How To Treat Chronic Heartburn
While uncomfortable, chronic heartburn can be managed by minor lifestyle changes. Limiting instances of heartburn can be as simple as finding a common root cause in your day-to-day behaviors. Some common lifestyle changes that limit chronic heartburn include:
- Avoid trigger foods and beverages .
- Lose some weight.
- Give up smoking or tobacco.
- Wait at least 2 to 3 hours after eating before lying down to sleep.
- Sleep with your head raised about 6 inches.
- Avoid exercise right after eating.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing or belts around the waist.
- Reduce stress.
Over-the-counter remedies coupled with lifestyle changes can be effective as well. For all medications, remember to pay close attention to the directions and warnings on the box. Antacids can neutralize stomach acid. OTC H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors can be used for more frequent or recurring heartburn. These medications reduce, in varying degrees, the amount of stomach acid your body produces to manage your symptoms and help you feel more comfortable.
What Kinds Of Complications Are Caused By Frequent Heartburn
- Excess stomach acid in the esophagus can cause ulcers, damage to the inner layers of the esophageal wall, and narrowing .
- Very rarely, the esophagus may bleed or tear completely because it is so damaged. In severe cases, a person may vomit blood or have small amounts of blood in bowel movements, found only on testing the stool.
- Regurgitated stomach acid can damage the respiratory tract, causing asthma, hoarseness, chronic cough, sore throat, or tooth damage . A person may feel as if he or she has a lump in the throat.
- If the acid exposure continues for long periods of time, the esophagus becomes thick and damaged. A person may then have difficulty swallowing and food becomes stuck.
How To Deal With Chronic Heartburn
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Medically Reviewed by Digestive Disorders
Whether it strikes after eating a large meal, a certain type of food, or during pregnancy, heartburn affects most adults at some point, and its symptoms can be very uncomfortable.
That burning pain in your chest and back of the throat can be nearly intolerable at times. Luckily, just as there are numerous causes of chronic heartburn, there are multiple remedies stretching from lifestyle changes to over-the-counter treatments.
Symptoms of heartburn can include:
- A feeling of burning, warmth, or pain in your chest that occurs after eating.
- Pain that worsens when you lie down or bend over.
- A sour taste in your mouth.
- Coughing after eating.
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A Few Lifestyle Changes Are Worth Trying Before Resorting To Drugs For Controlling Gastroesophageal Reflux
If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest.
Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.
Home Remedies For Heartburn: 10 Ways To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux
Despite what its name implies, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart.
Rather, it’s a burning sensation in your chest that occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the 10-inch tube connecting your mouth to your stomach.
When it hits, heartburn can last for just a few minutes or as long as several hours. Either way, it’s uncomfortable so it’s no surprise if you’re looking for a way to get rid of the sensation fast.
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When To See A Doctor
Heartburn often resolves on its own or with treatment.
But if you have frequent heartburn, its a good idea to check in with your doctor to make sure you dont have GERD, which can result in long-term damage to your esophagus.
See your doctor or a K doctor if you:
- Have heartburn more than twice a week
- Your symptoms dont resolve with over-the-counter medication
- You experience persistent nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing
- You experience unintentional weightloss
- You notice blood in your stool
- You experience abdominal pain
Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing severe chest pain or pressure, or if your chest pain is accompanied by pain in your jaw, arms, or back, or if you experience shortness of breath or lightheadedness.
What Are You Going To Do To Cure Your Heartburn
Are you simply going to treat the heartburn with short-term remedies or are you going to attack the real underlying problem that is driving your symptoms? I suspect that the larger long-term recommendations are a bit intimidating and you are not sure if you can make that type of commitment. You are not alone.
Here is an approach that may help you ease into building your path to relief and good health:
We know you can do this because so many others before you have succeeded. Dont delay, this is your disease and its your quality of life that is at risk. You can do this!
This article is from Reflux MD
Medical Resources Used for This Article
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*every Recipe On This Blog Is Dairy
4) Repopulate My Gut with Probiotics
The healthy bacteria in our digestive system need to be fed the right stuff to keep our body healthy and our digestion smooth. This is especially true for those of us who have taken countless rounds of antibiotics and therefore repeatedly wiped out all of the bacteria in our gut both the good guys and the bad guys.
Taking a probiotic daily helps me. I take one through my nutritionist that is specifically designed for people with sensitivities to gluten and dairy.
5) Relax withMagnesium
Magnesium plays a key role in relaxing our muscles, including the ones in our digestive tract that can act up and send food and acid in the wrong direction. I was deficient in magnesium and started supplementing with it through my nutritionist, and it helped me tremendously. I would encourage anyone facing the same issues I was to add magnesium citrate powder to your diet so it helped me a lot.
6) Protect with Licorice Root
Adding soothing foods like licorice in the form of teas and tablets help to coat my stomach and protect it before and between meals. DGL tablets are one option for this and can work wonders.
7) Add in hydrochloric acid **
8) Soothe with Aloe
How To Get Rid Of Heartburn When It Happens
As soon as you feel that tell-tale burn begin to well up, you can take action. The short-term goal is to optimize digestive function and restore stomach acid, says Stratos. In the moment, one option is to take bitter herbs, which will stimulate pancreatic enzymes and bile to break down food and, downstream, decrease the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria that causes intra-abdominal pressure. Reduce your intake of carbs, which will remove the fuel source for the bugs. And while hydration is important, avoid trying to drink a lot of water , as that will dilute stomach acid .
If you are stressed, take a nice, long inhale and exhale in order to send blood flow back to your digestive system.
You may have also heard the recommendation to take apple cider vinegar to get rid of heartburn. While some people do find this useful, Stratos suggests diluting a tablespoon of ACV in water before knocking it back, as straight-up will be too harsh.
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Does Heartburn Go Away On Its Own
Heartburn, if it is mild, can go away within a few hours or longer. There are several ways that you can treat heartburn and ways to prevent it as well.
There are several ways to help prevent heartburn in general. If you are overweight, you should try to lose weight. This will help reduce heartburn tremendously.
Another way to avoid heartburn is to make some lifestyle changes. Exercising and watching what you eat are also very helpful.
There are several anti-inflammatory foods that you can add to your diet to help prevent heartburn.
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Antacids H2 Blockers Ppis Our Pharmacists Explain The Options
Fortunately, pharmacies stock plenty of safe, effective remedies so many, in fact, that it can be confusing trying to figure out which one is right for you. So, we asked some pharmacists for help. Heres a rundown on the three classes of heartburn remedies, courtesy of The Portland Clinic pharmacy team.
Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox and Mylanta are the fastest-acting heartburn relievers. They take effect in less than five minutes by quickly neutralizing acid in the stomach. For mild heartburn after a meal, antacids offer quick relief that lasts about 20-30 minutes. They come in a variety of strengths, so check labels for dosing information. In general, you shouldnt use antacids more than four times a day. If you find yourself reaching for them frequently, it might be time to try a different one or to switch to one of the stronger remedies.
Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac are some of the more well-known H2 blockers, so called because they block a chemical called histamine that prompts the stomach to make acid. They take longer than antacids to bring relief about 30-45 minutes but the relief lasts 4-10 hours. H2 blockers can be used to relieve mild or moderate heartburn, or to prevent it when you anticipate heartburn . You also can combine H2 blockers with antacids for quicker relief. Just dont take H2 blockers more than twice a day, or for more than two weeks if you use them regularly.
Proton pump inhibitors
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Dont Eat Within Three Hours Of Going To Bed
People with acid reflux are generally advised to avoid eating within the three hours before they go to sleep.
Although this recommendation makes sense, there is limited evidence to back it up.
One study in GERD patients showed that having a late evening meal had no effects on acid reflux, compared to having a meal before 7 p.m. .
However, an observational study found that eating close to bedtime was associated with significantly greater reflux symptoms when people were going to sleep .
More studies are needed before solid conclusions can be made about the effect of late evening meals on GERD. It may also depend on the individual.
Observational studies suggest that eating close to bedtime may worsen acid reflux symptoms at night. Yet, the evidence is inconclusive and more studies are needed.
Chronic Bad Breath Symptoms
Since other people you interact with probably wont tell you that your breath smells like something crawled in it and died, its important to look out for certain symptoms that could let you know your breath isnt in good shape at the moment.
Some common symptoms of chronic bad breath include:
- Your breath always feels hot.
- You always seem to have dry mouth.
- Your tongue has a thin to thick white coating on it, especially at the back of your tongue.
- Your nose is usually stuffy.
- You often have symptoms of post nasal drip.
If you notice any of these chronic bad breath symptoms its a good idea to start taking action to fix the problem. The sooner you take action the sooner you can begin talking and interacting with other people with confidence.
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Elevate Your Upper Body
Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting your head with extra pillows isnt usually enough. Instead, the goal is to elevate your body from the waist up.
If you have an adjustable bed, set it at a suitable angle to provide relief. If your bed isnt adjustable, you can change the angle of your sleeping surface by using a wedge pillow.
When Should I See A Doctor
You should see a doctor about your heartburn symptoms if:
- You have heartburn more than three times a week for more than two weeks.
- Symptoms are not remedied by use of antacids.
- You have trouble swallowing, get choked when swallowing, or experience pain when swallowing.
Ulcers can be confused with heartburn. Symptoms of ulcers include:
- Weight loss
If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, you should see a doctor immediately.
Dont try to cope with chronic heartburn. See a doctor about treatment and prevention options. Chronic heartburn, otherwise known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , can diminish quality of life, cause an esophageal stricture, and can even lead to other health issues including cancer.
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When To Consult A Doctor
If you are having frequent or severe heartburn symptoms, you may need to consult your PCP. Depending on symptoms, it could be something more urgent that needs quick attention. Any stomach or chest discomfort that is worse with activity or exertion should be evaluated by a doctor right away to make sure this isnt a heart attack or the prelude to a heart attack.
Seek emergency treatment if you feel common heart attack symptoms, such as chest pain or discomfort, even if it feels like heartburn pain or discomfort in your jaw, neck, stomach, or one or both arms shortness of breath cold sweat nausea lightheadedness. Other symptoms that should trigger urgent treatment are black or maroon stool and vomit that appears bloody or looks like coffee grounds.
There are also nonemergency symptoms that warrant a visit with your PCP, such as:
- Trouble swallowing.
- Cough or wheezing that does not go away.
- Antacids and other OTC medications cause symptoms to worsen.
Stop Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Fortunately, you have several options for heartburn relief:
- Try eating smaller meals, and don’t eat two to three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid foods that may trigger heartburn, such as fried food, citrus, tomato, spices, peppermint, chocolate, and carbonated drinks.
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
- Stop smoking if you smoke.
- Lose weight if your doctor says you’re overweight.
- Cut back on aspirin and pain relievers if you take them often.
Talk with your pharmacist about other self-care tips you can use. If changing your style of eating isn’t enough, consider trying one of these heartburn medications.
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What Causes Heartburn And What Does It Feel Like Exactly
Stomach acid is needed to break down the food you eat, something your stomach has no trouble handling. Your esophagus, on the other hand, is irritated by it.
To keep stomach acid in your stomach and out of your esophagus, a circular ring of muscle at the tube’s base, called the lower esophageal sphincter, acts as a valve. When this valve is relaxed, food you’ve consumed is allowed to pass through to your stomach. When contracted, this valve prevents this food and acid from backing up into your esophagus.
If this valve relaxes abnormally and stomach acid is allowed to travel back into your esophagus, acid reflux occurs. Heartburn is the most well-known and obvious symptom.
It can feel differently depending on its severity, but heartburn symptoms include:
- A burning sensation in your chest, behind your breastbone
- Burning pain that rises up toward your throat
- Having a bitter or sour taste in your mouth
Acid reflux and heartburn are sometimes caused by an underlying medical condition, or even a medication you’re taking in some cases. But, more often than not, they’re triggered by things like your diet and lifestyle choices making the occasional bout of heartburn fairly common.
Common triggers of heartburn include:
- Overeating or eating too quickly
- Lying down too soon after eating
- Consuming certain foods, including caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, peppermint, citrus, tomato-based products, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
- Being overweight
- Stress and anxiety
Is There Surgery To Treat Gerd
GERD is usually controlled with medications and lifestyle changes . If these dont work, or if you cant take medications for an extended period, surgery may be a solution.
- Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is the standard surgical treatment. Its a minimally invasive procedure that fixes your acid reflux by creating a new valve mechanism at the bottom of your esophagus. The surgeon wraps the upper part of the stomach around the lower portion of the esophagus. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter so food wont reflux back into the esophagus.
- LINX deviceimplantation is another minimally invasive surgery. A LINX device is a ring of tiny magnets that are strong enough to keep the junction between the stomach and esophagus closed to refluxing acid but weak enough to allow food to pass through.
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