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:
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.
Check If You Have Acid Reflux
The main symptoms of acid reflux are:
- heartburn a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
- an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth, caused by stomach acid
You may also have:
- a cough or hiccups that keep coming back
- a hoarse voice
Your symptoms will probably be worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.
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 To Do If Youre Experiencing A Heartburn
When in doubt about acid reflux, it is always better to be cautious and get it checked out at The Emergency Center, which has the tools and experts needed to determine the right diagnosis and start treatment.
The Emergency Center has diagnostic capabilities like ECG and advanced CT imaging to diagnose or rule out heart attack. Additionally, with an onsite lab and pharmacy, patients can find answers without the wait and get needed prescriptions before leaving. Whether it ends up being just a bad case of heartburn or something more serious, going to get evaluated is the first step in finding both care and something equally as important: peace of mind.
Enjoy life. Well be here for the bumps along the way.
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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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 Does Heartburn Feel Like
Heartburn typically feels like a burning in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also feel symptoms like:
- A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
- Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down.
- A burning feeling in your throat.
- A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Read Also: What Can I Do To Reduce Heartburn
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 Is The Difference Between Regular Heartburn And Gerd
Everyone has heartburn from time to time. Theres nothing unusual about that. Generally, taking an antacid helps. However, if youre popping Tums more than three times a week, its time to speak to your doctor.
The technical definition of GERD is mild acid reflux that occurs twice a week or moderate to severe acid reflux that occurs once a week. When over-the-counter medicines dont make a dent in the horrible heartburn, you likely have GERD.
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Diagnosing H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:
- a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
- a breath test
- a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria
Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.
Things To Stop Doing If You Have Gerd
When you suffer from chronic heartburn that can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease , this condition can affect your entire life. It may be necessary to stop eating some of your favorite foods. The heartburn may interfere with your sleep. It may even interfere with your availability to work well.
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How Long Can Heartburn Last
Since youre reading this, youve probably already experienced that burning sensation called heartburn. In case you havent, and are just here out of curiosity, then lucky you!
Despite being extremely uncomfortable, heartburn is normally not dangerous as that unpleasant feeling should pass soon enough. But if the pain just doesnt seem to go away, you might be wondering how long heartburn can actually last.
Its definitely good to be prepared, and at least have some idea about this incredibly annoying condition, so keep reading to find all the answers.
When You Have A Cough That Just Won’t Go Away
There are any number of reasons for why you may have a chronic cough, from a respiratory tract infection to bronchitis. But often, a chronic cough is a symptom of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease . It’s not just a persistent cough, though — heartburn frequently occurs in conjunction with symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing. Of course, you may not have the chest pain that accompanies heartburn, so you may not think that you’re actually seeing a doctor for heartburn until you get the diagnosis. Since the constant coughing can do damage to the esophagus, it’s important to seek treatment so that permanent harm isn’t done.
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A Digestive Problem That Affects Roughly 18 Percent Of The Us Population
More than 60 million people in the United States experience heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology .
The group also notes that according to some studies, over 15 million Americans have heartburn symptoms every single day.
Heartburn is more common in older people and pregnant women.
In fact, between 17 and 45 percent of pregnant women report episodes of heartburn, according to a study published in September 2015 in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.
Harvard Medical School notes that according to one survey, 65 percent of people with heartburn experience symptoms both during the day and at night.
Among those who report nighttime symptoms, 75 percent experience trouble sleeping as a result, and 40 percent say that it affects their job performance the next day.
While both occasional and frequent heartburn commonly cause discomfort, only about 6 percent of the population has heartburn that causes ongoing functional problems, according to the ACG.
Can You Have Acid Reflux And Not Know It
Acid reflux can manifest in different ways. Other patients may report extreme versions of acid reflux involving constant heartburn and regurgitation, while others might only report trouble swallowing and coughing.
Alternatively, there is another form of esophageal reflux that doesnt exhibit the same symptoms as GERD or heartburn. If youre experiencing classic reflux symptoms such as coughing and sleep apnea, you may be experiencing what is known as silent reflux.
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Surgery For A Hiatus Hernia
Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia. This involves making small cuts in your tummy .
Its done under general anaesthetic, so youll be asleep during the operation.
After surgery, it usually takes:
- 2 to 3 days to go home
- 3 to 6 weeks to go back to work
- 6 weeks before you can eat what you want
- a few months to recover from side effects like bloating, burping, farting and difficulty swallowing
Theres a small risk that your side effects will not go away and youll need more surgery.
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Can Acid Reflux Cause Gas
On average, healthy individuals pass gas 13 to 21 times a day. This gas is expelled through the mouth or anus . Gas accumulates in the digestive tract through eating or bacterial fermentation.
As digestive bacteria break down food, little pockets of air are created in the process. Because the bacteria in each human body is different, some people may be more tolerant of digesting certain food compared to other people.
How Are Acid Reflux and Gas Related
Excessive gas and acid reflux may exist simultaneously. A patient experiencing excessive flatulence may also experience bloating from acid reflux. While acid reflux does not directly cause gas, doctors believe that the two may be interlinked.
This is because certain conditions that trigger acid reflux can also trigger gassiness. Individuals who eat spicy and citrusy foods may increase their acidity levels while also triggering gassiness. Alleviating gassiness could coincidentally improve acid reflux symptoms because the circumstances that create these conditions tend to be similar.
Learn more about what food to avoid in this article: What Is the Best Breakfast for Acid Reflux Sufferers?
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
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Rare Symptoms Of Acid Reflux: When You Should Be Worried
Acid reflux may be a common gastrointestinal problem, but it turns out its symptoms are not always that common. From headaches to nerve pain, there are uncommon acid reflux symptoms that can cause alarm and panic to patients.
So, what are rare acid reflux symptoms? Headaches, dizziness, asthma symptoms, and nerve pain are among those considered to be uncommon but safe acid reflux symptoms. On the other hand, fever and intense pain accompanied by left arm pain are just two examples of potential medical emergencies for reflux patients.
Read on to learn more about the lesser known acid reflux symptoms, and whether or not they pose a health risk.
Arm Pain: Heartburn Or Something Else
Heart attack survivors often recount their first symptom as a heartburn-like sensation. Many patients explicitly use the word heartburn when recounting their cardiac experience. Patients often realize that their heartburn is in fact not reflux-related but heart-related when:
- There is a pain radiating up the arm, specifically the left arm
- They have no history of acid reflux
- There is a burning sensation in the chest
- They have not eaten anything prior to the pain
- The pain doesnt go away with antacid
If your heartburn symptoms dont go away after taking an antacid, and are accompanied by arm pain and back pain, we suggest going to an emergency facility immediately to get medical help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis
- Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
- Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
- A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
- Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
- Severe chest pain develops in some cases .
Are There Any Complications From Oesophagitis
- Scarring and narrowing . If you have severe and long-standing inflammation it can cause a stricture of the lower gullet . This is uncommon.
- Barrett’s oesophagus. In this condition the cells that line the lower oesophagus become changed. The changed cells are more prone than usual to becoming cancerous.
- Cancer. Your risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus is slightly increased compared to the normal risk if you have long-term acid reflux.
It has to be stressed that most people with reflux do not develop any of these complications. Tell your doctor if you have pain or difficulty when you swallow, which may be the first symptom of a complication.
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What Causes Acid Reflux And Whom Does It Affect
The circular band of muscle at the bottom of the gullet normally prevents acid leaking up . Problems occur if the sphincter does not work very well. This is common but in most cases it is not known why it does not work so well. In some cases the pressure in the stomach rises higher than the sphincter can withstand – for example, during pregnancy, after a large meal, or when bending forward. If you have a hiatus hernia , you have an increased chance of developing reflux. See the separate leaflet called Hiatus Hernia for more details.
Most people have heartburn at some time, perhaps after a large meal. However, about 1 adult in 3 has some heartburn every few days, and nearly 1 adult in 10 has heartburn at least once a day. In many cases it is mild and soon passes. However, it is quite common for symptoms to be frequent or severe enough to affect quality of life. Regular heartburn is more common in smokers, pregnant women, heavy drinkers, those who are overweight and those aged between 35 and 64 years.
What Is Indigestion
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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