What Can Ease Severe Heartburn
Heartburn could be the result of acid reflux or any other prevailing stomach condition. Regardless of the nature of the occurrence, curing it is of immense help. Heartburn occurs as a chronic ailment or as acute. Severe heartburn is the condition where you feel the burning sensation for a short period and does not reoccur. A chronic condition is repetitive, and you will experience it most of the times.
Even after trying out all the antacids, bland diet programs, and giving up on particular foods altogether, you may still feel heartburn. In some situations, you may wake up feeling suffocated with pain in the throat and trouble in breathing, which leads to an asthma attack.
When Can Surgery Help
Not everyone finds it easy to take medication every day for many years. And sometimes the medication doesnt have the desired effect, or the symptoms are very bad. If that is the case, people might consider having surgery.
The aim of anti-reflux surgery is to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the food pipe. In this operation, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the food pipe and fixed in place by sewing it to the diaphragm, stomach or food pipe. This strengthens the muscle at the lower end of the food pipe in order to help prevent heartburn and reflux.
Nowadays this surgical procedure is usually done laparoscopically also known as minimally invasive or keyhole surgery. This means the doctor inserts the surgical instruments into the abdomen through small cuts in the skin.
Fundoplication can be done in two ways, depending on whether a section of the stomach is wrapped all the way around the food pipe, or only part of the way around it. A complete fundoplication, where the stomach is wrapped all the way around the food pipe, is called Nissen fundoplication. In what is known as Toupet fundoplication, the stomach is only partially wrapped around the food pipe. This surgical technique is the method of choice if, for example, there is a problem with the movements of the food pipe .
What Can You Do To Relieve The Symptoms
There is a lack of good research on whether making changes in daily life can help relieve heartburn and acid reflux. But it can be worth trying to change certain habits. For instance, the symptoms might get better if you stop smoking or drink less alcohol.
If certain foods appear to make your symptoms worse, avoiding those foods could help. The problems are often caused by specific things, such as coffee, chocolate, very fatty or spicy foods, citrus fruits or fizzy drinks. It might take time and patience to find out which types of food you don’t tolerate well. Sometimes people also find that food hardly has any effect on their symptoms.
People who are overweight are often advised to lose weight because the extra pounds can put a strain on the digestive system and push against the food pipe and stomach. This could affect the function of the sphincter muscle that closes off the lower, narrower end of the food pipe. Meals that have a lot of fat or calories in them, or large meals, can cause GERD symptoms too. But thin people who have low-fat diets can also have reflux and heartburn. So there is no guarantee that your symptoms will get better if you lose weight or change your diet.
Read Also: Simple Home Remedies For Heartburn
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Marshmallow Can Heal Heartburn
The very popular herb marshmallow contains a mucilage property that helps coat your esophagus and stomach lining. This creates a protective barrier against stomach acid and you get rid of heartburn. What more, marshmallow can even repair the damage done to your food pipe and stomach lining by excessive acid.Make Marshmallow Infusion for Heartburn
- In the morning, drink this thick herbal infusion which would taste bitter-sweet.
Precaution: If you are taking some medication, consult your doctor before using any herb.
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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
- 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.”
Heartburn Medicine Factors To Consider
When shopping for a new heartburn medicine, there are a number of important factors to consider. Some consumers might only need short-term relief from occasionally eating trigger foods. Others might need a longer-term treatment for chronic acid reflux, GERD, or a sensitive stomach. It isnt unusual to experiment with different types of heartburn medicines in order to find the one that brings the most reliable relief. Here are some important factors to consider while looking:
Relief onset time: While traditional antacid brands offer relief in seconds or minutes, H2RAs and PPIs generally take hours or even days. This delay isnt necessarily a bad thing since these medicines provide longer-term relief. When comparing H2RAs and PPIs, keep in mind that H2RAs usually have a faster onset time, but the effects of PPIs last longer. If faster relief of an occasional bout of heartburn is the goal, try an H2RA first. For more frequent acid reflux, a PPI might be more appropriate.
Mechanism: Different types of heartburn medicine use different mechanisms to address the same basic problem. Antacids chemically neutralize stomach acids but dont affect acid production. H2RAs enter the bloodstream and block acid production. PPIs actually shut down acid production. Consumers should consider the severity and frequency of their heartburn symptoms and shop accordingly.
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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.
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.
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.
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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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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.vii
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What Medications Do I Take To Manage The Symptoms Of Gerd
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications relieve GERD. Most of OTC drugs come in prescription strength too. Your provider will give you a prescription for these stronger drugs if youre not getting relief from the OTC formulas.
The most common GERD medications:
- Antacids include Tums®, Rolaids®, Mylanta®, Riopan® and Maalox®.
- H-2 receptor blockers include Tagamet®, Pepcid AC®, Axid AR® and Zantac®.
- Proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Zegerid®, Nexium®, Protonix®, AcipHex® and Dexilant®.
- Baclofen is a prescription drug used to reduce the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which allows acid backwash.
C Make All The Necessary Lifestyle Changes
There are many things you can do besides maintaining a healthy BMI and following a GERD friendly diet. Here is a short list of recommendations you should consider:
- Avoid alcohol
- If you smoke, stop immediately
- Leave at least 3 hours between your final meal and bedtime
- Wear loose-fitting clothes
- Drink plenty of water
- Walk for 20 minutes after a major meal to aid digestion
- Try eating 5 or 6 small meals daily
For a more thorough list of recommendations, we recommend you read Acid Reflux Remedies Questions, Answers, Stages & Treatments.
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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.
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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Treatment Approaches For Gerd At Johns Hopkins
There are four approaches for GERD treatment, including medication and surgery. Often, patients respond well to a combination of lifestyle changes and a medication regimen.
Some patients do not find satisfactory relief from those methods and require surgical intervention. Other patients may choose surgery as an alternative to a lifetime of taking medication.
Treatment for GERD includes:
For When H2 Blockers Dont Help Proton Pump Inhibitors
If youve been taking H2 blockers for a few weeks and your acid reflux symptoms arent letting up or havent lessened, then you might need a proton pump inhibitor . PPIs are the most powerful drug for reducing acid production and typically the most effective treatment for GERD. PPIs work by blocking an enzyme that produces stomach acid, causing them to make less acid and soothe heartburn symptoms.
PPIs come in pill form, and while many are available by prescription only, some are available over-the-counter. Unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor, PPIs should be taken on an empty stomach 30 to 60 minutes before eating breakfast, once daily for 14 days. While it may take between 1 to 4 days for the full effects to kick in, people may experience complete relief from their symptoms within 24 hours.
Common Proton Pump Inhibitors
- Omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate
A meta-analysis of 41 studies comparing PPIs found no differences among the various kinds of PPIs in treating GERD.
Proton Pump Inhibitors Side Effects
Mild symptoms include:
However, long term use of PPIs has raised concerns with potential associated side effects, including:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Increased risk of fractures
- Increased risk of pneumonia and dementia
- Hypomagnesemia low level of magnesium in the blood that can lead to convulsions, fatigue, and muscle weakness
- Increased risk of Clostridium difficile bacteria infections
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Homeopathic Remedies For Heart Burn
Besides home remedies, you can also count on homeopathic remedies for getting relief from heart burn. Here are some homeopathic remedies that can help you out.
1. Nux vomica : Nux vomica helps in treating indigestion and severe acidity.
2. Carbo vegetabilis : Carbo vegetabilis is used in the cases of heartburn, which is accompanied by heaviness in the chest and stomach, bloating, and belching.
3. Pulsatilla : Pulsatilla helps to moisten the mouth, and reduce the intensity of pain.
4. Ipecac : Ipecac is used when heartburn is characterized with excessive flatulence, vomiting or nausea. This remedy is also suitable for pregnant women.
5. Calcaria carb : Calcaria carb is given when patient suffers from heartburn, burning sensation in the stomach, and vomiting. Other homeopathic medicines are Arsenic album, Phosphorous, Aesculus hip, Staphisagria, Ferrum met, and Natrum phos.
What Causes Heartburn
You get heartburn when your stomach acid backs up into your tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. In normal conditions, whenever you swallow your food, a group of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus, relaxes and lets the food travel to your stomach. Then this group of muscle called lower esophageal sphincter again gets tightened. The problem occurs when this lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or begins the act of relaxing in an abnormal way. This makes the acid present in your stomach flow back up into your esophagus. You can feel the acidic taste in the back of your mouth due to this acid reflux, the other name of heartburn. Whenever you try to lie down or bend, more acid travels up into your esophagus and the matter becomes worse than before.
Other causes of heartburn may include having meals too close to your bedtime or having too many fatty foods, caffeinated or carbonated beverages as well as chocolate.
If your heartburn occurs only once in a while, theres nothing to worry about. However, if your heartburn is coming back with your every meal and even at night, you need to pay some attention to get rid of heartburn. This can be the chronic heartburn called gastroesophageal reflux disease . If its not GERD, you may first try to manage the condition with some home remedies and lifestyle changes. If you see no effects of these on your heartburn, then you need medical assistance.
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