It A Heart Attack

Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart muscles becomes completely blocked. If a person does not receive immediate treatment, part of the heart muscle can die.

A common symptom of a heart attack is pain or discomfort that typically occurs in the center or left side of the chest. This pain may come and go, and its severity can range from mild to severe. It can also sometimes feel like heartburn or indigestion.

However, not everyone who has a heart attack experiences chest pain. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary considerably from person to person, and they may come on slowly or very suddenly.

Other symptoms of a heart attack might

  • fatigue
  • breaking out in a cold sweat

Anyone who suspects that they or someone else is having a heart attack should immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room.

When trying to distinguish between cardiac and noncardiac chest pain, a person needs to consider the following three factors:

  • the location of the pain
  • how the pain feels

We discuss each of these in more detail below:

Learn How To Identify The Symptoms

Heartburn The Facts Ph

Although different things may trigger heartburn, most people experience similar heartburn symptoms. Knowing what heartburn feels like and recognizing the symptoms you experience sooner can lead to earlier treatmentand relief.

The most common symptom of heartburn is often described as an uncomfortable or painful “burning” sensation in the chest.1 You may also experience pressure or pain just behind the breastbone. The pain may worsen when lying down or bending over, and it can last minutes or continue for a few hours.

Other common symptoms include the feeling that food is sticking in your chest or throat, a sour or acid taste in the back of your throat, discomfort that gets worse after eating, as well as burping and/or bloating.2

There are more uncommon heartburn symptoms you may not know: persistent hiccups, pain that radiates to your neck and shoulders, and finding it difficult or painful to swallow.2 Although rare, cold sweat, shortness of breath, light-headedness or dizziness may accompany heartburn. If these symptoms occur, you should discuss them with your doctor right away to determine the heartburn treatment options available to you, and to ensure you do not have a more serious condition.

Because heartburn symptoms are felt in a similar area, some people can confuse the pain of heartburn with a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether you’re suffering from heartburn or having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.

References

Also Check: What Can I Take For Heartburn While Pregnant Besides Tums

What Does Heartburn Feel Like Learn To Identify The Symptoms

Experts say that heartburn is an extremely common experience. Every month, over 60 million Americans have to deal with heartburn. Almost everyone will experience it at some point.

Despite all that, heartburn is frequently misunderstood. For example, some people assume that this is a cardiac problem. Many believe heartburn is a medical condition on its own.

When you experience acid reflux, your stomach acid reaches your esophagus and irritates it. The sensation that usually comes with acid reflux is called heartburn. Its rare but possible to have acid reflux without experiencing this consequence.

In other words, heartburn is actually a group of interrelated symptoms rather than a condition. Its caused by acid reflux.

So, what does heartburn feel like and is it dangerous? What should you do about it? Lets look into some questions people tend to have about these symptoms.

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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When To See A Doctor

If OTC medications arent treating your heartburn, talk to your doctor.

In rare instances when you cant manage heartburn with medications, a doctor may recommend surgery to reduce the risk that acid will reflux up from the stomach.

If you cant tolerate OTC medications for heartburn, your doctor can recommend other options.

What Is Acid Reflux

Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD-Mayo Clinic

Acid reflux is a condition where acid from your stomach ends up flowing back up into your esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach and throat. Many people experience an occasional bout of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a disorder where people experience some form of acid reflux at least once or twice per week.

GERD can develop in people of all ages. The following factors and conditions can also increase your chances of experiencing some form of acid reflux, including GERD:

  • Those who may be carrying extra weight
  • People who smoke regularly or people frequently exposed to second-hand smoke
  • People taking medications that cause acid reflux as a side effect
  • Individuals with a connective tissue disorder
  • People who experience delays in emptying their stomach

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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.

What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn describes a feeling of burning, pain, or discomfort in the chest that can be quite uncomfortable. You also may a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth, and it usually occurs after you eat a big meal or when you lay down.

Not everyone with GERD will experience heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux include regurgitation of acid into the throat or mouth, a bitter taste in the mouth, upset stomach, belching, nausea after eating, feeling full, stomach and upper abdomen bloating, dry cough, wheezing, hoarseness, feeling of tightness in the throat, and in some people, vomiting.

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Causes Of Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Lots of people get heartburn from time to time. There’s often no obvious reason why.

Sometimes it’s caused or made worse by:

  • certain food and drink such as coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
  • being overweight
  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers
  • a hiatus hernia when part of your stomach moves up into your chest

Most Common Symptoms Of Heartburn

Causes and Treatments of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn, or acid reflux, develops when stomach acid washes up into your esophagus , causing a burning sensation in your chest and/or throat. About a third of people have heartburn, and 10% suffer from it every day. Read on to find out what heartburn feels like, what the most common heartburn symptoms are, and what to do if you have heartburn signs.

Also Check: Will Tums Help With Heartburn

Chest Pain: Its Not Always A Matter Of The Heart

There are plenty of other potential suspects when it comes to chest pain.

Mild or severe discomfort in the middle or left side of the chest that feels like fullness, pressure or squeezing could be a potential sign of a cardiovascular event.Most people experience chest pain at some point, but how do you know if it is a heart attack or simply heartburn or anxiety?

Understanding the differences between cardiovascular events and other causes of chest pain can save you a trip to the emergency room. It is also important because the discomfort could be caused by other urgent conditions, as well as less serious issues that may point to a chronic medical problem.

When it comes to cardiovascular causes of chest pain, UAB Medicinecardiologist Gregory Chapman, M.D., says the usual suspects include coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, and heart valve or rhythm disorders. But there are plenty of other potential suspects. Chapman included a chapter on chest pain diagnosis in his book A Strong and Steady Pulse: Cardiac Stories, which is scheduled for publication in 2021.

Take symptoms seriously

In the United States, nearly 6 percent of emergency room patients report chest pain. More than half of those cases involve non-cardiac chest pain, or NCCP, that is caused by heartburn, anxiety or other issues. A staggering 80 percent of patients who complain of chest pain during primary care visits are simply experiencing NCCP.

Gregory Chapman, M.D.Mimicking a heart attack

What Causes Indigestion

A lot of factors can cause indigestion. These include:

  • Eating certain foods, such as those that are spicy and fatty, and those with lots of acid or fiber
  • Eating too late in the day
  • Drinking alcohol or too much caffeine
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Not sleeping

Problems in your GI tract or other health issues also can cause indigestion. These include:

  • Acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux , or gastroesophageal reflux disease : This is when your food and drink comes back up from your stomach after eating or drinking. Its in the form of acid and can come into your esophagus, the tube-like organ connecting your mouth and stomach. Acid reflux also can produce vomiting. This condition also may cause heartburn.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome: This disorder affects your intestines. Symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
  • Infection: A bacterial infection from Helicobacter pylori can cause indigestion.
  • Gastroparesis: This condition affects digestion. If muscles in your GI tract stop working, your body slows down or stops the movement of food. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating, and acid reflux.
  • Ulcer: This is a sore on the lining of your stomach , small intestine, or esophagus.
  • Gastritis: This is inflammation of your stomach lining.
  • Stomach cancer: This is a rare condition, but indigestion can be one of its signs.

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Location Of Chest Pain

Both cardiac and noncardiac chest pain can occur in the center of the chest behind the breastbone.

However, cardiac chest pain can spread across the chest and even affect other parts of the body, such as the:

  • arms
  • aching
  • burning

In contrast, noncardiac chest pain tends to feel like an intense stabbing or burning sensation just beneath the surface of the skin.

Coughing, breathing, or moving can affect the intensity of noncardiac chest pain, while the severity of cardiac chest pain usually remains stable, even when resting.

Preparing For Your Appointment

What does indigestion feel like? What are the symptoms of functional dyspepsia?

To prepare for your appointment, see the topicMaking the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your main symptoms? Report any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, or vomiting.
  • How long have you had heartburn?
  • Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated? How did you respond to that treatment?
  • Have you had any signs of bleeding from your digestive system?
  • Have you had any difficulty swallowing when you eat or drink?
  • How much tobacco do you use? How much alcohol do you drink? How much caffeine do you drink?
  • Has your weight increased or decreased more than 5 lb recently?
  • Have there been any changes in your diet? Are you eating certain foods more often?
  • Have there been changes in your daily schedule, such as when you eat and when you go to bed?
  • Are you taking any nonprescription or prescription medicines? Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to your appointment.
  • What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help? Be sure to include lifestyle changes you have made.
  • What nonprescription medicines have you taken or used to treat your heartburn? Did they help?
  • Do you have any health risks?

Remember to take your heartburn symptom record to your doctor visit. Be sure to note any lifestyle changes you have made or nonprescription medicines you use.

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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.

About Heart And Vascular Institute

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.

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Treatment What Can You Do About It

If your heartburn is fleeting and happens rarely, you dont need to do anything about it. Its a brief discomfort thats easy to ignore.

But in cases of persistent or long-lasting heartburn, lifestyle changes are a good idea. It helps to lose weight and to give up smoking and drinking. Some people go on heartburn diets, which means keeping away from acidic foods.

You can also opt for antacids and other over-the-counter medication. For people who experience heartburn during the night, it helps to elevate the head of the bed.

Do you ever need to turn to a doctor?

If your heartburn persists after youve initiated lifestyle changes, its a good idea to seek medical help. Your doctor might be able to prescribe the latest antacids that are not yet available OTC or better home treatment options.

Very frequent heartburn may be a sign of chronic acid reflux . This can be dangerous, as it can cause permanent changes in your esophagus. If this is the case for you, you will need serious medical help. The complications of acid reflux are treated via surgery.

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