What is Heartburn
A burning discomfort in the chest, immediately behind the breastbone, is known as heartburn. Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a disorder in which stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining.
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle that prevents food and liquid from passing from the esophagus to the stomach. This muscle doesn’t always contract entirely, allowing stomach acid to seep back into the neck or esophagus.
Sore throat, hoarseness of voice, and a terrible taste in the mouth are all indications of heartburn. GERD is a condition that occurs when these symptoms become recurring and severe. Heartburn (pain in the upper abdomen and chest that feels like you’re having a heart attack) is the most prevalent symptom of GERD.
After eating, in the evening, or when lying down or bending over, the discomfort is frequently worse.
There is nothing alarming about occasional heartburn. The discomfort of heartburn is usually manageable by lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.
When your heartburn becomes more frequent or interferes with your daily routine, it may be a sign of a more serious health condition.
Heartburn can cause the following symptoms:
- There is a burning sensation in the chest after eating and at night
- With worsening pain when you lie down or bend over
- Bad breath with a bitter or acidic taste
When should you see a doctor?
If you have significant chest pain or pressure, seek medical care right away, especially if it’s accompanied by other signs and symptoms like arm or jaw discomfort or difficulty breathing. Chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor.
- More than twice a week, you have heartburn
- Despite the usage of over-the-counter drugs, symptoms continue
- You are having trouble swallowing
- You’ve been experiencing nausea or vomiting for a long time
- You’ve lost weight due to a lack of appetite or difficulties eating
What are the causes of heartburn?
Poor food or acid clearance from the esophagus or throat, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying are the three most common causes of GERD.
How to get rid of a heartburn using medication?
The quickest approach to get rid of heartburn is to take antacids. These over-the-counter drugs aid in the neutralization of gastric acid. They are one of the first treatments that are suggested.
Antacids could provide immediate relief. Overuse of antacids, especially those containing aluminum and magnesium, might result in diarrhea or chronic renal damage.
Heartburn can also be treated in a variety of ways.
H2 receptor blockers can help to lower the quantity of acid produced in the stomach. This prescription does not work as rapidly as antacids, but it lasts up to 12 hours and gives comfort. Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, Zantac, and Axid AR are all H2 receptor blockers. Although most people have no issues using them, long-term use can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can raise the risk of bone fractures.
Proton pump inhibitors block the production of acid in the body. They also aid in healing the lining of the esophagus. This class of drugs has a much higher potency than the H2 receptor blockers, such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, and Zegerid. These medications can cause diarrhea and nausea, vitamin B12 deficiency, and increased bone fracture risk when taken in excess.
Baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal) strengthens the lower esophageal sphincter muscle’s muscular valve. Some people, however, may experience nausea and exhaustion as a result of it.
Ziverel can also be used to treat and protect the oesophageal mucosa. It promotes mucosal healing and relieves burning and irritation. With Ziverel, symptoms like pyrosis, epigastric pain, acid reflux, irritative cough, and dysphonia can be treated immediately.
How do you get rid of heartburn naturally?
There are a few methods you can attempt to get rid of heartburn without resorting to medicine.
Acid reflux symptoms can be alleviated by leading a healthy lifestyle and decreasing weight. Weight growth puts a burden on the muscles that support the lower esophageal sphincter, lowering the pressure that keeps it closed. This causes heartburn and reflux.
Smoking cessation may assist to alleviate acid reflux symptoms. Nicotine causes heartburn symptoms by relaxing the esophageal sphincter.
To relieve acid reflux symptoms, avoid carbonated beverages and instead consume water instead of sparkling water. Carbonated drinks can cause a person to burp, which can cause acid to enter the esophagus.
To alleviate acid reflux symptoms, patients should attempt grazing (eating smaller meals more frequently instead of three large meals daily).
Eliminate some foods that are more likely to cause reflux than others. Mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol are examples of these foods.
Avoid eating late at night. Before going to bed, wait at least three hours after you’ve finished eating. Gravity alone helps keep acid in the stomach where it belongs when standing or sitting. There will be no afternoon naps, late suppers, or midnight nibbles.
Acid reflux symptoms can be alleviated by avoiding strong exercise or strenuous workouts for a few hours after eating.
Try to figure out which medications are causing your heartburn. Postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory drugs are examples of medications that can relax the sphincter or irritate the esophagus.
The majority of acid reflux happens during sleeping. Patients may need to elevate their heads above their stomachs at night to avoid attacks. Raise the head of the bed by at least 30 degrees. The head of the bed can be raised using a strong foam-rubber wedge or bricks placed under the bedposts. Avoid resting flat on your back, especially after eating.