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How to Treat Symptoms of Heartburn
Heartburn, or acid indigestion, is a burning sensation in the center of the chest that gets worse when you bend over or lie down. It usually occurs after eating and at night. This is due to ebb and flow. Reflux occurs when your stomach acid backs up into your esophagus (esophagus), resulting in inflammation. If symptoms occur 2 times a week, it is considered a disease.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition that causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus due to muscle weakness where the esophagus ends and your stomach begins. GERD often interferes with daily activities and results in damage to your esophagus.
Symptoms include heartburn, vomiting or spitting up blood, bitter taste in the mouth, heartburn, dry cough, sore throat, painful swallowing and hoarseness.
Complications of GERD include scarring of the esophagus, bleeding into the stomach or esophagus, and ulceration of the esophagus or stomach. Risk factors for GERD include spicy or spicy foods
Hot foods, alcohol, soda, caffeine, fatty foods, gassy foods (some vegetables), pregnancy, obesity, smokers and those with abdominal hernia.
Treatments for GERD include:
Antacids help neutralize your stomach acid, but won’t treat esophageal inflammation. Excessive use may cause constipation and diarrhea.
Histamine-2 (H2) blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) may not be as good for treatment. Histamine stimulates acid production, especially after a meal, so H2 blockers are taken 30 minutes before a meal. They can also be taken at bedtime to prevent nighttime acid production. Examples of prescription H2 blockers:
These medications are useful for reducing heartburn, but may not be as good for treating esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus). Side effects may include headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, gas, sore throat, runny nose, and dizziness.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs that inhibit acid production more effectively and for a longer period of time than H2 blockers. It is best to take a PPI one hour before a meal. They include:
Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
Many doctors do not believe that one drug is more effective than another in treating GERD. These medicines are also good for protecting the esophagus from acid which can help cure esophagitis. Side effects may include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, nausea, and gas.
Avoid foods and drinks that cause heartburn. Fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, citrus fruits (pineapple, strawberry), vinegar, foods that can cause gas (pepper, cabbage,) and caffeine can cause heartburn. Don’t eat too much. Try to eat small frequent meals. Do not lie down after eating and wait 2-3 hours before sleeping or bending down to eat. Elevate the head of your bed. don’t smoke Avoid medications that can irritate your stomach, such as NSAIDs (Aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen). Losing weight can help reduce stomach acid pushing up the esophagus. Avoid wearing tight clothing.
If symptoms occur more than 2 times a week, and you have difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, or weight loss, seek medical attention if over-the-counter medications do not help.
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