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What To Do When Having Heartburn

Chemotherapy: What To Avoid & Do When Having Acid Reflux

Do You Have Acid Reflux or GERD?

Having cancer and undergoing certain treatments is undoubtedly debilitating. One major cancer treatment is chemotherapy that uses drugs to kill dividing cancer cells and prevent them from growing even further.

One problem associated with chemotherapy is acid reflux, which is actually common among many cancer patients. As you may or may not know, the medications used to target dividing cancer cells can also attack other good cells in the body. These include the cells in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract that, when damaged, can lead to stomach acid flow into your esophagus.

As such, acid reflux may present you with indigestion and heartburn sensations. When such an episode occurs, you may feel chest pain and a burning feeling. Other symptoms include a sore throat, coughing, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and asthma-like symptoms.

When youre on chemotherapy or have completed your treatment but are still experiencing acid reflux, heres what to avoid and what to do.

How Is Heartburn Treated

If you have uncomplicated heartburn from acid reflux, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medicines. These include common antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Tums. Your doctor may also prescribe more powerful medications called proton pump inhibitors, such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prilosec, and Protonix. These medicines are considered very effective and help heal the esophageal lining. Other drugs like Tagamet and Pepcid reduce acid production, while still others like Reglan help empty the stomach.

Lifestyle modification, such as cutting down on foods that trigger your heartburn, can help. So can avoiding heavy meals, not eating a big meal within two hours of bedtime, and not lying down soon after a meal. Stress reduction may help reduce heartburn incidents. If you smoke, you should quit, as it can be a heartburn trigger.

If you get exercise-induced heartburn, “try to exercise on a relatively empty stomach,” Katz says. Take medication for heartburn before your workout.

If none of those steps help enough, surgery can help. Surgery can be done to strengthen the LES muscle or to repair the hiatal hernia.

Show Sources

Phil Katz, MD, president-elect of the American College of Gastroenterology,clinical professor of medicine, Jefferson Medical College, and chair ofgastroenterology at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia.

Glenn Eisen, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of endoscopy,Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.

Foods That May Cause Heartburn

Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:

  • Fried food
  • Peppermint
  • Carbonated beverages

“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”

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What Are The Usual Symptoms Of Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Heartburn often seems worse after rich meals, citrus fruit juice, hot beverages or alcohol. Occasionally it can be felt deeply within the chest, almost within the back although sometimes the burning feeling can reach all the way up to the throat2. Some patients notice acid reflux when some of the contents of their stomach repeat by coming back up the oesophagus as far as the throat or even the mouth. A few patients notice discomfort or pain as they swallow and may often experience frequent throat clearing, coughing and choking. It is quite common for these symptoms to be worse at night or when lying down.

For most people with the condition, heartburn and reflux is just a nuisance and little more than that. In a few people, especially where there is severe inflammation of the oesophagus, there is a risk of complications. These can include internal bleeding and narrowing of the gullet. One in ten people with acid reflux have Barretts Oesophagus12, 13. This is a condition that can, very rarely, progress to cancer of the lower oesophagus. If you are worried about these complications, discuss them with your GP.

Heres How To Control Your Symptoms

Pin on heartburn remedies

When your symptoms flare up, there are a few things you can try:

  • Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn, especially in the afternoon or evening
  • Elevate the head of your bed to enlist gravity to help fight regurgitation
  • Take over-the-counter antacids like Tums or Rolaids, or acid suppressors such as Prilosec, Nexium, or Pepcid

Read Also: Foods To Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy

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:

  • Tums®.
  • Maalox®.
  • Gaviscon®.

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.

Don’t 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.

Also Check: Why Am I Getting Heartburn Every Night

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

Resist The Urge To Overeat Or Eat Quickly

DIY-How to get rid of Heartburn NATURALLY

When it comes to preventing heartburn, watching portion sizes at meals can go a long way. Having a large amount of food in your stomach may put more pressure on the valve that keeps stomach acid out of your esophagus, making acid reflux and heartburn more likely. If you’re prone to heartburn, consider eating smaller meals more frequently. Eating quickly can also be a trigger of heartburn so be sure to slow down and take time to chew food and drink beverages.

Also Check: Will Tums Help With Heartburn

Eat Foods That Are Heartburn Friendly

You dont always have to reach out for medication for fixing health problems. There are some food items that will be able to neutralize your stomach acid and stop that uncomfortable burning sensation inside.

These foods are vegetables, oatmeal, fruits without citric acid, lean meats like chicken, seafood, the whites of eggs, and so on.

All of these will soothe your stomach, but please make sure that you dont eat them too fast.

Read Also: What Food Can I Eat To Get Rid Of Heartburn

Why Do I Get Heartburn When I Havent Eaten: The Nine Reasons

Growing up, you probably heard your parents talk about heartburn when it would affect them.

Unfortunately, as you age, at some point, it started to affect you, too.

Heartburn is something that nearly everyone in the world has experienced at one time or another, and usually, people know what they ate that caused them that kind of grief.

Typically, we link heartburn to foods that we eat and the beverages we consume.

Sometimes, though, unique situations can occur, and you will get heartburn that leaves you wondering, Why do I get heartburn when I havent eaten anything that might have triggered it?

At the very minimum, we assume that the parts of our body that cause heartburn are only in action whenever our body is processing food.

What is going on when we get heartburn when we havent eaten?

We will give you nine potential reasons why the fiery feeling is plaguing you in your chest despite not having eaten anything.

Also Check: What Is Good To Stop Heartburn

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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

  • Chop the white bottom part of fennel in thin slices and add this to some arugula and baby spinach to make a wonderful salad.
  • Use the vegetable in various dishes including chicken dishes.
  • Snack on the crunchy fennel.
  • Chew some fennel seeds after your meals for better digestion that will prevent heartburn.
  • Take 1 tsp of fennel tincture thrice a day.
  • You may also take half a teaspoon of liquid fennel extract every day. However, use either tincture or liquid extract and not both of them.
  • Be Careful What You Drink

    what does heartburn feel like

    Alcohol, coffee, and whole milk can all lead to heartburn, as can peppermint tea. Sodas and carbonated drinks may relax the LES and make your stomach acid more acidic, increasing your risk of heartburn. Highly acidic citrus juices such as orange and grapefruit can also cause acid reflux and heartburn in some people.13

    Also Check: Hard Time Swallowing And Heartburn

    What Can I Do To Prevent Indigestion

    There are many things you can do to try to prevent indigestion.

    Making changes in your diet and eating habits can help. These include:

    • Eating several small, low-fat meals each day instead of 3 large meals
    • Eating slowly and giving yourself enough time for meals
    • Limiting spicy, fatty, greasy, or high-fiber foods
    • Chewing your food well
    • Limiting or not having any coffee, soda, or alcohol

    Avoid medicines that hurt your stomach. These include aspirin and over-the-counter pain and fever medicines . If you do take them, do so after you eat.

    Other lifestyle changes that may keep indigestion from happening include:

    • Quitting smoking
    • Finding ways to lower your emotional and physical stress, such as meditation or yoga
    • Exercising before a meal or waiting at least 1 hour after eating

    Home Remedies For Heartburn: 10 Ways To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux

    Despite what its name implies, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart.

    Rather, it’s a burning sensation in your chest that occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the 10-inch tube connecting your mouth to your stomach.

    When it hits, heartburn can last for just a few minutes or as long as several hours. Either way, it’s uncomfortable so it’s no surprise if you’re looking for a way to get rid of the sensation fast.

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    Check If You Have Acid Reflux

    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.

    What Are You Going To Do To Cure Your Heartburn

    How to Naturally Cure Heartburn and GERD without Medication

    Are you simply going to treat the heartburn with short-term remedies or are you going to attack the real underlying problem that is driving your symptoms? I suspect that the larger long-term recommendations are a bit intimidating and you are not sure if you can make that type of commitment. You are not alone.

    Here is an approach that may help you ease into building your path to relief and good health:

  • Take a longer-term view of your problem. Attack the symptoms with short-term solutions while designing a longer-term approach.
  • Read up on each of the longer term recommendations of a healthy BMI, GERD-friendly diet, and lifestyle changes. Become an expert.
  • Select one of those three long-term recommendations to work on first. You cant make all those changes at the same time. We suggest you first make the lifestyle changes, then work on your BMI, and finally change our diet.
  • Set a reasonable timeframe to make this program work for you.
  • Work with a GERD expert, they will be a valuable partner as you design your plan.
  • We know you can do this because so many others before you have succeeded. Dont delay, this is your disease and its your quality of life that is at risk. You can do this!

    This article is from Reflux MD

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    Recommended Reading: Why Do I Get Severe Heartburn Everyday

    Avoid Sleeping Soon After Meals

    It is usually advised that people with acid reflux should refrain from eating within three hours of going to sleep. Studies have shown that shorter dinner to bedtime was significantly associated with an increased chance of acid reflux.8 Hence, it is best to avoid sleeping soon after your meals and also avoid late-night snacking.

    A Few Lifestyle Changes Are Worth Trying Before Resorting To Drugs For Controlling Gastroesophageal Reflux

    If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

    Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest.

    Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

    Read Also: How Do People Get Heartburn

    Mix Baking Soda With Water

    You might have a heartburn remedy at hand in your kitchen without even knowing it. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid.

    To do this, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly. In fact, you should drink everything slowly when you have heartburn.

    help relieve nausea, so some believe it may be worth trying for heartburn, too.

    Consider adding grated or diced ginger root to your favorite stir-fry recipes, soups, and other foods. To make ginger tea, steep raw ginger root, dried ginger root, or ginger tea bags in boiling water.

    Its probably best to avoid ginger ale, though. Carbonated beverages are a common heartburn trigger, and most brands of ginger ale are made with artificial flavoring rather than the real thing.

    Can Gerd Cause Asthma

    Probiotics for Heartburn

    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.

    Read Also: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea

    Also Check: Natural Things To Help Heartburn

    What To Do When You Have Gerd And Asthma

    If GERD makes asthma symptoms worse, and asthma medication makes GERD worse, how do you break the cycle? Often the answer is to focus on your GERD and get it under control. Once your acid reflux goes down, your asthma symptoms will likely get better.

    ishonestNo.181 – Post-Sun Exposure

    Your doctor can help you decide whether you need medication for your GERD symptoms. They may suggest you start with over-the-counter medicines like:

    • Antacids, which neutralize acid in your stomach
    • H2 blockers, which keep your body from making as much acid
    • Proton-pump inhibitors, which can reduce the amount of acid your body makes

    Sometimes, though, you need prescription medication to get GERD symptoms under control. In rare cases, your doctor will suggest surgery for GERD. There are also things you can do at home to ease your GERD symptoms, like:

    • Sleep with the head of your bed raised 6 to 8 inches so that gravity can help your stomach acid stay in your stomach.
    • Don’t eat for 3 to 4 hours before you lie down to sleep at night.
    • Eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
    • Lose extra weight that may put pressure on your belly.
    • Stay away from fatty and acidic foods.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Wear loose clothes and avoid belts.

    You can also take special care to avoid your asthma triggers while you manage your GERD symptoms to help stop the cycle.

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