When To Go To The Doctor
Usually, indigestion only happens once in a while, like after eating certain foods that dont agree with you. But youll want to see the doctor if you get indigestion even when youre eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
You may need to be examined or have stomach X-rays or other tests to make sure your indigestion is not a sign of another problem in your digestive tract. Depending on what the doctor finds, you might need to make changes in your diet or take medicine.
Be sure to tell your parent or talk to a doctor if these things happen in addition to your indigestion:
- vomiting , especially if you see blood in your vomit
- weight loss
- frequent or intense stomach pain
- black or bloody bowel movements
These can be signs of other problems, so be sure to talk to a doctor if you experience one or several of these symptoms.
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How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
Can Gerd Cause Asthma
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.
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
Severity Of Constant Heartburn
As per research, Individuals who endure frequent episodes of acid heartburn are 78% more prone to get throat cancer. Specialists, who published their discoveries in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, have revealed that using stomach antacids has defensive results. People who have experienced the ill effects of indigestion yet take acid neutralizers have a 41% chances to bring down the danger of throat cancer than those who dont take the medicines.
Hence, people who have constantly suffered heartburn ought to counsel a doctor to discover what might be causing it.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: April 4, 2018|
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Reasons For Getting Heartburn Every Day
Heartburn that happens occasionally is considered normal, but when we start experiencing it daily, it becomes a major problem.
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Is It Possible To Get Heartburn When You Havent Eaten
As noted earlier, yes, it is possible to get heartburn when you havent eaten.
While eating food is often a triggering factor for heartburn symptoms to begin manifesting, it is not always that direct of a relationship.
Remember that the systems in our body are always working even when we arent actively moving or eating something.
Since these systems are always in motion, the potential for negative symptoms, like heartburn, is possible at any time.
Still, there are some specific reasons why you might be experiencing heartburn even when you didnt just eat a meal or drank a certain beverage, and were going to go into some of them and how to address them in more detail.
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Why Does Heartburn Occur After Eating
When you swallow food, it passes down your throat and through your esophagus en route to your stomach. The action of swallowing causes the muscle that controls the opening between your esophagus and stomach, known as the esophageal sphincter, to open, allowing food and liquid to move into your stomach. Otherwise, the muscle remains tightly closed.
If this muscle fails to close properly after you swallow, the acidic contents of your stomach may travel back up into your esophagus. This is called reflux. Sometimes, the stomach acid reaches the lower part of the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.
Eating is a necessity, but getting heartburn doesnt have to be an inevitable result. There are steps you can take to soothe the feeling of heartburn after a meal. Try the following home remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Complications Of Gerd And Acid Reflux
Ulcers Stomach acid in the esophagus can cause ulcers. These ulcers have the potential to bleed. To check for bleeding ulcers, your doctor may recommend a stool sample test called hemocult.
Stricture Damage caused by acid reflux can cause the esophagus to scar and narrow. This is called stricture. Over time, stricture could cause a blockage of food and require treatment. The scar tissue is a result of ulcers that occur and heal over time.
Lung and throat problems Acid reflux in the throat could lead to irritation or inflammation of the vocal cords or a sore throat. If the acid is inhaled into the lungs, it could cause aspiration pneumonia or symptoms of asthma. If the acid reflux is chronic, it could eventually cause permanent lung damage including pulmonary fibrosis or bronchiectasis.
Barrettâs esophagus Barrettâs esophagus occurs when the cells in the lower esophagus transform. The transformation is usually caused by damage to the esophageal lining, most often from chronic acid reflux or GERD. There is a small chance these cells may develop into cancer. Patients with Barretts esophagus should have an upper endoscopy done periodically to look for early signs of cancer.
Esophageal cancer Barrettâs esophagus is a major risk factor for developing esophageal cancer. The rate of esophageal cancer is on the rise, but relatively few people with GERD develop Barrettâs esophagus and even fewer people with Barrettâs esophagus develop esophageal cancer.
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When Should You Go To The Hospital For Acid Reflux
Although chest pain is often a symptom of acid reflux or GERD, do not hesitate to visit the doctor or the emergency room if it seems more serious. Sometimes GERD symptoms warrant urgent attention. A person experiencing any of the following should seek immediate medical care: regular, forceful vomiting.
What Emotion Causes Heartburn
Stress, coupled with exhaustion, may present even more body changes that lead to increased acid reflux. Regardless of what exactly happens in the brain and the body, those who experience symptoms of acid reflux know that stress can make them feel uncomfortable, and treating lifestyle factors is important.
When Should Someone See A Doctor About Heartburn
Galier says if you are reaching for antacids more days than not, you should see your doctor.
Eisen considers heartburn “occasional” if it occurs once a week or less. He says itâs time to seek medical help if you have had heartburn more than once a week for six months or longer more and are not getting better.
What Gets Rid Of Heartburn At Night
12 Tips for Nighttime Heartburn ReliefSleep on your left side. Lose weight, even a little. Sleep with your upper body elevated. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn. Steer clear of late-night meals or big meals. Relax when you eat. Stay upright after eating.More itemsMar 3, 2010
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What Can You Do About Your Heartburn
A good rule of thumb is to seek medical attention if you have more than two episodes of heartburn a week especially if you notice difficulty swallowing, weight loss or anemia, Dr. Gabbard says.
Your doctor may help you lose weight or adjust your medications.
A change in blood pressure medicine may help reduce your heartburn symptoms, for instance. Or your doctor may suggest a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec OTC® or Nexium® to help control your GERD.
If your heartburn is worse at night, changing your sleeping position may help. Dr. Gabbard recommends using a body pillow or sleep-positioning device that helps keep you on your left side with your head elevated.
Finally, he has a warning for men over 50 who have chronic heartburn.
If at least two of these conditions apply you are Caucasian, have abdominal obesity, are a former or current smoker you may have a higher risk for Barretts esophagus, a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Even if you are feeling fine, you should see your doctor. He or she may recommend a one-time scope examination to make sure there are no signs of the condition.
There is no pill to strengthen and restore your sphincter muscle to its younger days. But you can work with your doctor to reduce that burning sensation as you age.
What Makes Gerd Worse Four Hours After Eating
GERD can often be worse four hours after we eat because depending on what meal it is, a person may be sleeping or lying down which makes reflux worse , says Alan Gingold, DO, a board certified gastroenterologist with the Digestive Health Center of NJ. When we eat, gravity from sitting up helps to keep much of the acid in your stomach.
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Control Your Acid Reflux
If you have frequent acid reflux, that means you have acid reflux disease . The vast majority of patients with acid reflux disease respond well to daily acid suppressing medications, such as proton pump inhibitors.
It’s important to note, however, that while these medications effectively manage symptoms, they are not a cure. The heartburn pain will go away, but the backsplash of damaging fluid still occurs.
That’s because proton pump inhibitors can’t fix the underlying mechanical problem the dysfunction of the valve between the esophagus and stomach. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors can also cause significant side effects, and you must consider the lifetime cost of taking these medications.
For these reasons, surgery may be necessary to correct the valve mechanism, with the goal of eliminating the need for reflux medication. Advances in technology have improved doctors ability to tailor procedures to each individual patient, with greatly improved outcomes.
These techniques are performed through small or even no incisions, and serve to restore the valve mechanism between the esophagus and stomach to prevent acid reflux, explains Justin Karush, DO, a thoracic surgeon at Rush. Common procedures for GERD include laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, transoral incisionless fundoplication and magnetic sphincter augmentation .
What Is Acid Reflux
When you swallow food, it passes from your throat, through your esophagus, and then through an opening in your stomach.
This opening usually closes once the food passes through. If it doesn’t, acid from your stomach may enter through the opening and travel the wrong wayback into your esophagus and to your throat. This is called acid reflux. The opening can occur sporadically after a meal leading to multiple reflux events.
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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.
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.
With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.
While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.
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Other Causes Of Frequent Heartburn Are Listed Below
- Eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime can be one of the reasons behind heartburn. Try to avoid having meals just before we go to our bed. This causes the food to slide into our esophagus and trigger a burning sensation in our chest.
- Avoid drinking before bedtime. Drinking too much alcohol can invite heartburn problems.
What Else Should I Know
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
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How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
What If Medication Or Lifestyle Changes Don’t Help
Your provider may request more testing if lifestyle changes and medication did not help. These tests include a pH test to check for acid in your esophagus or an endoscopy. This test uses a small tube with a camera and light to see inside of your digestive tract and spot any issues.
MedlinePlus National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases American College of Gastroenterology
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What Are The Treatment Options
If you have heartburn, your provider may prescribe over-the-counter antacids, which may come in a chewable tablet. They might also recommend prescription drugs such as H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors, which reduce how much acid your stomach makes.
Providers may also recommend lifestyle changes, like losing weight and quitting smoking, which can increase stomach acid production. Other changes often include reducing stress, exercising more, avoiding food around bedtime, raising the head of the bed about 6 inches, and eating more high-protein, low-fat meals.
Is It Acid Reflux Disease
“If someone’s experiencing frequent heartburn, first I’d look at their eating pattern,” says Tara O’Brien, PharmD, a pharmacy manager at Pharmaca in Seattle, a national, integrative pharmacy combining Western medicine with self-care. “It could be from a lot of different things: diet, size of your meals, how frequently or infrequently you’re eating,” she says.
If you have frequent heartburn and you’re not seeing your doctor or pharmacist for heartburn relief, you may be flirting with trouble. Your heartburn may be a sign of deeper trouble — more than a grouchy stomach rebelling against a big, spicy meal.
You may have acid reflux disease, also called GERD, a condition that makes food and stomach acid “burp” back up into the base of your esophagus . People with acid reflux often have a too-weak or too-relaxed LES muscle — that’s the tiny muscle at the base of your esophagus that closes to keep food in your stomach after swallowing.
If the LES is less strong, up comes the food — along with the burning, acidic irritation in your chest that we call “heartburn.” Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can lead to chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, says the American Gastroenterological Association .
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