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What’s The Difference Between Indigestion And Heartburn

Gerd: The More Serious Cause


GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease .

Like its name suggests, GERD is a more serious version of acid reflux. They can both cause heartburn. Often people who experience heartburn more than twice a week have GERD.

GERD happens when the closure in your lower esophaguswhich is near your stomachbecomes weak or relaxes when it should not. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath, or trouble swallowing.

Treating GERD may require prescription medications. Occasionally, surgery or other procedures may be necessary.

If you suspect you have GERD, make sure to see your provider or a gastroenterologist, a doctor who focuses on the digestive system. This can help prevent future damage to your esophagus, or cancer.

MedlinePlus National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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How Do You Treat Indigestion

Sure, itâs good to understand where indigestion comes from. But what you really want to know is how you can treat it.

Be aware that how you treat your indigestion is going to depend on its root cause, so thatâs important to pinpoint first. However, below are a couple of the more common treatment options that are available.

Difference Between Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd

The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. The top gastroenterologists at SMILES help you understand the differences between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD, & how you can manage if you have any of these conditions.

Acid reflux is a digestive disorder that can range from mild to severe. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a constantly recurring form of acid reflux. Heartburn is the most symptom of both acid reflux and GERD.

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Gaviscon Dual Action To The Rescue

Gaviscon Dual Action works in two ways to effectively relieve the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion:

  • The antacid the antacid in Gaviscon Dual Action neutralises excess stomach acid to relieve the pain and discomfort of indigestion.
  • The raft the alginate in Gaviscon Dual Action forms a thick layer on top of your stomach contents. The raft then acts as a physical barrier that helps keep your stomach contents where they belong in your stomach and not in your oesophagus where they can cause discomfort and burning pain.
  • Gaviscon Dual Action Liquid starts to soothe from 4 minutes!*

    However, if you are ever concerned about your symptoms, always seek medical advice. Likewise see a healthcare professional if your symptoms become frequent or get worse.

    *Strugala V, et al. J Int Med Res 2010.

    Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.


    Symptoms Location And Timing

    What is the difference between Indigestion and Heart burn ...

    Your symptoms, the site and character of your discomfort, and symptom timing are important factors your doctor will consider in differentiating acid reflux versus an ulcer. Burning pain behind the breastbone and possibly into the throat that occurs after meals points toward acid reflux. This discomfort often worsens when you lie down or bend over. Ulcer pain is commonly described as gnawing or boring discomfort located toward the bottom of the rib cage. Ulcer pain usually occurs on an empty stomach and is relieved by eating. Unintentional weight loss may point toward an ulcer, whereas difficulty swallowing or a chronic cough makes acid reflux more likely.

    • Your symptoms, the site and character of your discomfort, and symptom timing are important factors your doctor will consider in differentiating acid reflux versus an ulcer.
    • Ulcer pain is commonly described as gnawing or boring discomfort located toward the bottom of the rib cage.

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    Causes Of Heartburn And Gas

    The reason behind the occurrence of heartburn and gas is due to indigestion and other underlying health conditions. As explained above, if a person shows signs of acid reflux due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, it is natural for him or her to experience the heartburn sensation. In particular cases, undigested food leads to bloating and development of gas.

    The other reason for causing heartburn is due to the weak lower esophageal sphincter. With such a case, the barrier has a small opening which causes the acids developed during the digestive system to escape into the esophagus tube. It is at this time that the individual experience the heartburn sensation. Many people misunderstand it for heart attack.

    The following is the list that is common across all ages that cause heartburn and gas:

    • Chocolate
    • Vegetables high in citrus content
    • Aspirin
    • Fried foods
    • Fatty foods.

    For adults, you can also add alcohol abuse, smoking, and pregnancy to be the cause of heartburn and gas.

    Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women

    Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.

    Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.

    Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.

    Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.

    Recommended Reading: What Is The Main Cause Of Heartburn

    Whats The Difference Between Acid Reflux Heartburn & Gerd

    DerrickonNovember 18, 2021

    Do you remember those antacid commercials where someone is in a restaurant eating something decadent and suddenly clutches their chest and winces? It was a bit dramatic, but it stuck in my head. As someone who gets both heartburn and acid reflux, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Add in the potential for gastroesophageal reflux disease , and itâs a jumble of stress.

    This article will help you decipher the difference between all three and learn some quick home remedies.

    Difference Between Heartburn And Indigestion

    What Is Acid Reflux?

    Heartburn vs Indigestion

    Heartburn is a specific clinical presentation due to acute gastritis while indigestion is the laymans term for the actual ill feeling caused by gastritis and other conditions.


    Heartburn is a burning sensation felt in the lower chest or upper abdomen due to acute gastritis. Acute gastritis presents as upper abdominal pain, tightening chest pain behind the sternum, and difficulty in breathing, which exaggerates with lying down. There is usually nocturnal burning type chest pain. It is a very common condition plaguing many millions of people. Men and women both get it equally. It is related to irregular meal patterns.

    Ulcers usually occur at the lesser and greater curvatures and at the pyloric area of the stomach. These ulcers are difficult to treat due to constant irritation by gastric acidity. Food may also reflux up the esophagus with chronic gastritis. With prolonged gastritis, the lining of the lower esophagus may change into a pre-cancer state. This is called Barettes esophagus. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to visualize the alimentary canal up to the second part of the duodenum is the investigation of choice. A small piece of the ulcer edge may be removed to examine under the microscope, to exclude cancers. Helicobacter pylori is associated with chronic gastritis. Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment, antacids, and proton pump inhibitors are the available treatment options.


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    Treating Heartburn Vs Indigestion

    Both heartburn and indigestion may be treated with over-the-counter products, such as:

    • Antacids for mild, occasional heartburn symptoms. Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. They may be taken as soon as you experience symptoms, or before eating trigger foods to prevent them. Antacids arent meant to be taken every day, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Daily use can cause GI upset.
    • Proton pump inhibitors for long-term treatment. PPIs work by decreasing the amount of acid in your stomach, allowing your esophagus to heal.
    • Histamine-H2-receptor antagonists . These are also designed to decrease stomach acid, but they arent as strong as PPIs.

    Ask your doctor before taking any herbal remedies for GI issues, as you may unintentionally make your heartburn or indigestion worse.

    Occasional heartburn or indigestion is largely preventable. Prevention methods are the same for both conditions.

    Here are some of the ways you can help decrease a flare-up of heartburn and indigestion symptoms:

    These preventive measures may also help alleviate symptoms of chronic heartburn or indigestion, but youll need to see your doctor to help treat the underlying causes to help prevent further complications.

    When To See A Doctor About Heartburn Vs Indigestion

    If your symptoms of heartburn and/or indigestion dont improve after a few weeks of home remedies and preventive measures, see your doctor.

    Chronic heartburn or indigestion issues could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. To get to the root of chronic indigestion or heartburn issues, your doctor may order a few tests, including:

    • a physical exam of your abdomen
    • acid probe tests to measure when stomach acid reaches back into your esophagus
    • imaging tests, such as X-rays and endoscopies , to look at your esophagus and stomach
    • blood or stool tests to rule out bacterial infections that may be causing indigestion
    • pain in your abdomen that doesnt go away
    • frequent vomiting
    • blood in vomit or stools
    • tar-colored stools

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    What Triggers Indigestion

    Depending on what’s causing your indigestion, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating , belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, “growling” stomach, and even diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse when you’re stressed but normally go away in a few hours.

    Indigestion can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, including ulcers, pancreas abnormalities, or acid reflux disease. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last for more than two weeks.

    Show References

    Hide References

  • Indigestion . National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
  • Heartburn Causes. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2014,
  • Amos, Julie-Ann. Acid Reflux Statistics and Facts. Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 June 2012,
  • Indigestion. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Aug. 2016,
  • The Causes May Differ

    Difference between heartburn acid reflux and gerd ~ Burn Lose

    Heartburn is caused by reflux of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus, where it causes irritation and burning. A muscular ring at the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter normally prevents reflux, but sometimes it fails to form a good seal. There are many foods that can trigger heartburn, such as fatty foods, spicy foods and alcohol — which is known to cause relaxation of the sphincter muscle. Common medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers also relax the lower esophageal sphincter and may contribute to heartburn.

    When acid reflux is not the cause of indigestion or dyspepsia, often there is no other reason found — that is, there is no evidence of a disease or any visible harm to the tissues. However, some cases of dyspepsia do arise from specific illnesses, including: – stomach or intestinal ulcers or cancer – infection of the stomach with H. pylori bacteria – other conditions that cause inflammation of the stomach lining – hiatal hernia, a problem in which the stomach bulges into the chest cavity – problems with muscular contractions of esophagus and stomach – problems with the pancreas or the flow of bile – certain medications such as nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs

    Like GERD, indigestion is often triggered by eating too much or too quickly, or by certain foods such as fatty foods or alcohol. Indigestion is also more likely to occur if you are feeling stressed or anxious.

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    When Does The Pain Occur

    Acid reflux is most likely to happen after a meal though it can be aggravated by lying down. If any type of upper abdominal pain, regurgitation, or chest pain is happening immediately after eating or while lying down, it is leaning more towards general heartburn than gallbladder disease.

    The pain of gallbladder disease can typically strike at any moment, potentially several hours after eating and oftentimes at the same time every day. Gallbladder pain can wake people up in the middle of the night. Its also not particularly linked to the eating of fatty or greasy foods. In effect if it cannot be explained by the symptoms of acid reflux, the pain youre experiencing can likely be gallbladder-related pain.

    Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd

    The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.

    Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

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    Is There A Difference Between Acid Reflux And Indigestion

    Quite often, the terms acid reflux and indigestion are used interchangeably without fully understanding the differences between the two.

    There are in fact a number of differences between the two as indigestion is not, as many believe, just a milder form of acid reflux.

    Rennie have taken the time to look into the two issues, and have put together this guide to allow you to understand the differences for yourself.

    About The Partnership Between Ut Health Austin And Ascension Seton

    Heartburn Remedies The REAL CAUSE of Acid Reflux or GERD

    The collaboration between UT Health Austin and Ascension Seton brings together medical professionals, medical school learners, and researchers who are all part of the integrated mission of transforming healthcare delivery and redesigning the academic health environment to better serve society. This collaboration allows highly specialized providers who are at the forefront of the latest research, diagnostic, and technological developments to build an integrated system of care that is a collaborative resource for clinicians and their patients.

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    Give Yourself A Buffer Before Bedtime

    If you lay down immediately after eating, itâs going to be easier for acid to flow back up. Thatâs why we recommend eating your last meal of the day two to three hours before bedtime. You can even develop a bedtime routine with activities like meditation thatâll make your mind and body even more relaxed.

    How Can I Prevent Indigestion

    The best way to prevent indigestion is to avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause it. Keeping a food diary is helpful in identifying foods that cause indigestion. Here are some other suggestions:

    • Eat small meals so the stomach does not have to work as hard or as long.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
    • Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
    • If stress is a trigger for your indigestion, learn new methods for managing stress, such as relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
    • If you smoke, quit.Ã Smoking can irritate the lining of the stomach.
    • Cut back on alcohol consumption, because alcohol can also irritate the stomach lining.
    • Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments, because they tend to compress the stomach, which can cause its contents to enter the esophagus.
    • Don’t exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
    • Don’t lie down right after eating.
    • Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.
    • Sleep with your head elevated above your feet and use pillows to prop yourself up. This will help allow digestive juices to flow into the intestines rather than to the esophagus.

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    Heartburn Or Heart Attack

    The symptoms of heartburn may mimic those of angina or a heart attack . If you’re uncertain, don’t hesitate to get to an emergency room for an evaluation as soon as possible.


    • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest

    • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms

    • Irregular or rapid heartbeat

    • Cold sweat or clammy skin

    • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness

    • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

    • The appearance of symptoms with physical exertion or extreme stress


    • Burning chest pain that begins at the breastbone

    • Pain that moves up toward your throat but doesn’t typically radiate to your shoulders, neck, or arms

    • Sensation that food is coming back into your mouth

    • Bitter or acidic taste at the back of your throat

    • Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over

    • The appearance of symptoms after a large or spicy meal

    Indigestion Doesn’t Always Involve Reflux

    Whats The Difference Between Gerd And Acid Reflux

    Indigestion conveys that a person is having unpleasant stomach symptoms, perhaps associated with his intake or a specific meal, but not necessarily so. Occasional heartburn from acid reflux is very common, so for many people who say they have indigestion, it’s likely they are referring to acid reflux symptoms. However, many possibilities other than acid reflux can make a person feel like there’s something wrong with their stomach. For some, the medical term dyspepsia is a better fit than heartburn for these symptoms. Dyspepsia is a burning discomfort in the stomach, sometimes likened to hunger pains — except that it occurs on a full stomach, too. Like acid reflux, dyspepsia may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including belching, bloating and feelings of gassiness, nausea or fullness.

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