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Why Am I Getting Heartburn Now

A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux

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Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.

They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.

It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.

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.

Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol increases the amount of acid the stomach produces. It also relaxes the LES. If you drink, try these tips:

  • Dilute the alcohol with water or club soda.
  • Limit consumption. Have one or two mixed drinks, no more than 16 ounces of wine, or no more than three beers.
  • Drink white wine instead of red wine.
  • Choose non-alcoholic beer or wine.
  • Keep track of which alcoholic drinks trigger your heartburn. Avoid these drinks as much as you can.

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How Is Gerd Diagnosed

Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.

If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:

Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own

My Heartburn Story And How I Stopped Suffering

For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.

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Are There Any Tests For Heartburn

If it is obvious from the symptoms that a person has heartburn, no tests or exams may be necessary. Advice in regard to lifestyle modifications, diet, or medications may begin immediately.

If your health care professional is not sure about the diagnosis, or if he or she is concerned about damage done by chronic heartburn, tests may be ordered. This is true especially if the patient has already been prescribed medications that are not relieving the heartburn.

There is no simple blood test for heartburn. The tests used to diagnose heartburn include the following:

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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Conditions And Habits That Put Pressure On The Les

In certain situations, your stomach and the LES are under pressure and, as a result, acid can sneak back into the esophagus, causing the unpleasant heartburn symptoms. The most common cases include:

  • Pregnancy: As the baby grows, it puts strong pressure on the stomach and the LES often fails to keep the acid inside. Thats why many pregnant women experience heartburn.
  • Large, late-night meals: Large portions add more pressure to your stomach. If you lie down right after a meal, gravity will work against you and increase the pressure even more. And you know the consequences Thats why large, late-night, junk food meals make for the worst heartburn combo. Same goes for your afternoon nap so try to wait 1-2 hours after lunch.
  • Hiatal hernia: This means the stomach is dislocated, often putting pressure on the LES and causing heartburn symptoms.
  • Obesity: Increased weight and belly fat can also expose your stomach and LES to additional pressure, bolstering the acid reflux. Among other amazing benefits, controlling the body weight may put an end to your heartburn problems .

What Makes Your Heartburn Worsen Over Time

Why do I get heartburn every time I eat or drink?

There are four common reasons for increased heartburn.

  • Aging muscles
  • Your muscles weaken as you grow older. And that includes one critical to fending off heartburn the lower esophageal sphincter.

    Food passes down your throat and through your esophagus to your stomach. This sphincter controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. It typically remains tightly closed except when you swallow food. But as you age, it can weaken and stop functioning properly.

  • Weight gain
  • Many older adults carry extra weight that can weaken the sphincter further. And, for reasons that arent entirely clear, the risk and severity of GERD is higher for those who are overweight, Dr. Gabbard says.

  • Medications
  • As you age, your health problems increase and so does your need for medication.

    Some blood pressure and antidepressant medications can cause heartburn. Also opiates, says Dr. Gabbard. Being overweight and taking certain medications may be the major driving factors for heartburn.

  • Hiatal hernia
  • With age often comes a hiatal hernia, where the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity.

    Sixty percent of people over 60 have a hiatal hernia, Dr. Gabbard says. Most are small and do not cause problems, but the larger ones put you at risk for heartburn.

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    What Are The Causes Of Heartburn While Running

    The symptoms of heartburn occur when the lining of the esophagus is irritated by stomach acids that have backed up into it. A band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus is called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. The LES opens to allow food into the stomach, and then closes. If this muscle becomes weak, stomach acids can escape. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat, trouble swallowing, a chronic sore throat, bad breath and many other symptoms. Various triggers set off heartburn symptoms running can be one of them. Lifestyle changes may help control the symptoms.

    Treating Heartburn During Pregnancy

    Check with your doctor before taking any OTC medications for heartburn. If you get the green light, make sure to follow both the doctors and the package directions and dont overuse.

    Liquid antacids may provide greater relief than other kinds, since they coat the stomach. Talk to your doctor about which treatments are best for you.

    The following home remedies may also help:

    • Warm milk with honey may soothe your stomach and reduce heartburn symptoms.
    • Resist the urge to lie down after eating and take a stroll, instead.
    • When you do sleep, try using your pregnancy pillow underneath your body from the waist up. This elevates your upper body while providing cushioning.

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    How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn

    Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:

    • Pepcid AC®.
    • Tagamet HB®.

    Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.

    Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.

    The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.

    Serious Side Effects Of Heartburn

    Get Relief from Frequent Heartburn

    Even if its not a heart attack, heartburn can be serious. Dangerous side effects and complications can result if you dont seek treatment. Some common side effects include:

    • Awaking from sleep, especially if youve eaten within two hours of going to bed
    • Esophageal cancer: if Barretts esophagus is not treated
    • Esophagus erosion: scarring, ulcers and narrowing of the tube
    • Barretts esophagus: precancerous condition from chronic acid reflux
    • Esophageal strictures and dysphagia: swallowing difficulties due to esophagus damage

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    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.

    Why Do I Get Heartburn When I Havent Eaten

    If you visit a doctor to talk about your heartburn, one of the first things they will ask is your diet.

    As most people know and what we constantly mention, heartburn is often caused by what you eat and what you drink, so your doctor wants to be sure you are eating a diet that wont provoke any additional symptoms before moving into treatment options.

    If youre getting heartburn without eating anything, here are some of the reasons:

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    When Should I Call My Doctor About My Heartburn

    Even though heartburn is common, it can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. Severe, chronic heartburn has been linked to inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough, GERD, and Barretts esophagus, which may lead to esophageal cancer.

    You should contact your doctor if:

    • Your heartburn wont go away.
    • Your heartburn symptoms become more severe or frequent.
    • Its hard or hurts to swallow.
    • Your heartburn causes you to vomit.
    • You have had substantial, unexpected weight loss.
    • You take over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks and you still have heartburn symptoms.
    • You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription medicines.
    • You have serious hoarseness or wheezing.
    • Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities.

    What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd

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    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.

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    Not All Of Them Are Obvious

    Feel like you just cant keep that nasty stuff in your belly from bubbling up into your throat? What youre experiencing might not be run-of-the-mill heartburn. It could be a case of gastroesophageal reflux diseaseGERD, for shorta condition that causes the acid and food in your stomach to rise into your esophagus, and sometimes even enter your mouth or lungs. GERD is far from rare: In fact, it occurs in 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the medical journal Gastroenterology. But there are also several factors that make some people an easier target for the disease.

    Everyone has a small, normal amount of gastroesophageal reflux, but an abnormal amount of acid reflux occurs when the one-way valve between the esophagus and the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, becomes too loose, says Ketan Shah, M.D., gastroenterologist at Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. This can occur for multiple reasons that cause intra-abdominal pressure to be abnormally elevated, including being overweight or obese, frequent overeating, lying down too soon after eating, chronic straining or coughing, or chronic heavy lifting. These are typically the people who are more susceptible to GERD.

    Heartburn won’t go away

    Bitter taste

    Trouble swallowing

    Heart Attack Feeling

    Coughing

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    How Does The Doctor Evaluate Heartburn

    Your doctor may order several different tests and take the following steps to evaluate persistent heartburn that hasn’t gone away even after you modify factors such as your diet:

    • Your doctor may ask for an EKG to help rule out heart-related problems.
    • Your doctor will perform an examination to see if you have any abdominal mass or a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach and the LES move above the diaphragm.
    • Your doctor will check your blood pressure.
    • Your doctor will take a careful medical history to see if medications are causing the problem.
    • Your doctor may ask for a gastric emptying study to see how fast food goes out of your stomach or a test to show how well the esophagus and the LES work.
    • Your doctor may refer you for an upper endoscopy. In this test, a flexible tube with a tiny camera helps the doctor assess the esophagus and look for damage or abnormalities.

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    Change Your Sleeping Position

    Even if you didnt eat for a few hours before you laid down to sleep, you could start feeling heartburn once you lay down immediately.

    Why does this happen if your body has already had ample time to digest?

    Simply put, the position that you are in when you lay on your back puts extra pressure on the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus.

    This sphincter is the LES, the muscle separating your stomach from your esophagus and is the root of acid reflux disorders.

    When the LES is pressed on when you lie down flat, it can cause reflux to occur.

    To avoid this, make sure you are elevating your head and shoulders when you sleep and not simply laying flat.

    This can easily be done by putting a few pillows behind you.

    What Is Indigestion

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    John has indigestion, a common digestive problem. Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia , is just another name for an upset stomach. Indigestion usually happens when people eat too much or too fast, or certain foods don’t agree with them. It might happen more often if you smoke, drink alcohol, are stressed out, or don’t get enough sleep.

    Sometimes indigestion can be accompanied by heartburn. Despite its name though, heartburn actually has nothing to do with your heart. It’s caused by stomach acid splashing up from the stomach and into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. This is called esophageal reflux, and it usually leaves a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.

    Indigestion and heartburn are common problems for people of all ages hence all those commercials for heartburn and indigestion medicines on TV. Some of the medicines you see advertised are OK for teens, but some of them are meant for adults. So before you start taking any medication for heartburn or indigestion, talk to your doctor.

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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.

    Got Heartburn Maybe You Should Rethink Your Drink

      • EmbedEmbed

      A waitress delivers a coffee and beer in Medellin, Colombia, in this 2010 file photo. Both drinks can trigger acid reflux.hide caption

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      Many of us experience heartburn, or reflux, from time to time and when we do, we’re quick to point the finger at heavy, fatty meals. But that burning, uncomfortable feeling may also be the result of what we’re drinking: namely, coffee and other caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.

      “Alcohol has a direct effect” on heartburn, says Kevin Ghassemi, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Temporarily, of course.”

      The reason, he explains, is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter located at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus.

      “The muscle is supposed to be closed, except when food is passing into the esophagus,” explains Ghassemi.

      But alcohol can relax the sphincter muscle and create an opening. When this happens, stomach acid “can come back up into the esophagus, and that’s reflux,” Ghassemi says. That’s what creates the burning sensation.

      Alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages can relax the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus, allowing stomach acid to come back up. Mayo Clinichide caption

      toggle caption

      It’s a similar story with caffeine. “The caffeine that’s in coffee or other caffeinated beverages also will relax the sphincter muscle,” he says.

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