What Is Gerd Heartburn Vs Acid Reflux Vs Gerd
If you think of cases of heartburn at worsening levels, this is the best explanation of the differences between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD . While heartburn occurs occasionally, acid reflux is a condition that occurs more frequently and is more bothersome. It may not be easily treated with over-the-counter medications, and it comes with a set of additional symptoms than just a burning sensation in the chest. A patient that has acid reflux may also experience some of these symptoms in addition to burning:
- Sour taste in the mouth or bitterness in the back of the throat
- Burning and pressure along the breastbone
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
The reason the symptoms and severity differ from heartburn is that acid reflux is an entirely different condition. While heartburn is the result of esophageal irritation, acid reflux is the result of a breakdown of the LES muscle. After you eat, your LES is supposed to tighten and close, not letting any food pass back through. Food should remain in the stomach. However, if an LES is weak or not functioning correctly, it allows food to escape from the stomach back into the esophagus. This acidic, partially digested food and the symptoms it causes, as a result, is acid reflux.
Telling The Difference Between Indigestion And Heartburn
Youve just enjoyed a fantastic meal and now feel uncomfortably full.
Maybe you ate too fast, or opted for the spiciest option on the menu.
Situations like these can all trigger heartburn and indigestion a burning sensation in your chest accompanied by acid regurgitation and an upset stomach.
Unfortunately, since the two conditions present themselves with similar symptoms, it can be hard to differentiate between the two.
A closer look at the location of your symptoms can help determine which you are suffering from, as well as the best course of treatment.
How Is Indigestion Treated
You should not have foods or medicines that cause indigestion. It is also helpful to avoid stressful situations. Your symptoms may feel better if you:
- Quit smoking
- Take medicines that weaken or neutralize stomach acid
Your healthcare provider may suggest you take medicines that:
- Help your stomach move food more quickly into your small intestine
- Kill bacteria if tests show you have the H. pylori bacteria in your stomach
- Help calm the gut’s nervous system
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What Are The Signs I Need To See A Doctor
If youve tried to treat indigestion yourself with lifestyle adaptations or over-the-counter medications and are still experiencing symptoms, then it is best to see your doctor, says Dr McClymont.
Talk to a doctor or Livi GP if your indigestion persists, or you experience any of the following alongside it:
- Severe pain
- Sudden weight loss without meaning to
- Youre 55 or older
- Have difficulty swallowing
- Feel like you have a lump in your stomach
- Have blood vomit or poo
Q: Are Heartburn And Acid Reflux The Same Thing What About Gerd
A: They are different but related. It starts with the esophagus. The esophagus is made up of predominantly smooth muscle. It extends from the throat down through the chest cavity and, when it gets past the abdomen, joins up with the stomach. When you swallow, the esophagus opens and then squeezes food down.
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At the very bottom of theesophagus, there is a valve that separates it from the stomach. That valve shouldnormally be closed. When you swallow, it opens so that food can pass through,and then it closes again. Acid reflux is a disorder that occurs when that valveopens when its not supposed to, so stomach contents can flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus and causesymptoms.
Now, normal individuals can have up to an hour of reflux per day and not feel it. But if people have problematic reflux, it can cause heartburn, which is a burning thats felt mid-chest, below the sternum, especially after meals or at night when you lie down. So heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux can also cause regurgitation.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Its a more severe form of acid reflux where the stomach contents flowing back up into the esophagus becomes problematic. It can also cause a cough or the feeling that theres a lump in the back of your throat.
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Gaviscon Dual Action To The Rescue
Gaviscon Dual Action works in two ways to effectively relieve the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion:
Gaviscon Dual Action Liquid starts to soothe from 4 minutes!*
However, if you are ever concerned about your symptoms, always seek medical advice. Likewise see a healthcare professional if your symptoms become frequent or get worse.
*Strugala V, et al. J Int Med Res 2010.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.
How Can You Stop Acid Reflux Before It Becomes Heartburn
Certain foods can make heartburn more likely: Often, spicy foods are the culprit, but more innocuous foods like chocolate, peppermint, citrus products, or onions can also be at fault. Large meals and alcohol can exacerbate symptoms of heartburn, too .
You can ease or prevent heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux by making lifestyle changes, including eating smaller meals and decreasing the amount of fat and spicy food that you consume. Keep track of what you’re eating as well as when symptoms flare up. This will allow you to identify trigger foods, like chocolate, that make your heartburn worse. Weight loss if you are overweight may also ease symptoms, as will quitting smoking if you’re a smoker .
If you have heartburn from acid reflux two or more times per week, that may be an indicator that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease , a much more severe version of acid reflux that may require medical intervention . Always talk to your healthcare provider about ongoing discomfort and symptoms.
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Difference Between Acid Reflux Acidity And Indigestion
- 2 min read
How many times have you heard the words acidity, indigestion or acid reflux, and used them in the same tone, thinking they refer to the same health issue?
If you too confuse the terms and think they all mean the same, youre not alone. While all of these terms do refer to health issues related to digestion and the stomach, there are some differences that can help you understand what you are experiencing.
What is acid reflux and how to treat it?
The sphincter muscle acts as a closing between the stomach and the oesophagus. It closes as soon as the food that you eat passes through the food pipe and into the stomach. In case the sphincter muscle is not able to close properly, or if it closes and opens again, the acid from the stomach can move up into the oesophagus. This condition is referred to as acid reflux. In case you experience acid reflux on a regular basis, it could also indicate a case of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Symptoms of acid refluxinclude a burning pain in the chest or heartburn. You may also get a bitter taste in the mouth, which is because of the acid backing up in your mouth or throat. It can also cause bloating, black stools, burping, nausea, dry coughing or sore throat.
This can help:
- Eat smaller meals through the day instead of having three large meals
- Reduce smoking
- Keep a gap of one to two hours after a meal and rest time
- Avoid wearing clothes that are very tight around the waist
- Keep your head a little elevated when you sleep
Medical Treatments For Gerd
Medications are available with and without a prescription for acid reflux and GERD.
Antacids: First-line treatments for acid reflux are usually antacids. These medicines act quickly to reduce the effect of stomach acid, which can relieve symptoms. Examples of these medicines are Tums and Rolaids.
If these medicines dont relieve acid reflux or a person has GERD, other treatments can include:
H2 blockers: H2 blockers are designed to reduce the amount of acid a persons stomach produces. Sometimes taking these medicines with antacids can help. Examples of these medicines include cimetidine and famotidine .
Proton pump inhibitors: These medications work longer than H2 blockers to reduce acid in the stomach. They can also help heal the stomach lining. Examples include:
Prokinetics: These are medications like metoclopramide . There is controversy as to whether these medications benefit people with GERD. Many new prokinetics have been removed from the market due to serious side effects .
If medications dont reduce a persons acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES.
- difficulty breathing
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
The typical tests that your doctor will use to help diagnose GERD include:
24-hour impedance-probe study: This study involves inserting a flexible tub into your nose and advancing it into the esophagus. The tube has sensors that can detect if acid is refluxing past the esophagus.
Upper endoscopy: This test involves using a special tube with a camera on its end. When youre sedated, the tube can be passed from your mouth into your stomach and part of your small intestine. The upper endoscopy test can help a doctor identify any signs of damage, tumors, inflammation, or ulcers in these areas. Your doctor will usually take a tissue sample known as a biopsy.
Acid from the stomach can damage the lining of the esophagus if GERD is left untreated. This can cause:
The acid can also cause a change in the cells in the esophagus over time. This is called Barretts esophagus. About 10 to 15 percent of people with GERD will develop this condition. Barretts esophagus increases your risk for a type of esophageal cancer known as adenocarcinoma. Experts believe that most cases of this type of esophageal cancer start from cells within Barretts tissue.
Eating certain foods are known to increase the amount of acid in the stomach, which can lead to symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Avoiding these foods may help to reduce symptoms without taking medications. Examples include:
- alcoholic beverages
Making lifestyle changes such as:
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How Is Heartburn Treated
Most healthy people have heartburn from time to time. Heartburn that is mild and occasional can usually be managed with lifestyle changes, such as:
- eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of large meals
- avoiding any food you know triggers heartburn
- avoiding lying down soon after a meal wait for 3 hours
- not eating too late at night
- lifting the head of your bed so you are raised from the waist up
- stopping smoking, if you smoke
- avoiding tight clothing
You may also want to try over-the-counter medicines called antacids, which neutralise stomach acid. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor or pharmacist if these medications are safe for you to take.
A lot of people take heartburn medicines when they dont need to. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends that you discuss any medication you are taking for reflux or heartburn with your doctor or specialist to see if it is safe to reduce or stop it. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
Your doctor will probably recommend the lifestyle changes and antacids. If your symptoms do not respond or you have GORD, you may need prescription medicines.
Heartburn And Gerd In Pregnant Women
Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.
Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a womans likelihood for having GERD.
Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesnt experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.
Doctors usually avoid prescribing too many medications while a woman is pregnant because the medicine can be passed along to the fetus. Instead, doctors usually recommend making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods known to cause acid reflux and sleeping with the head slightly elevated. Taking antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, and calcium may be permitted. However, antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be avoided in pregnant women because they can affect a womans fluid volumes.
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What Can You Do If You Have Heartburn
If you experience occasional heartburn from acid reflux, try these:
- Donât lay down after eating for two to three hours
- Raise the head of your bed so gravity helps keep your stomach contents in your stomach
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of two to three large meals
- Donât smoke
- Avoid tight clothing that can put pressure on your stomach
- Keep a food diary to pinpoint trigger foods to avoid
- Lose extra weight
- Use over the counter antacids if needed*
If youâre taking antacids more than two times per week, or your symptoms are getting worse, you may have GERD. Your doctor can talk to you about your history and symptoms, rule out other conditions, and determine if you have acid reflux or GERD.
Together you can come up with a plan to treat your symptoms and avoid the complications that can come from untreated GERD.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Indigestion
A pharmacist can recommend medicines to ease the burning feeling or pain that can come with indigestion.
Medicines that help reduce acid in your stomach include:
- proton pump inhibitors
Some indigestion medicines are best to take after eating as their effects last longer. Check the information leaflet that comes with the medicines for more information.
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Could Indigestion Be A Sign Of Something More Serious
Indigestion is common and will usually resolve quickly with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications, says Dr McClymont.
Occasionally, it can be something more serious. If youre worried, your indigestion has become persistent or its occurring with other symptoms then you should speak to a GP.
Rarely, its a sign of something more serious for example, hiatus hernia, an infection, stomach ulcer or in rare cases, cancer. Theres probably no reason to worry, but its always worth discussing with a doctor if your indigestion is persistent and unresponsive to lifestyle changes.
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Acid Reflux Vs Heartburn: What’s The Difference
Acid reflux and heartburn are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same thing. Rather, one is the cause of the other. Here’s what you need to know about each .
Acid reflux happens when the valve between your esophagus and your stomach doesn’t seal shut properly, which leads to your stomach contents splashing back out of the stomach and into the esophagus. Unpleasant to picture, yes. But you may have this happen, and not notice any symptoms of discomfort. Often, this mix of acid, digestive juices, enzymes, and food don’t get very far in fact, many people have up to an hour a day of this reflux and don’t even notice .
However, when you feel heartburn that burning sensation under your sternum that occurs after eating or when lying down it is a symptom of acid reflux. You may also notice a bitter or acidic taste in your mouth, and the pain may feel worse when lying down or bent over .
Who Is At Risk For Indigestion
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. Itâs extremely common. An individualâs risk increases with:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Use of drugs that may irritate the stomach, such as aspirin and other pain relievers
- Conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract, such as an ulcer
- Emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression
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