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Heartburn

Heartburn is a problem associated with the acid reflux. Some of the contents of the stomach will be pushed back to the oesophagus wherein the person will experience pain in the lower chest. The oesophagus is the pipe which carries the food from the mouth to the stomach. A person suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) will experience heartburn. If you are experiencing acid reflux frequently, you should consult a physician immediately. The physician may refer the patient to the gastroenterologist.

Heartburn is a burning-like sensation in the chest. There will be soar taste at the back of the throat. Some people will suffer from regurgitation of food and a feeling of food being jammed in the throat. To avoid complications with the heartburn, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can manage the condition by going for a home remedy.

Symptoms of Heartburn

-  Burning in the middle of the chest

-  There will be a feeling of warmth or burning sensation in the chest or throat due to the presence of stomach acid

-  The pain may raise and reach the jaw

-  Burning pain similar to indigestion

-  Foul taste in the mouth

-  Pain just behind the breastbone

-  Bitter or acidic taste in the mouth

-  The pain will increase after lying down or bending

-  The burning sensation is prominent during nights and after taking food

-  The difficulty in swallowing

-  Nausea or vomiting

-  Weight loss due to poor appetite

-  Difficulty in eating

-  When you experience heartburn, there will be a bitter taste in your mouth or throat

-  Heartburn symptoms are common and they can be treated very easily by following the home remedies. However, the frequent episodes deserve the medical attention.

-  Alcohol or some other triggers will start the irritation or worsen the condition.

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Heartburn Causes

The contents of the stomach will flow back into the oesophagus when you are suffering from heartburn. The food and fluids that you eat will be carried by the oesophagus.

If you are suffering from occasional heartburn, there will not be any issues. However, you should want to consult a doctor if there are periodic episodes. If you are suffering from GERD, the gastroenterologist is the right professional to address your needs. The issues associated with the gut will be assessed by the doctor and the right kind of treatment will be prescribed to the patient. There are various reasons that lead to heartburn. The food habits, lifestyle and fitness will influence the condition.

-  There will be burning sensation either in the throat or chest due to the buildup of acid in the stomach

-  The heartburn will not have great influence on your health

-  Some people will experience heartburn due to obesity or smoking

-  Pregnant ladies may suffer from heartburn and indigestion due to hormonal changes

-  Certain food items can trigger heartache. They include spicy food items, citrus products, chocolate, fatty meals, peppermint, carbonated beverages, and caffeinated beverages

-  Some people will experience heartburn due to hiatal hernia. There will be heartburn when a part of the stomach will push into the diaphragm and into the chest.

-  In pregnant ladies, the lower oesophagal sphincter will relax due to the progesterone hormone. There will be an irritation when the contents of the stomach will travel back to the oesophagus.

-  In some ladies, the pregnancy can aggravate the condition. There is a possibility of the weakened lower oesophagal sphincter (LES). The condition will be overcome after the delivery of the baby. About 17% to 45% of pregnant ladies will suffer from the condition.

-  If the cardiac sphincter does not work properly, some people will experience heartburn.

-  You should be aware of the causes and symptoms of heartburn. If you cannot differentiate the symptoms of heartburn and symptoms associated with other health condition such as a heart attack, you should get the medical attention immediately.

-  The remedies should be applied under the guidance of a qualified medical professional.

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How is it diagnosed?

-  If there is severe pain, you should seek immediate medical attention.

-  To determine the heartburn associated with the GERD, the doctor will recommend X-Ray, endoscopy, oesophagal motility testing or ambulatory acid probe test.

-  The shape and condition of the stomach will be observed with the X-Ray

-  The abnormalities in the oesophagus will be determined by endoscopy. By conducting a biopsy, the condition of the oesophagus will be assessed.

-  The duration of the backup of stomach acid into the oesophagus will be determined with the ambulatory acid probe test. An acid monitor will be placed in your oesophagus and it will be connected to a small computer worn around the shoulder.

-  By conducting the oesophagal motility test, the movement and pressure in the oesophagus will be assessed.

-  The acid present in the oesophagus will be detected with the help of the pH test.

As per the diagnosis, the doctor will offer various options for the patient. The treatment is intended to reduce or eliminate the symptoms. There will be a focus on the reduction of the acid reflux. If the production of the acid is reduced in the stomach, there will be a great improvement in the patient’s health.

The acid production in the stomach will be stopped immediately by using the antacids such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Nexium.

Prevention

By implementing lifestyle remedies, it is possible to prevent heartburn associated with GERD. The production of acid in the stomach will be reduced.

-  You should follow a healthy diet routine to prevent acid reflux

-  The intake of fat should be limited on a daily basis and in each meal

-  You should avoid eating before lying

-  There are various triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, milk, spicy food, and soft drinks which should be avoided

-  Acidic food such as lemon, tomato and orange juice may increase the condition

-  If you are obese, steps should be taken to reduce the weight

-  Smoking should be avoided

-  If the underlying issue aggravates due to the medication, the medication should be reviewed

-  You should distribute the food in small quantities at regular intervals

-  Before eating food, you can take yoghurt or milk with little honey

-  You should take steps to maintain a healthy weight as part of the lifestyle change. If you are obese, there will be excess pressure on the stomach and the acid will flow back into the oesophagus.

-  Tight-fitted clothing should be avoided so that there will not be pressure on the stomach

-  You should wait for at least 3 hours after taking food. If you lie down immediately after the food, the chance of heartburn will increase.

-  You should also avoid taking food late in the evening

-  You can take steps to elevate the head or the portion from the waist

-  If you are experiencing heartburn after eating specific food items, you should want to avoid them.

-  Before starting the medication for the heartburn, you should ensure that your healthcare provider is aware of your current medications. Even though there are many kinds of over-the-counter medications, you should get the consent of the doctor before taking the medication.

-  To avoid further complications with the intake of existing medications, you will want to share your health history and prescribed medication with the doctor. The information about the intake of healthy food items should be informed to the patient.

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Heartburn Treatment

-  Apart from lifestyle changes, there are various drugs which will decrease the heartburn in a very efficient manner. Some drugs which can be used in this direction include antacids, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine-2 blockers.

-  The acid present in the stomach will be neutralized with the application of antacids. There will be very quick relief by taking antacids. However, there will not be a cure for the damage done by the oesophagus.

-  H-2-receptor antagonists have the capability to reduce the acid present in the stomach. Even though H-2-receptor antagonists do not provide quick relief like antacids, they will provide relief over a long period of time.

-  The stomach acid can be reduced by using proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid 24HR, omeprazole.

-  If there is no relief after using the over-the-counter medication, you should go for prescribed medication after the diagnosis.

-  If a pregnant lady is suffering from heartburn, home remedies are suggested.

-  By implementing the laparoscopic surgical procedure, you can overcome the heartburn in the best possible way. If you have implemented the lifestyle and food changes without substantial gain, you should want to go for the special medical procedure such as laparoscopic surgery.

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Complications

-  If heartburn is more severe and interferes with your daily activities, you should get immediate medical attention.

-  If a patient experience severe chest pain or pressure along with other signs and symptoms such as pain in the jaw or arm, immediate medical attention is warranted.

-  The heartburn along with breathing difficulty may be a symptom of a heart attack

-  If you experience  heartburn for more than 2 times in a week, you should take an appointment with the doctor

-  If you are suffering from GERD, you will want to go for prescription medication. Some patients require surgery to overcome the issue.

-  GERD has the potential to damage the oesophagus or it can lead to Barrett’s oesophagus.

-  If you are suffering from dizziness along with the heartburn, you should consult the doctor immediately.

-  The pain that radiates from the back to the shoulder should not be neglected and the patient should get immediate medical attention.

-  By using the antacids, it is possible to reduce the acid reflux. However, patients may suffer other side effects. Some patients will suffer from constipation or diarrhoea due to the presence of antacids.

-  Most of the people will suffer from heartache after eating the food. However, it can awaken them while sleeping as well.

-  Heartburn can associate with other kinds of issues such as sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, sore throat, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing.

-  Prescribed medication should be used as per the instructions of the doctor so that the heartburn condition can be managed without any issues.

Myths

Myth #1: Heartburn cannot be managed

Most people will manage the heartburn very easily. If there is occasional heartburn, there is no cause for worry. The discomfort and pain can be overcome by making lifestyle changes.

Myth #2: There will not be any change by avoiding fried foods

If you are suffering from heartburn at a consistent pace, you should avoid spicy food items. Fried food items and peppermint should be avoided so that there will not be severe health complications.

Myth #3: Tests are not conducted to evaluate heartburn

The evaluation of heartburn will be done in the best possible way by conducting various kinds of tests. The doctor may suggest endoscopy, upper GI series and ambulatory pH testing.

Myth #4: Lifestyle changes will not have an impact on heartburn frequency

By making changes to your lifestyle, there will be a positive impact on your health. You can avoid food items which trigger the irritation. You should maintain a food journal alert so that get an alert to avoid food items that increase the irritation in the throat.

Myth #5: No surgery is necessary to overcome the heartburn

In severe cases, the heartburn will be addressed by the surgery. The surgery will be the last option to overcome the severity of the condition.

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Conclusion

There will be discomfort with the burning pain in the chest or throat. The heartburn will lead to pain just behind the breastbone. The pain will increase during the evening or lying condition. To prevent or improve the heartburn symptoms, you should want to make changes to the lifestyle. The behavioural changes will have a positive impact on your health. If you are suffering from occasional heartburn, there will not be any issues. However, frequent recurrence should be addressed by a competent doctor so that you can overcome the issue very easily.

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Last updated on : 25-10-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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