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Why Do I Get Heartburn All Of A Sudden

Causes Of Acid Reflux Disease

What Causes Heartburn Acid Reflux
  • Irregularities affecting the lower esophageal sphincter tend to occur in the elderly due to degeneration of esophagus. The reduction in function leads to digestive fluid and stomach acid being regurgitated into the esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation in the center of the chest. This type of acid reflux can also be brought on by taking some forms of medication, drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Abnormalities affecting esophageal contractions result in the esophagus being unable to squeeze the regurgitated acid back down into the stomach. This leads to stomach acid being stuck in the esophagus for longer than usual.
  • The stomach contracting less frequently means that not all the food being digested is forced down into the intestines. Food left in the stomach for an extended period leads to pressure that eventually forces open the esophageal sphincter, which in turn causes food and digestive fluids to flow up into the esophagus.
  • Other associated factors
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoke causes the stomach to produce a greater amount of acid and reduces the frequency with which the stomach contracts, resulting in digestive fluid and stomach acid being forced back up into the esophagus.
  • Stress is another factor that causes an excessive production of stomach acid which can bring on acid reflux disease.
  • Some food and drinks can cause the esophagus muscle to relax. These include high fat foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and peppermint.
  • 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.

    Telling The Difference Between A Heartburn & A Heart Attack

    Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Many people experience a feeling of burning in their lower esophagusclose to the entrance of their stomachbefore it moves up into the chest. That can be cause for concern, especially since heartburn is also a potential symptom of a heart attack.

    If the pain is not relieved shortly after taking antacids, or is accompanied by these symptoms, seek emergency medical care:

    Even if it is not a heart attack, it could be angina or another issue that needs to be addressed quickly.

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    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

    This is because these symptoms may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a stomach ulcer or stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy to rule out any serious cause.

    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.

    What Is Acid Reflux

    • Acid reflux means that some acid leaks up into the gullet .
    • Oesophagitis means inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus. Most cases of oesophagitis are due to reflux of stomach acid which irritates the inside lining of the oesophagus.

    The lining of the oesophagus can cope with a certain amount of acid. However, it is more sensitive to acid in some people. Therefore, some people develop symptoms with only a small amount of reflux. However, some people have a lot of reflux without developing oesophagitis or symptoms.

    Recommended Reading: Can Tea Give You Heartburn

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    How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn

    Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:

    • Tums®.
    • Maalox®.
    • Gaviscon®.

    Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.

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    How Are Gerd And Sleep Related

    GERD is often cited as a cause of sleeping problems, including in the National Sleep Foundations 2001 Sleep in America Poll. In a more recent survey of people with frequent heartburn, nearly 60% said it affected their sleep, and more than 30% said it hurt their daytime functioning.

    Flare ups of GERD symptoms after lying down can make it hard to fall asleep and can cause nighttime interruptions from heartburn, chest pain, and coughing. Studies in sleep clinics of people with GERD have found that these symptoms are correlated with lower sleep quality.

    Read Also: Home Remedies To Prevent Heartburn

    Should I Go To Er For Heartburn

    Tips to Relieve Heartburn Naturally

    Normally, heartburn doesnt need treatment in the ER. Over the counter remedies, such as antacids, are available to calm the burning effect and reduce the symptoms. You should seek medical advice, however, if the symptoms recur frequently or if you get any of the following additional symptoms: Breathing difficulties.

    Also Check: What Is The Difference Between Heartburn And Acid Indigestion

    When Should You Go To An Er For Acid Reflux

    Some people who experience acid reflux may think that other symptoms that might occur at the same time as reflux are simply part of the bodys reflux response. However, symptoms that go beyond regular heartburn are probably not just incidental and could be a sign of something more serious.

    These symptoms accompanying acid reflux should always mean a trip to the emergency room:

    • Feeling confused or sudden weakness
    • When the reflux moves/relocates from how you typically experience it
    • Fainting/loss of consciousness, even briefly
    • Vomit that has blood in it or is black
    • Stool that is black and/or accompanied by blood

    Possible Remedies For Heartburn In A Woman

    One of the most trusted treatments for heartburn is to control the unwanted production of stomach acids. Several lifestyle remedies can assist you to prevent heartburn such as:

  • Keep a track of existing medications.
  • Eat small meals however, you can consume in multiple shifts.
  • Stay fit by following fixed exercise routines.
  • Reduce weight.
  • Monitor triggers and make efforts to avoid them. For example, you may start avoiding eatables like orange juices, lemon, tomatoes, acidic food, soft drinks, gassy food, full cream milk, spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol etc.
  • Avoid straining and heavy lifting.
  • Do not eat before going to bed.
  • Follow limited fat intake.
  • Read Also: Natural Ways To Cure Heartburn

    Should You Be Worried About Frequent Heartburn

    It is common to experience a little heartburn after eating spicy foods or drinking alcohol. It may feel like chest pain or burning after eating, a sour taste in the back of the throat or hoarseness. But suffering daily, long-lasting or frequent heartburn symptoms should not be ignored and may indicate a more serious condition.

    It is common to experience a little heartburn after eating spicy foods or drinking alcohol. It may feel like chest pain or burning after eating, a sour taste in the back of the throat or hoarseness. But suffering daily, long-lasting or frequent heartburn symptoms should not be ignored and may indicate a more serious condition.

    As many as 15 million Americans suffer from daily heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease . This chronic but treatable condition refers to irritation and damage to the lining of the esophagus from prolonged exposure to stomach acid. This damage occurs because of a weakening of the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach which allows acid to leak up into the esophagus.

    Typical treatments for GERD may include medication to reduce stomach acid and simple lifestyle changes to help reduce the reflux symptoms such as avoiding trigger foods, decreasing portion sizes, losing weight, quitting smoking, elevating the head of the bed, and not eating before bedtime.

    Read Also: Why Do I Only Get Heartburn At Night

    Unusual Symptoms And Gerd

    Chronic heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. Acid regurgitation is another common symptom. But numerous unusual symptoms other than heartburn may be associated with GERD.

    These less common symptoms may include:

    • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
    • Waterbrash
    • Chronic irritation in the throat
    • Hoarseness in the morning
    • A sour taste
    • Bad breath

    The good news is that these symptoms often are very responsive to medical therapy and minor changes in lifestyle, and they rarely become lifelong problems.

    Also Check: What To Do For Really Bad Heartburn

    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.

    Which Alcohol Is Best For Acid Reflux

    Gin, tequila, and non-grain vodkas have the lowest pH level and will be the easiest on your stomach if you choose beverages made with these alcohols. Generally, youll get the best results from a drink made with a light juice such as apple, pear, or cranberry, but sometimes you just want that citrus kick.

    Also Check: Baking Soda To Stop Heartburn

    Does Acid Reflux Develop Suddenly

    Pam from Houston Sent us this question: These acid reflux symptoms came over me suddenly. I am slim and eat very healthy. Never have digestion issues.

    I am seeing a Chiropractor for adjustments for a spinal compression injury, which has finally taken its toll . Sciatica/Piriformis pain.

    Two nights ago, pain was so relentless I took severe measures: stacking pillows high under my ankles to butt, with head lying down lower on a small neck pillow.

    Next day: Sour taste in mouth, burning, nauseated feeling from throat to stomach and sharp pain from middle of back to stomach. Swallowing difficulty. Just feel like I need to throw up.

    Dear Pam:

    Acid reflux is a chronic and progressive disease. GERD symptoms start mild and barely noticeable. Initially, you may feel some heartburn after a heavy or spicy meal. You may experience occasional food regurgitation when bending over or when sleeping at night. With time, however, symptoms like heartburn, cough, sore throat and food regurgitation increase in intensity and frequency. GERD symptoms become independent of food intake. At this stage, you may develop heartburn just by drinking water or without eating anything.

    Recommended Reading: Does Ice Pack Help Heartburn

    Preventing Acid Reflux Disease

    7 Things to Try to Reduce Your Acid Reflux
    • Avoid foods that cause excess stomach acid production, such as fatty and rich foods, cut out caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and give up smoking.
    • Reduce stress, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly.
    • Regulate weight by maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly.
    • Immediately after eating, avoid exercising or doing anything that involves bending over. Instead, wait around 23 hours for your food to digest.
    • Do not lie down straight after meals you should wait at least 3 hours for your food to digest.

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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



    How Is Indigestion Diagnosed

    Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may order tests to determine the cause of indigestion. Those tests can include blood work, urine/stool tests, or an X-ray or ultrasound. Sometimes your doctor may perform an upper endoscopy to see inside your stomach. Your doctor will insert a thin tube with a camera on the end into your esophagus. This will be done after youre given medicines to go to sleep.

    Also Check: Can Tomatoes Give You Heartburn

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    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:

    • Onions.
    • 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.

    How Gastroenterologists Help With Gerd

    The key to treating your GERD: a board-certified gastroenterologist

    If you are suffering from chronic acid reflux, a specialist can help. GERD is a potentially serious condition, and it will not go away on its own. Untreated GERD can lead to inflammation of the esophagus and cause complications like ulcers, strictures and increased risk of Barretts esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.

    A gastroenterologist is a physician with specialized training in managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract . Our gastroenterologists are fellowship-trained and qualified to diagnose GERD and help develop a meet your treatment plan.

    Also Check: When Does Heartburn Stop During Pregnancy

    Is Salad Good For Acid Reflux

    Salads are good news for those with chronic heartburn or GERD if you have the right salad dressing and ingredients, that is. High-fat foods are a known trigger for acid reflux, so the National Heartburn Alliance recommends avoiding creamy salad dressings, as well as oil and vinegar.

    What Causes Heartburn In Women

    Heartburn happens when the acids in stomach break up into the esophagus, a muscular tube which assists to provide a path to food from mouth to stomach. As per the American College of Gastroenterology, almost 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn. This condition is also named as acid reflux. Note that the symptoms of acid reflux may vary from person to person but it often includes some burning sensation in the chest area. Anyone ranging from children to older people including men and woman can experience heartburn but the chances are more in women.

    Read Also: How To Ease Bad Heartburn

    Tests And Surgery For Heartburn And Acid Reflux

    If medicines do not help or your symptoms are severe, a GP may refer you to a specialist for:

    • tests to find out whats causing your symptoms, such as a gastroscopy
    • an operation on your stomach to stop acid reflux called a laparoscopic fundoplication

    Page last reviewed: 09 September 2020 Next review due: 09 September 2023