The Basics of Heartburn And GERD

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. This happens when the acid in your stomach causes your esophagus to become irritated. If the valve on the top of your stomach isn't working properly, this can happen.

Many people feel heartburn from time to time. Although it can be uncomfortable, heartburn is not usually a major health issue.

If it happens often, you may have a more serious condition called GERD. Geroesophageal reflux disease is also known as GERD. Left untreated, GERD can sometimes lead to other problems, including:

Esophageal cancer symptoms include:

The sensation of burning in the chest behind your breastbone. It can happen after eating.

You should eat large amounts of certain foods such as onions, tomatoes, spicy or high-fat foods, or caffeinated drinks. Here are some tips that can be used to relieve, decrease, or prevent heartburn.

The head of the bed should be about 6 inches high. By doing this, gravity will help keep the contents of your stomach in check. Pillows should not be placed on top of each other. This can cause your condition to worsen by placing pillows on top of your head. To raise the bed, place blocks or bricks underneath the legs. Don't have any snacks or meals before bedtime. Eat smaller meals. Maintain a healthy weight. Avoid chocolate, caffeine, peppermint and tea. They can all cause an obstruction to the valve that lies at the end of your esophagus. Avoid tomatoes, citrus juices and citrus fruits. These foods contain acid, which could irritate your esophagus. If you are concerned about eating certain foods, talk to your doctor. To determine if certain foods are causing a problem, an elimination diet will require you to stop eating them. Avoid constipation. Stop smoking. Stop smoking. It relaxes your valve which allows for reflux. Loosen your belt and wear loose clothing. OTC medications are also known as "over-the-counter" medicines. You don't have to get a prescription. OTC medications include the following:

Antacids. Antibiotics neutralize stomach acid and relieve upset stomach. These medicines can help relieve symptoms such as heartburn, acid indigestion and stomach sourness. You can take them just as your doctor directs or you may follow the instructions on their label. Questions? Talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Take antacid tablets with a full stomach. Before swallowing, make sure to chew the tablet thoroughly. You will get faster relief if you do this. You may experience side effects if you use too many or accidentally consume too much. These side effects can be constipation or diarrhea and change in the color or pattern of your bowel movements.

Acid Blockers. These medications ease acid reflux, heartburn and acid indigestion. These drugs reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.

You can follow the instructions on the packaging or your doctor's directions. Ask your pharmacist or your doctor if you have any questions. You can also order prescriptions for certain over-the counter heartburn medications. Make sure to check with your insurance company. Prescriptions may be less expensive than over-the-counter. Side effects may include mild headaches, dizziness, or diarrhea. Side effects are typically temporary and usually resolve themselves on their own. These acid blocks can include:

Esomeprazole/Nexium, Famotidine/Pepcid AC, Zantac360 Lansoprazole/Prevacid), Nizatidine Omeprazole/Prilosec), Pantoprazole/Protonix. When do I need to see my doctor? If you experience confusion, heartburn, severe fatigue, chest tightness or bleeding, consult your doctor immediately.

If you feel any pain in your chest, burning sensations, or pressure that persists, seek immediate medical attention. They could also indicate a heart attack.

You should also seek medical assistance immediately if your stools are leaking blood, or resemble dark coffee grounds. If your stool is black or bloody (or maroon), consult a physician immediately.

Your doctor should be contacted if heartburn becomes severe, and if over-the counter medicines are not effective, or a longer time than 2 weeks. If you have difficulty swallowing or losing weight, your doctor can help. The doctor will examine you to determine the root cause and the best way forward.

What if I have regular heartburn? If you only have normal heartburn, it is unlikely that you will need surgery. While it is rare, an operation may be necessary if you have the following symptoms:

Others treatments didn't work. Your stomach valve isn't working properly. Your esophagus is affected by cancer. Keep in mind that trouble swallowing, and not heartburn or GERD, is the most common symptom of this type of cancer.