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
Adopt New Bedroom Habits
Do you have trouble sleeping at night due to heartburn? If so, try sleeping on your left side this position seems to help. Experts also recommend keeping your upper body elevated to make it harder for acids to flow up the esophagus. Raise the head of your bed or use a thick wedge-shaped body pillow when sleeping to keep heartburn at bay.7
* Onset of acid neutralization does not imply the onset of symptom relief.
Use Fennel And Its Seeds For Heartburn Cure
Fennel has a pH of 6.9 and thus is included in effective foods for heartburn relief. In fact, this herb is good not only for heartburn but many other diseases or conditions related to stomach problems such as indigestion, constipation, flatulence and bloating. Fennel has a volatile oil made up of such components as fenchone, trans-anethole, limonene and a-pinene. All these substances have a carminative effect that provides soothing relief to your stomach and prevents all kinds of digestive disorders including heartburn. The crunchy vegetables as well as the seeds of fennel, both are effective for heartburn.
Ways to Use Fennel for Heartburn
Also Check: What Are The Best Foods To Eat For Heartburn
Should I Ignore Heartburn
Heartburn may seem like a mild nuisance rather than something to be worried about but, if you’re over 50 years and have been experiencing acid reflux for some time or feel the need to keep using over-the-counter antacid tablets, it’s worth getting it checked out.
Cumming warns: “Heartburn can be a sign of an underlying health complaint such as a gastric ulcer or oesophageal cancer and shouldn’t be ignored, especially in older people. Suffering in silence when you have long-term heartburn symptoms could lead to potentially serious conditions being diagnosed later, when they are more advanced with complications, and are harder to treat.”
Watch What You Eat Drink And Do
Making some changes to your lifestyle can go a long way toward easing the pain of heartburn.
Say goodbye to cigarettes. Smoking causes your body to make less saliva, a liquid that helps stamp out stomach acid. That can lead to burning in your esophagus. Tobacco may also cause your stomach to make more acid and relax the muscles at the lower end of your esophagus that can shut down the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. Chewing gum and sucking on lozenges can help you make more saliva.
Donât lie down after you eat. If you need an afternoon siesta, snooze upright in a chair. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed, and donât make the last meal of the day your biggest one.
Raise the head of your bed. If the top of your bed is higher than the bottom, itâs harder for the acid to travel up. You can do this with a block of wood under the bed or a foam wedge under the mattress.
Be careful what medications you use. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other medications, such as some sedatives and blood pressure drugs, can trigger heartburn. Ask your doctor if any of your medications might be causing your symptoms. There may be something else you can take.
Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing, including belts, can cause stomach contents to push upward.
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When To Seek Care For Heartburn
Dont ignore heartburn. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and increase your risk of cancer. Sometimes natural remedies and over-the-counter medications are not enough to reduce your symptoms of heartburn, and prescription medications may be necessary.
- An Everyday Online visit is a convenient option for diagnosis and treatment of heartburn, as well as to help determine if your heartburn symptoms point to acid reflux or GERD .
- Schedule a virtual visit with a general practice doctor if lifestyle changes and medicines are not helping, if you have heartburn three to four times per week, or if you have other symptoms such as food getting stuck in your throat, vomiting or unintentional weight loss.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, dark-colored vomit, black stools, persistent vomiting, or feel like you are choking, seek care in the Emergency Room right away.
Bring Lifestyle Changes To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Wrong eating habits and certain other habits make it difficult for your body to digest food properly. There are some other lifestyle habits that lead to heartburn and you need to change them. Here is a list of such lifestyle changes that you must adopt if you want to get rid of heartburn.
Read Also: How To Not Get Heartburn
Melon For Heartburn Relief
Melon has a pH of 6.1 and therefore it can be counted as one of the good foods for heartburn. Some people, however, may not respond well to melon and need to avoid it. So you can have some melon pieces every day or make a smoothie with melon and other ingredients that are also good to cure heartburn. Here is one recipe for a melon smoothie that also uses almond milk, cantaloupe, watermelon, ginger and banana. Almonds are also said to be a great remedy for heartburn as they neutralize stomach acid. While you can always snack on almonds, adding a few of them in this smoothie will not only make it tasty but will increase its efficacy in combating heartburn.
Make Melon Smoothie to Prevent Heartburn
- Fresh ginger root- 1 inch piece
- Place all the above ingredients in your blender and blend them together.
- Have this every morning if you have a consistent problem of heartburn.
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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When Heartburn Becomes Frequent
Sometimes heartburn may be a symptom of a more severe problem like gastroesophageal reflux disease , which is the chronic form of acid reflux. If your acid reflux occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks, it may be due to GERD. Its a disease where you have significant symptoms from acid reflux and/or evidence of damage to your esophagus. Americans are no stranger to GERD either it affects around 20 percent of the population.
In addition to burning or sharp chest pain, symptoms of GERD can include regurgitation , nausea, a recurring sour or bitter taste in your mouth, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, dry cough, bad breath, damage to tooth enamel, wheezing or repeatedly needing to clear your throat.
Dont Drink Too Much Citrus Juice
Many types of citrus juice, including orange juice and grapefruit juice, are considered common triggers for heartburn .
These ingredients are highly acidic and contain compounds like ascorbic acid, which could cause indigestion if you consume them in large amounts .
In addition to being acidic, certain compounds found in citrus juice could irritate the lining of the esophagus .
While citrus juice probably doesnt cause acid reflux directly, it could make your heartburn worse temporarily.
Some people with acid reflux report that drinking citrus juice makes their symptoms worse. Certain compounds in citrus juice, in addition to acids, can also irritate the lining of the esophagus.
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Foods That Help Heartburn
Many people experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux. Heartburn is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, and itâs often caused by what you eat. Thankfully, there are certain foods that are known to reduce, relieve, and help heartburn.
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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Things To Remember When Taking Antibiotics:
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.
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Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd
GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.
- Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
- LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.
Let Your Stomach Loose
Tight waistbands or belts that dig into your stomach place unnecessary pressure on your abdomen.10 Swallowing an antacid and undoing the button of your pants or taking your belt down a notch or two after eating will provide instant relief. Maintaining a healthy weight is, however, a better long-term solution.
How To Cure Heartburn Four Quick Fixes And Long
How to cure heartburn you ask? Well, theres no easy answer to that question.
If youve been struggling with acid reflux for any length of time, then you know there isnt a quick fix to this disease as a whole. GERD has many symptoms, one of which is heartburn. At the crux of this disease is the lower oesophageal sphincter . Located at the junction of the oesophagus and the stomach, the LES can weaken and no longer function as an effective barrier, allowing the acidic contents of the stomach to back-flow up into the oesophagus. When this happens, heartburn often follows. This weakening of the LES is progressive, so the more often you reflux, the more frequent the episodes become.
Learn more: GERD explained: The role of the LES
Medications can help relieve acid reflux symptoms by making the contents of the stomach less acidic however, they dont stop reflux from happening. Thats why managing GERD requires commitment and diligence: Watching what and how you eat and making lifestyle choices aimed at minimizing reflux can reduce your symptoms AND help stop the progression of the condition.
But sometimes, despite your best efforts to manage your GERD, heartburn strikes and you need relief . So though we cant provide a definite answer to how to cure heartburn? We can offer four quick fixes to help you cool the burn.
Treat Antibiotics Heartburn Caused By Loss Of Good Bacteria With Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that need to be ingested to rebalance gut bacteria after discontinuation of antibiotics. The reintroduction of these good bacteria will improve digestive function and reduce acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.
The use of probiotics during antibiotic treatment may help restore stomach acid and alleviate gas, bloating, and belching even though antibiotics will continue to kill these good bacteria.
Probiotics rebalance digestive function after antibiotic use and thus reduce the instance of heartburn by:
- Preventing the overgrowth of bad bacteria which produce gas leading to bloating and belching.
- Preventing constipation by eliminating bad bacteria that cause slow, inefficient digestion.
- Promoting optimal stomach acid levels. Stomach acid helps the LES close properly, kills harmful bacteria, improves absorption of nutrients, and reduces the instance of constipation.
- Improving food and nutrient absorption by helping break down food for easier digestion thus reducing the possibility of constipation. Improved nutrient absorption also provides the digestive system needed nutrients for proper function.
- Maintaining muscle activity which moves material through the digestive tract.
- Preventing leaky gut and helping with antibody production which boosts the immune system. A healthy immune system also helps protect against bad bacteria overgrowth.
How to Treat Antibiotics Heartburn from the Loss of Good Bacteria with Probiotics
Good Bacteria Must Be Fed
How To Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn is extremely common. Sixty million Americans experience at least one episode every month and some studies report that more than 15 million Americans have symptoms every day. If youre one of the many people who live with the discomfort of heartburn, theres good news. You can find ways to treat and prevent the condition it is all about understanding your triggers.
Richard K. Englehardt, MD, with the Heartburn and Reflux Program at Methodist Hospital | Specialty and Transplant, shares how you can put out the fire you may be feeling.