HHealth A - Z

Heartburn Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is heartburn?

It is a burning sensation or pain felt in the chest, right behind the breastbone. Often, the pain turns worse while bending over or lying down. If occurs occasionally, the condition is normal and tends to cause no harm. One can easily manage heartburn and discomfort associated with it by certain amendments in his or her lifestyle. However, few over-the-counter medications can also help. Frequent occurrence of heartburn that interferes with the day to day routine can be a signal towards a serious problem which needs immediate medical care.

What are the symptoms of heartburn?

Few of its common symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation or pain felt in your chest which can worse while bending over or lying down.
  • Usually, the pain occurs at night time or after having a meal.

When is the high time to consult a doctor?

In case of experiencing extreme pressure or pain in the chest, immediately consult your doctor. Moreover, call up for an appointment in case:

  • Experiencing persistent vomiting or nausea.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Frequent occurrence of heartburn.
  • Weight loss due to difficulty eating.
  • Symptoms continue even after taking over-the-counter drugs.

What causes heartburn?

When the stomach acid rolls up into your esophagus, heartburn occurs.

What are the risk factors of heartburn?

Some drinks and foods can cause heartburn such as:

  • Onions.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Tomato products for example ketchup.
  • Citrus products.
  • Peppermints.
  • Fried or fatty foods.
  • Fatty or large meals.
  • Chocolate.
  • Coffee, carbonated beverages or alcohol.

Being pregnant or overweight also raises the chances of heartburn.

What are the potential complications of heartburn?

Clearly, frequent occurrence of heartburn is termed is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause great damage to the esophagus, thus needs prescribed medication. In some cases, the doctor can suggest certain procedures or surgery to treat GERD.

How is heartburn diagnosed?

In order to find out if the patient’s heartburn is basically a sign of GERD, the doctor can suggest:

  • Endoscopy.
  • X-ray.
  • Ambulatory acid probe tests.
  • Esophageal motility testing.

How is heartburn treated?

There are certain over-the-counter medications that can help you ease the symptom of heartburn. Few options are:

  • H-2-receptor antagonists.
  • Antacids.
  • Proton pump inhibitors.

However, in case heartburn fails to respond over-the-counter medications, then consult your doctor.

Home remedies:

Certain changes in your lifestyle can greatly help ease the discomfort associated with heartburn, have a look:

  • Do not skip meals, take your meals on time, and avoid eating late.
  • Gaining healthy weight is very important, thus shed the extra pounds through regular exercise.
  • Avoid wearing extreme tight clothes.
  • Quit eating food known to trigger heartburn.
  • Quit consuming alcohol, quit smoking.
  • Do not lie down immediately after consuming meal.
  • Avoid fried or spicy food.
  • Regularly exercise for at least 25 minutes a day.
  • Avoid drink excessive amount of carbonated beverages or coffee.

By : Natural Health News


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