A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux
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.
What Are The Symptoms
Heartburn refers to a burning feeling in the chest or throat.
Sometimes people with heartburn:
Regurgitate their food. When the lower esophageal sphincter opens, food can move out of the stomach and into the esophagus. The food can then rise into the chest, throat, or mouth.
Have chest pain. Some people with heartburn will feel chest pain or pressure because of acid reflux.
Have trouble swallowing. Some people with heartburn also have trouble swallowing. This is because of the injury and scarring that can occur from long-term acid reflux.
Belch more than usual because the LES opens more often.
Feel like gas or air is trapped inside their chest. Some people even describe a fizzing sensation, like bubbles popping inside their chest.
Feel nausea or queasiness.
Develop head and neck symptoms like sore throat, a nagging cough, or earaches.
If you plan to see a doctor for heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, then it will be important to describe the symptoms you are experiencing. The My History function of MyGiHealth asks more about heartburn, reflux, and regurgitation, and can help you describe translate your symptoms into doctor talk should you plan to see a healthcare provider.
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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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:
Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own
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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Throwing Up Liquid In Your Mouth
When the volume of gastric content refluxing into the esophagus is high enough, a sensation of liquid coming up the chest can be felt, says Dr. Gyawali. Doctors call this acid regurgitation.” Basically, youll feel like you just threw up a little in your mouth. The liquid may be warm and have a sour, salty, or acidic taste. Some people also feel like they have something stuck in their throat or chest.
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.
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Other Causes Of Morning Heartburn
Although GERD is a common reason for heartburn in the morning, there are other reasons that someone can experience heartburn during this time. Some factors include your activities the night before and lifestyle habits. Other factors include:
- Having a high stress level
- Hiatal hernia
- Wearing tight clothes and belts
- Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus
- Alcoholic beverages
Your healthcare provider can help you create a list of foods to remove and incorporate into your diet that will help treat your GERD symptoms. It is important to work with your healthcare provider, continuing to take your medicineif prescribedand following a plan that will help you have the best outcome regarding your condition.
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.
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Diagnosis And Tests For Acid Reflux
Doctors typically start by asking questions about your medical history and how long youve been experiencing symptoms of acid reflux. They usually move on to performing a physical exam. Your physician may also recommend other tests to determine whether you have GERD or another kind of acid reflux, like:
- Endoscopy A thin, flexible tube gets inserted down your throat. The end contains a light and a camera, which allows a doctor to view the inside of the stomach and esophagus.
- Ambulatory acid probe test Your doctor places a monitor into your esophagus to observe when your stomach acid regurgitates, and for how long. The monitor feeds information to a small computer worn around your waist or held up by your shoulder with a strap. It typically passes out of your body through stool after a few days.
- Digestive system x-ray After drinking a special liquid that coats your digestive tract, your doctor takes x-rays that lets doctors see the outline of your stomach, esophagus, and lower intestine. Your physician may also ask you to take a barium pill that helps diagnose whether you have an esophageal stricture.
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.
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Chest Tightness Or Pain
Some people with heartburn experience chest pains or chest tightness, not simply a burning sensation in the chest. The first step is to make sure its not from cardiac issues, Dr. Gyawali cautions. Cardiac disease can be deadly, while esophageal reflux symptoms are mostly an annoyance. If you have heart issues and heartburn, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy
Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:
- you are 55 years old or over
- you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
- you have increasing difficulty swallowing
- you have persistent vomiting
- you have a lump in your stomach
- you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools
An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .
Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible complications of severe indigestion.
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Is It Heartburn Or Is It:
A Heart Condition
If youre getting the classic symptoms of heartburn, taking antacid medication will usually bring relief. However, Desi cautions about more alarming symptoms: Numbness radiating down the arm or jaw, pain radiating down the back, or shortness of breath. You want to make you dont have any other associated symptoms that would go along with heart problems, he says.
Adding to the issue, some people may not experience symptoms indicating a heart problem. It can be a challenge to distinguish heartburn from heart disease. Medical professionals, just by symptoms alone, can determine the likelihood that somebody is having indigestion, reflux, heartburn, or a heart problem based on their symptoms, but its not always 100 percent.
Esophageal SpasmA spasm of the esophagus can cause chest pain. Heartburn is more of a burning sensation, whereas a spasm in the esophagus is more of a sharp pain, Desi explains. You really have to rule out heart problems first, and then see a gastroenterologist or your primary care physician to look into this. Outside of heart disease, most other conditions arent going to cause major problemstheyre just uncomfortable.
GastroparesisPeople with diabetes can experience problems with the gastrointestinal tract, mainly that the GI tract will slow down over time. The reason: If it takes a while for food to empty, youre more likely to have reflux.
Stop Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Fortunately, you have several options for heartburn relief:
- Try eating smaller meals, and don’t eat two to three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid foods that may trigger heartburn, such as fried food, citrus, tomato, spices, peppermint, chocolate, and carbonated drinks.
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
- Stop smoking if you smoke.
- Lose weight if your doctor says you’re overweight.
- Cut back on aspirin and pain relievers if you take them often.
Talk with your pharmacist about other self-care tips you can use. If changing your style of eating isn’t enough, consider trying one of these heartburn medications.
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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
Heart Attack Feeling
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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When Is Heartburn Considered Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Its that familiar burning or painful sensation in the chest that pretty much everyone has experienced often enough to immediately declare it a case of heartburn. However, some people arent sure if what the heartburn they feel is normal or a more serious, common condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
Indigestion can be a sign of a serious health problem. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have indigestion and any of these symptoms:
- Frequent vomiting
- Weight loss or not feeling hungry
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
- Sudden sharp pain in your belly or abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, or arm
- Difficult, painful swallowing
- Yellow coloring of your eyes or skin
Also call your healthcare provider if you have indigestion that lasts longer than 2 weeks.
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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.
What Is The Treatment For Heartburn
The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a stepwise fashion. For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications may be enough. The next step is nonprescription antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids. Other treatments include acid blockers and even surgery. In most cases, one or more of these treatments provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into a more serious disease.
I take nonprescription antacids for heartburn, but they don’t seem to help.
Nonprescription antacids are only part of the treatment for heartburn. They can work very well, but these antacids alone usually can’t stop heartburn. A health care professional will probably recommend that the patient make lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments.
What kind of lifestyle changes and remedies can I make to reduce heartburn?
Try any or all of the following:
Will these changes stop the heartburn?
They may. If they don’t, adding a nonprescription antacid can be helpful.
How do antacids work?
What if lifestyle changes and antacids don’t work?
If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 blockers, or acid blockers. These drugs block the biochemical process that creates acid in the stomach.
What are acid blockers?
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What Are My Options If These Treatments Don’t Work
If a person continues to have heartburn, a health care professional may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide . This drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.
If a person still have symptoms, a health care professional will then recommend one of the drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole , lansoprazole , esomeprazole , rabeprazole , and pantoprazole . These tablets prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped. They may have to be used indefinitely.
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.
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