Heartburn is a discomforting burning sensation in your torso that often can go up your throat and chest. This is a common symptom of a variety of digestive conditions, including GERD, acid reflux, and pregnancy. Heartburn may last from a couple of minutes to a few hours. Your doctor will be able to give you a prescription for antacids or other medications to help relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
Heartburn, like so many other stomach disorders, can be caused by certain foods that you eat. There are two types of food that are recognized to trigger heartburn: gastric acid and protonated acidic gas. For years people have thought that smoking, or chewing tobacco, was what caused heartburn, but it has been found that certain foods can also cause heartburn. The American Heart Association and the American Gastricenteric Association agree that the consumption of certain foods can cause heartburn. They state that certain foods such as tomatoes, spicy foods, and citrus juices are known to cause heartburn.
Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. Antacids come in both liquid and tablet form. Some of the medications available over the counter will include such items as histamine receptor blockers and antacids for heartburn, rhizantheline bromide, and proton-pump inhibitors. If you experience severe heartburn frequently you will probably be given a prescription for a medication called H2 receptor antagonists. These medications will block the effects of histamine, which is what is believed to be the cause of heartburn.
Drinking soda may help reduce heartburn, but it may also contribute to the inflammation of your esophagus. If you find that your heartburn symptoms are severe and constant, you should drink more water and consider taking anti-cholinergic medications. Some of these drugs, such as alginates, reduce the level of stomach acid, which reduces the pain you feel. Anti-cholinergic medications should always be prescribed by a physician because side effects may include dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, and sweating.
Another common symptom of heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest and throat area. Sometimes this burning sensation can extend down the esophagus and into the stomach. Chest discomfort and difficulty breathing can also be a sign of heartburn. In some people, the pain can extend into the upper arms and legs. These additional symptoms of heartburn may also be due to other underlying causes, so you should contact your doctor immediately.
To determine if your heartburn is being caused by GERD, a doctor will have to do a series of tests. He or she will monitor your heart rate, the acid level in your stomach, and the flow of blood through your body. If the cause of your heartburn is GERD, then the doctor will need to do a more detailed exam and take a culture and test your esophagus.
Heartburn usually occurs when stomach acid and food back up in the esophagus and cause damage. If you have GERD, this can cause difficulties swallowing and can even lead to asthma attacks. You should never ignore a heartburn episode because it could be the beginning of esophagitis. Seek immediate medical attention and don’t take any chances.
If you want to prevent heartburn in the future, you will have to change your lifestyle and avoid certain foods and drinks. To prevent heartburn, eat smaller, frequent meals. Try to keep your stomach full at all times and avoid eating large meals just before bedtime. Eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones. These lifestyle changes will help to strengthen your heart and prevent heartburn in the future.
If you are experiencing occasional heartburn, you might want to consider changing your lifestyle. Even if you are not suffering from GERD or a chronic illness, having GERD can often lead to GERD if you have weak or undeveloped muscles in your esophagus. Therefore, it’s very important that you consult with a healthcare provider if you have persistent heartburn or any type of GERD.
There are several over-the-counter medications that can help to treat heartburn, but these types of medications are only effective for mild heartburn episodes. In order to prevent future bouts of heartburn, lifestyle habits are the key. Make sure that you eat a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Your healthcare provider may also suggest other lifestyle habits that can be beneficial to strengthen your heart and prevent heartburn in the future.
Some of the most common over-the-counter medications used to treat heartburn include antacids. Antacids provide immediate relief for heartburn and can reduce acid production in the stomach. These types of medications should not be taken for more than one or two days, as they can cause dehydration. Other medications that are commonly used to treat heartburn include acid blockers and histamine-receptor antagonists. Acid blockers lower the acid levels in your system and help to relieve symptoms while histamine antagonists block the release of histamine.