You Dont Seem Sick They Said
This was the same line I was offered in college after extreme intestinal distress caused me to lose more than 20 pounds in a single semester. But the school nutritionist thought I just wasnt eating enough bananas. You have such shiny, healthy-looking hair, she explained, pinching a lock of it between her fingers as though I were a doll on display. People who are really sick dont have hair like yours. A colonoscopy showed nothing visibly wrong, so the doctor diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome and treated me as though I was a hopeless neurotic. Stop being so stressed and eat your greens, he scolded. Two years later, a laparoscopic surgery would show widespread endometriosis, a large portion of it choking my colon. Its removal eased my GI complications considerably. But by then I learned the hard lesson that doctors often erred on the side of disbelief when they couldnt see something plainly or even when they could.
I have heard an extensive list of reasons why I cant be in as much pain as I say despite my test results and besides my shiny hair, like: I am too young I have good teeth Im too thin to have back problems. Yet, these havent granted me immunity from illness, and they have not prevented pain.
Will Heartburn Go Away On Its Own
For many people, occasional heartburn is common. By watching what you eat and avoiding certain triggers , you may be able to prevent heartburn or manage it. If you find that you frequently experience heartburn and that it keeps getting worse, it could be a sign of a medical condition like GERD. In these cases, your heartburn will not go away without treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider so that you can develop a treatment plan.
Use Antacids & Ppi’s Sparingly
Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors are popular acid reflux medications to help relieve indigestion and heartburn.
Antacids work by either neutralizing stomach acid or forming a raft on top of the stomach contents to stop the acid flowing into the esophagus.
Popular brands are Gaviscon and Rennies.
People with severe GERD symptoms often resort to stronger drugs such as PPI’s. Instead of neutralizing stomach acid, PPI’s reduce the production of stomach acid.
According to the World Health Organisation more than $10 Billion is spent on acid reflux medications each year!
Like antacids, PPI’s can be bought over the counter. However, stronger PPI’s require a doctors prescription.
PPI’s Antacids are generally safe when taken correctly. The problem is most people don’t.
Because the relief is fast acting many people develop a dependency and thats when the problems start.
Remember, these drugs only relieve the symptoms they don’t address the cause and an over-reliance on them may mask a serious problem or create one.
Nexium, the most popular PPI is one of the top selling drugs in history with over $72 billion in Sales in the US since its inception in 1992.
Growing evidence shows reducing levels of stomach acid makes it harder for the digestive to break down hard to digest foods.
If you’re heartburn or back pain persist after 14 days go to your doctors and get checked out
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When In Doubt Check It Out: Heartburn Vs Heart Attack
Let’s say you’re at the dinner table. You’ve just chowed down on a massive plate of spaghetti and you feel a burning sensation in your chest. The telltale signs of heartburn, right? You take an antacid and hope it goes away. Consider this, though: There’s a chance the pain in your chest is actually the sign of a heart angina or even a heart attack.
In other words, ignoring chest pain can sometimes be fatal. It may represent the first sign of several life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack, a tear in the aorta or a blood clot in the lungs, says Hector Lozano, MD, cardiologist at AdventHealth.
When it comes to heartburn and heart attacks, it is tricky. Both can be in the middle of the chest or left side of the chest, both can radiate to the left arm and left shoulder, explains Ahmad Idris, MD, gastroenterologist and internal medicine specialist, also at AdventHealth.
Heartburn sensation is different than having chest pain, Dr. Idris adds. Heartburn by itself is indicative of acid reflux disease. On the other hand, chest pain can be related to either reflux disease or heart disease. Chest pain with indigestion sensation in some patients especially diabetics can be a sign of heart disease sometimes.
If you suffer from heartburn regularly, you probably know the symptoms. But if you rarely have heartburn and suddenly feel pain, you need to get help.
Signs that are more likely to signal a heart attack
Signs that are more likely to signal heartburn
What Lifestyle Changes Relieve Heartburn
There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes .
Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.
Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn . Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.
Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.
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Heartburn Or Heart Attack When To Sound The Alarm
Heartburn is a very common condition that affects about 42 percent of Americans. In fact, I experienced it myself shortly after dinner last night. It is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux that you typically feel as pain or burning in the chest. When you have heartburn, some of the acid in your stomach comes up into your esophagus, causing that pain. Taking an over-the-counter antacid can bring relief in moments.
Chest pain, however, is also a common sign of heart disease. Heart disease is life-threatening and is diagnosed in about 12 percent of Americans . It is one of the top causes of death for Americans. A heart attack, a condition in which the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen because of blocked blood vessels, can strike suddenly and be fatal if not treated promptly.
If youre experiencing pain or burning in your chest, how do you know its just heartburn and not something more? We spoke with a pair of UVA doctors for some clarity.
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Uncommon Causes Of Upper Abdominal Pain Or Discomfort That May Be Confused With Dyspepsia
Biliary colic from gall stones
Abdominal wall pain
Mesenteric vascular insufficiency
Anaemia due to iron deficiency
Recent onset of persistent symptoms
However, the risk of gastric cancer is extremely low in patients under the age of 55 years presenting with the new onset of dyspepsia in most Western countries including Britain. Furthermore, alarm symptoms such as weight loss, dysphagia, or anaemia help to identify those who need to be investigated in order to exclude malignancy, although between 15% and 50% of dyspeptic patients with gastric cancer do not have these symptoms. Endoscopic evaluation is therefore recommended in older patients presenting with new symptoms and in all patients with alarm symptoms.
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Heartburn Heart Attack And Gender
Not everyone experiences heart attacks the same way. The common signs of heart attack include chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or burning, and it could be in the middle or to either side of the chest, says Patterson. It may or may not spread to the neck, jaw, back or arm.
Other possible symptoms of heart attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Exercise intolerance
- Other symptoms similar to heartburn and abdominal pain
In particular, gender may have an impact on potential heart attack symptoms. Women tend to not have the typical heart attack symptoms. It can present as something that feels like heartburn, states Sauer.
It is more common for women to present with the atypical symptoms, agrees Patterson. An example would be fatigue without chest pain or shortness of breath without chest pain.
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Complications Of Gerd And Acid Reflux
Ulcers Stomach acid in the esophagus can cause ulcers. These ulcers have the potential to bleed. To check for bleeding ulcers, your doctor may recommend a stool sample test called hemocult.
Stricture Damage caused by acid reflux can cause the esophagus to scar and narrow. This is called stricture. Over time, stricture could cause a blockage of food and require treatment. The scar tissue is a result of ulcers that occur and heal over time.
Lung and throat problems Acid reflux in the throat could lead to irritation or inflammation of the vocal cords or a sore throat. If the acid is inhaled into the lungs, it could cause aspiration pneumonia or symptoms of asthma. If the acid reflux is chronic, it could eventually cause permanent lung damage including pulmonary fibrosis or bronchiectasis.
Barrettâs esophagus Barrettâs esophagus occurs when the cells in the lower esophagus transform. The transformation is usually caused by damage to the esophageal lining, most often from chronic acid reflux or GERD. There is a small chance these cells may develop into cancer. Patients with Barretts esophagus should have an upper endoscopy done periodically to look for early signs of cancer.
Esophageal cancer Barrettâs esophagus is a major risk factor for developing esophageal cancer. The rate of esophageal cancer is on the rise, but relatively few people with GERD develop Barrettâs esophagus and even fewer people with Barrettâs esophagus develop esophageal cancer.
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Heartburn With Pain In Upper Back
According to the findings, there is a connection between abdominal pain and back pain.
More precisely, it has been noted that IBS and heartburn are the two most common digestive conditions that relate to pain in the upper back.
As for people who suffer from heartburn, upper back pain is often related to the presence of chest pain.
In addition to the back, also neck, jaw, and upper abdomen may be affected.
Given that upper back pain generally is caused by factors like bad posture, overuse, accidents, and improper lifting technique, when heartburn is present you must pay the greatest attention to the accompanying symptoms described in the following paragraph.
How Is Heartburn Treated
In most cases, heartburn can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to lifestyle habits that cause the feeling. Occasional heartburn is common and is typically not serious. However, if you have frequent and severe heartburn, reach out to your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a chronic condition like GERD. GERD can lead to other serious conditions like esophagitis, Barretts esophagus and even cancer. Sometimes, your doctor may want to do an endoscopy to check for underlying medication conditions. An endoscopy is the examination of your digestive tract with a lighted flexible instrument.
Over-the-counter medications for heartburn typically include antacids and acid blockers.
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What Exactly Is Heartburn Anyway
Heartburnor gastroesophageal reflux or acid refluxis a painful burning feeling in your chest or your throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine .
Basically, heartburn happens when your esophagus relaxes too much and stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . It can be managed by making changes to your diet, like cutting back on coffee and alcohol, or through medications.
Having heartburn every once in a while, like after a spicy meal or taking a nap too soon after eating, is normal but if it occurs more than twice a week for more than a few weeks, it’s time to see a doctorin that case, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic, sometimes damaging form of heartburn.
But GERD isn’t the only issue that is related to heartburn. Many other conditionssome even life-threateningcan mimic the feeling of heartburn. Here, nine other conditions that heartburn could be masquerading asand when to see your doctor about it.
Knowing When To See A Doctor For Heartburn
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Types Of Otc Heartburn Medicines
There was a time when the most common OTC remedies for heartburn were either chalky antacids or medicinal effervescent tablets. Anything stronger was usually very expensive, available only by prescription, and reserved for those who were diagnosed with bleeding ulcers or other serious digestion-related conditions.
In the 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started approving OTC versions of several of these medications. Here are the three most popular types available without prescription:
Acid neutralizers use chemical bases, such as calcium carbonate, to reduce the stomachs acidity level. When a base interacts with an acid, the pH level moves closer to neutral, thus reducing the effects of stomach acid on the esophagus. Antacids provide almost immediate relief because they interact directly with stomach acids, unlike the medicines described below, which must first enter the bloodstream. The soothing effects of antacids can be short-lived, however. Common antacids include Tums, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer.
Proton pump inhibitor
Histamine 2 receptor antagonist
What Causes Heartburn
Most cases of heartburn, whether acute or recurrent, is due to acid reflux. The acidic stomach contents that rise up into the esophagus causes inflammation of the esophageal lining and the typical burning chest pain known as heartburn ensues. Acid reflux, and therefore heartburn, occurs many times in a persons life it is temporary and often resolves spontaneously with little or no treatment. In most acute cases, it is a result of overeating, lying flat after a large meal, excessive alcohol consumption and exercising after eating.
Chronic heartburn is most often a result of constant or recurrent acid reflux. This is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease . While aggravated by the same acute causes, the underlying mechanism of GERD usually involves a dysfunction in the lower esophageal sphincter , a valve-like portion of the esophagus that prevents the backward flow of the stomach contents.
Although acid reflux is the most common cause of heartburn, other conditions may trigger a chest pain that is burning in nature. Of these conditions, cardiac causes of chronic heartburn needs to be seriously considered, especially in high risk patients, and medical treatment sough even if the symptoms are mild.
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What To Do Next
Now, its time to take action.
If you are concerned about the relationships between PPIs and COVID-19, you can read here to keep informed and safe.
You can check one or both programs that are specific for back pain, or you can take a look at the following complete programs to get rid of acid reflux and all related symptoms .
Posture And Back Pain
Sitting for long periods hunched over a desk is not doing your back or health any favors.
Poor posture over extended periods creates stress in the muscle tissues, lumbar joints and discs of the spine. Over time weakening the back and causing pain and discomfort.
But bad posture can impact your health in other ways:
- Increase risk of arthritis
Do you slouch while eating?
It’s a bad habit is you do because its probably making your acid reflux worse.
Dr. Kyle Staller | gastroenterologist at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital
Slouched posture after a meal can trigger heartburn
Slouching puts pressure on the abdomen, which can force stomach acid in the wrong direction. And some evidence suggests that transit in the intestines slows down when you slouch.
If poor posture is a problem find a physical therapist who can design a personalized program of exercises. It should include stretch routines to increase strength and flexibility in the back and core muscles.
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Heartburn Back Pain Headache
Also, in this case, we cant say that headaches can relate specifically to heartburn with back pain.
Headache can be a serious issue,
There is a link between headache and lower back pain.
It has been noted that people with persistent headache or back pain were twice as likely to experience the other disorder as well.
People who suffer from reflux and also suffer from headaches or back pain are more likely to experience heartburn with back pain.
Once again, however, the lower part of the back is more affected.
This one more time demonstrates that heartburn can be present together with one or more types of back pain, but they have a different origin.