When Heartburn Becomes Acid Reflux
There is a fairly simple way to know if heartburn is caused by gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. As Andrew Gawron, MD, a gastroenterologist with University of Utah Health puts it, The definition of gastroesophageal acid reflux disease is when reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus cause troublesome symptoms or complications that impact the quality of life.
In other words, if heartburn is frequent enough that it causes problems that make your quality of life diminished, you may have acid reflux disease. This might mean that youre unable to sleep at night because of pain, or you might go so far as to find that acid is eating away at the lining of the throat or esophagus. In some cases, GERD can also predispose someone to a pre-cancerous condition in the esophagus called Barretts esophagus.
Tips To Keep Heartburn On The Backburner
To prevent occasional bouts of heartburn, try taking the following five steps:
1. Avoid eating within three hours of the time you go to bed.
2. Take any acid suppressant medication, such as a proton pump inhibitor, first thing in the morning. “Because of the way proton pump inhibitor-type medications activate, it’s not helpful to take these medications at night on an empty stomach,” says Brown.
3. Sleep on a slight incline, with your head elevated, and/or sleep on your left side. If you have chronic heartburn, falling asleep in the wrong position enables acid to sneak into the esophagus. Keeping your head raised slightly keeps that from happening. Studies have also found that while sleeping on the right side actually aggravates heartburn, flipping over to your left side is likely to calm it, although the reason why is unknown.
4. Avoid foods that may cause acid reflux, such as peppermint, coffee and chocolate. “Interestingly, spicy foods haven’t been shown to cause heartburn,” says Brown. “And there’s some evidence that spicy foods may actually protect the body from ulcers.”
5. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, quit. Not only does smoking relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to move up into the esophagus where it doesn’t belong, but it also can slow the production of saliva, which protects against acid in the esophagus.
Home Remedies: The Discomfort Of Heartburn
Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest, just behind your breastbone. Technically called gastroesophageal reflux disease , heartburn occurs when stomach contents back up into your esophagus. Sour taste and the sensation of food coming back into your mouth may accompany the sensation. Heartburn usually happens after you’ve eaten a meal, and it may occur at night. The pain usually worsens when you’re lying down or bending over.
Why does food back up into your esophagus? Normally, a strong band of muscle closes off the bottom of the esophagus and opens to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again. If the muscle relaxes abnormally or becomes weakened, stomach contents can wash back up , irritating the esophagus.
Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people manage the discomfort on their own. More frequent heartburn that interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of something more serious that requires assistance from your doctor.
To avoid or minimize the effects of heartburn, you should:
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Heartburn Is Common But It Can Also Be Quite Serious
Heartburn is the burning feeling you get in your chest when food in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. Unfortunately, heartburn is extremely common, with an estimated 60 million Americans experiencing heartburn at least once a month. Nearly 15 million Americans experience heartburn every day.
When you feel heartburn, it means you have gastroesophageal reflux. The reflux is acidic stomach juice thats flowing back up into your esophagus. It irritates the delicate lining of your esophagus and can be painful. The acid reflux backs up into your neck and throat. Frequent acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Why Does Yogurt Give Me Heartburn
Yogurt has exceptional nutritional value. It is rich in protein, vitamins, calcium, and probiotics that are essential to maintain gut health. Yogurt intake will help your body by killing harmful bacteria and making good bacteria grow. It will also boost your immune system.
But unfortunately, some people dont react well to yogurt. Many people have reported getting heartburn after consuming yogurt.
So, you might be wondering, why does yogurt give me heartburn?
Gut bacteria produce some forms of stomach acid. In some individuals, the production may be higher than usual histamine release will be triggered, and that might contribute to creating stomach acid reflux which, in other words, is known as heartburn.
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Steer Clear Of Spicy Foods
Foods with a fiery, spicy flavor may add some kick to your diet, but you’ll feel that kick burning in your chest again when heartburn happens. Spicy dishes containing a variety of chile peppers and related ingredients like cayenne pepper are well-known heartburn triggers, though some people can tolerate them. Consider dialing down the level of spices in your home-cooked meals and, when eating out, always ask about any spices included in dishes youre ordering.
What You Can Do To Prevent It
Know your body and your current level of training. While even the most highly trained athletes can experience heartburn on the court, field, or locker room, says Machowsky, pushing yourself too hard, too fast can be a recipe for disaster. “If you go too hard, too quick, and there’s a big jump in intensity, that can trigger it,” he says. “Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.”
If you just can’t kick the heartburn, make a checklist. “Take these potential factors and identify if you fall into this bucket,” says Machowsky. “Does it happen during Tabata or during a bench press? Identify those things and modify them or adjust them to get it to stop.”
The one thing you never want to stop doing, however: exercising. Ironically, regular exercise actually minimizes the risk of getting GERD in the first place as it keeps weight under control, he says. “If you get heartburn, it doesn’t mean to stop exercising altogether. The key is making modifications.”
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What’s Normal With Heartburn
“Heartburn should never be considered normal,” says Galier. Food is often the culprit. People with heartburn typically may be sensitive to foods such as chocolate, carbonated beverages, peppermint, coffee, citrus foods, fried and fatty foods, and spicy foods.
Having heartburn more than occasionally can reduce your quality of life. It can affect not just what you eat, but how you sleep and what activities you do.
And if heartburn from acid reflux persists and you don’t get treatment, complications can occur. They include damaging inflammation of the esophagus that affects the lining and causes bleeding. Another potential complication is Barrett’s esophagus. With Barrett’s esophagus the cells that line the esophagus become abnormal. That, in turn, boosts the risk of esophageal cancer.
How To Prevent The Heartburn
Still wondering “Why does water give me heartburn?” you may need to do something about it. The following is recommended if you often get heartburn after having a drink of water:
Avoid taking too much water at once. Instead, sip the water slowly.
Avoid drinking cold water. Opt to drink water that is either warm or at room temperature. Cold water can trigger esophageal spasms which can lead to heartburn.
Avoid taking water immediately before, during, or immediately after a meal. Form a habit of drinking water on an empty stomach instead.
You may also need to avoid other possible heartburn triggers that are complicated by drinking water including the following:
Excess caffeine and cocoa
Acidic food like orange juice and tomatoes
Fatty meals, including meat. These slow down digestion and therefore, emptying of the stomach.
Tight clothing around the waist
Lying down soon after eating
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Physiological Vs Mechanical Causes
Machowsky says there is a multitude of things that can cause heartburn , but that they all typically fall under one of two categories: physiological or mechanical.
Physiological influences include people who have regularly occurring acid reflux or GERD, as well bring significantly overweight, as that raises your risk of these GI symptoms in general.
Bridging the biological and mechanical gap, says Machowsky, is when blood flows away from the gut during high-intensity training in order to provide larger working muscles with adequate energy. This redistribution of blood causes a number of GI distresses like reduced digestion, diarrhea, and nausea.
Other mechanical causes are basically due to our exercise of choice. “Running and jostling your body up and down repeatedly, as well as impacted-based activity” can provoke heartburn says Machowsky. “The crouched position on a bike also puts additional stress on the LES,” he says.
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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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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Why Does Water Give Me Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid, and food mixture comes up into the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. Ordinarily, the lower esophageal sphincter prevents the stomach contents from entering the esophagus from the stomach, so that the acidic contents do not irritate the esophagus. Note that the LES and the stomach are equipped to withstand the acid unlike the esophagus.
When swallowing, the LES opens to let food or drink into the stomach. It may also open briefly when pressure builds in the stomach due to trapped gas, as happens when you belch. It could also open if your stomach is too full, or there is excess pressure due to tight clothing around the waist. In such instances, the acidic content may get into the esophagus, and cause some pain or discomfort.
But why does water give me heartburn? This can happen due to the following:
The average human stomach is the size of a clenched fist, whose capacity is about 900 ml . However, the stomach stretches to accommodate more content, although this is not advisable because it leads to a stuffed feeling.
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Lower Esophageal Sphincter Problem
The thing that basically always plays an important factor in heartburn and GERD is the lower esophageal sphincter . If you didnt know the LES is the valve above the stomach which is designed to open when you eat and drink. When you are not eating or drinking the LES is meant to close over to keep the acid inside the stomach as its meant to be.
The problems arise when the LES doesnt close. There are a lot of potential reasons that they LES might not close properly. Though if it doesnt close properly this is what can lead to the heartburn, indigestion, and chest pain even when you havent eaten.
There are countless things that can cause the LES to malfunction, its uncommon to be solely related to a direct LES malfunction. This is because it has often been caused by another factor like the diet and medication I mentioned already.
To mention another couple of reasons the LES can malfunction one is simply overeating. When I say overeating, I mean eating too much in one sitting.
Basically, when you eat too much like this puts more pressure on the stomach and this can lead to LES opening up due to this increased pressure. This repeated process over several years can weaken the LES over time which then can sometimes lead to the LES malfunctioning and not closing properly as it should.
This in turn leads to heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. Sometimes for certain people simply loosing some weight around this area can completely stop heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.
Can Exercise Be A Cause Of Heartburn
Exercise can trigger heartburn. Sometimes thatâs due to increased pressure on the abdomen, which can increase the risk of acid reflux. In one study looking at different types of exercise, weightlifters had the most heartburn and acid reflux. Runners had milder symptoms and less reflux than weightlifters. Cyclists had the least reflux.
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Is Heartburn A Sign Of Something More Serious
If youve ever had heartburn, you know how uncomfortable it can be. But did you know it could also be a sign of a more serious medical condition? Many people think nothing of it. Pop a Tums in your mouth and go on with your day. But frequent heartburn can lead to more serious medical conditions.
Heartburn is generally associated with a burning pain in the chest or throat. Some people have acid reflux, a condition where the liquid content of the stomach refluxes up into the esophagus- the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Two out of five individuals have heartburn at least once a month. One out of five has it on a weekly basis. And one in ten suffers from it daily.
Heartburn can lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease , Barretts Esophagus and, in a very small number of individuals, esophageal cancer. A person has GERD if he or she has reflux more than twice a week. In addition to the symptoms described above, coughing, asthma and laryngitis can also be symptoms of GERD. Some people show no symptoms at all.
When changes in lifestyle and modification to your diet dont work by themselves, medications, either over-the-counter or through prescription, may be recommended. Exercise is important if you are overweight. A person is most likely to have reflux when they are lying down. Avoid eating two or three hours before bed. An endoscopy is use to confirm GERD. In the case of Barretts Esophagus, a biopsy is also necessary.
What Can Trigger Heartburn
Heartburn can be triggered by many different things that are a part of your daily life. For many people, heartburn can be caused by certain eating and lifestyle habits. These habits can involve things like eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime or even having high stress levels.
Certain foods and drinks can also trigger heartburn for some people. Some foods and drinks that could trigger your heartburn can include:
- Caffeinated beverages.
- Carbonated beverages.
Your lifestyle habits can also play a part in why you might experience heartburn. These everyday factors often contribute to medical conditions that cause heartburn, like GERD or hiatal hernia. Some lifestyle habits that can trigger your heartburn include:
- Being overweight.
- Having a high stress level.
- Wearing tight clothes and belts.
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.
Take It Easy On The Tomatoes
These tasty, healthy fruits are unfortunately also very acidic and irritating to the stomach and esophagus. When coupled with stomach acids that creep up into the esophagus and cause uncomfortable heartburn, reflux just gets worse. Avoid tomatoes and tomato-based products this includes a wide range of foods, such as ketchup, pizza with tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and chili. Steer clear of them to better manage your heartburn.
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What Are The Risk Factors Of Heartburn
There is often no known reason for increases in heartburn. But occasionally one of the following factors may contribute:
This is the name for the condition where the upper part of the stomach has passed up through the hole in the diaphragm. This means the muscle fibres of the sphincter can’t press on the lower part of the food pipe. As a result, the lower part of the gullet is normally open, when it should be closed.
In people who are overweight, the fat in their abdominal cavity exerts more pressure on the stomach. This causes high pressure inside the stomach, and the contents of the stomach may then be pushed up into the food pipe. Weight loss will reduce the chance of stomach acid reflux.
In people who are overweight, the fat in their abdominal cavity exerts more pressure on the stomach.
During pregnancy, the enlarged uterus presses on the stomach. This causes the same kind of high pressure inside the stomach as in people who are overweight. The change that pregnancy brings to the balance of the hormones also leads to a general relaxation of the gullet sphincter.
Large meal portions
The risk of stomach acid reflux increases with more food in the stomach. The risk will be greater after large meals, where the food is in the stomach for a long time before it passes on to the intestines. If you avoid eating more than is necessary, the risk of stomach acid reflux is reduced.