What Else Can Cause Similar Symptoms
To make things even more confusing, there are plenty of other issues that can cause similar symptoms.
For instance, if weâre talking about acid reflux, stomach ulcers can present very similar symptoms. Gallstones can also cause pain in a similar area of your body, considering the gallbladder is nestled right next to the stomach. The sore throat and cough youâre experiencing could also point to allergies or sinus problems.
Symptoms associated with IBS can open up a Pandoraâs box of possibilities considering abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits are two of the most common symptoms when talking about gastrointestinal issues. For instance, inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have a lot of overlapping symptoms, but are often also accompanied by weight loss, fatigue, and loss of appetite . Lactose or gluten intolerance can commonly be confused with IBS since the allergens cause similar gastrointestinal distress. If your symptoms are accompanied by rectal bleeding, it could indicate something more serious, like colon cancer.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
What Medications Help Indigestion
Indigestion caused by another health condition might improve with medication. Common medications for relief include:
- Antacids: These over-the-counter medications provide quick relief for acid reflux. They neutralize stomach acid.
- Antibiotics:Antibiotics treat bacterial infections like H. pylori.
- H2 blockers: These medications decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. H2 blockers may help peptic ulcers.
- Proton pump inhibitors : PPIs decrease the acid in your stomach, but are usually only for people with heartburn.
How Is It Treated
Treatment usually includes making changes in your diet and lifestyle, such as avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms, getting regular exercise, and managing your stress.
If diet and lifestyle changes don’t help enough on their own, your doctor may prescribe medicines for symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
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Can Ibs Cause Heartburn And Indigestion
Heartburn refers to burning pain in the chest of a person just at the back part of the breastbone. This pain becomes worse when a person bends over or lies down. Occasional heartburn is a common type of problem and it has no reason to alarm.
People usually manage this type of discomfort on own based on over-the-counter medicines or few changes in their lifestyle. However, frequent heartburn or interference with daily routine highlights a symptom of severe condition requiring for medical care.
Indigestion, on the other side, highlights a symptom of underlying problem like ulcers, gallbladder problem or GERD i.e. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease instead of a health condition of own. Even doctors call it dyspepsia, when the problem causes recurrent or persistent pain in the upper part of the patients abdomen.
Understanding Acid Reflux And Gerd
Gastroesophageal reflux is a disease that may cause significant damage to the tissues and cells of the esophagus over time. Its the chronic form of acid reflux.
GERD occurs when stomach acids back up into the esophagus due to a poor-functioning lower esophageal sphincter . The LES is a band of muscle that acts as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
The main symptom of both acid reflux and GERD is frequent heartburn. Other symptoms may include burning in the throat or a sour liquid taste in back of the mouth.
While occasional acid reflux is normal, GERD symptoms are persistent and typically require treatment to relieve symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.
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The Low Fodmap Diet For Ibs
If your IBS symptoms persist after following first line treatment for both IBS and GERD, the low FODMAP diet can be used as a secondary approach. Research has shown beneficial effects of the low FODMAP diet in reducing IBS symptoms .
To date there has not been any research evidence to confirm that the low FODMAP diet is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of GERD.
How Can My Doctor Help
If changes to your lifestyle and natural remedies have not helped you, seek further advice from your doctor. Medication for indigestion such as antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole may be prescribed.
In some cases, these drugs can be prone to side effects and long-term use has to be considered carefully. Read our blog article: Hard to stomach to find out more.
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Treatments For Acid Reflux With Ibs
While medications may provide relief in many cases, the preferred treatment for most people suffering from both acid reflux and IBS is lifestyle and dietary modification.
In addition to avoiding certain foods, people with IBS or GERD may find relief by losing weight, quitting smoking, and learning stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, exercise, or yoga.
Although lifestyle and dietary changes can benefit many people with IBS, if you have GERD symptoms as well, certain medications may help:
- Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, are the drugs of choice for GERD sufferers.
- Antacids may be enough to relieve symptoms for people with occasional mild acid reflux.
- Anti-gas medications like simethicone can work for occasional gas, bloating, and indigestion.
Family Doctor Dawn Harper On The Questions To Ask
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gut disorder that will affect up to one in five people in the UK at some stage in their life. Symptoms can vary, from abdominal pain and bloating to bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation. There is no cure for IBS, but symptoms can often be eased with treatment.
We asked GP Dr Dawn Harper what she would want to know if she was diagnosed with IBS.
Is my diet causing my IBS?Keep a food diary. Writing down everything you eat and when symptoms flare up can be enlightening. Dairy products and wheat are common triggers of IBS, but beware of excluding these foods permanently. Cut them out in the short term and continue your symptom diary. If your symptoms disappear, these foods may have been responsible.
Remember, stress and routine can play a significant role in IBS, so re-challenge your system a few weeks later to see if the symptoms recur. If youre considering eliminating a food group from your diet long term, speak to a dietitian about how to replace the lost nutrients.
What other factors can affect my condition?Eat regularly. Missing meals then binging will make your symptoms worse. Try to sit down to eat. Eating on the move isnt good for your digestive system.
How can I manage my stress levels?This may be easier said than done, but try making a note of stressful situations that trigger your IBS. You wont be able to avoid some stresses, but putting them down on paper may help you to identify the ones you can do something about.
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Is There A Relationship Between Ibs And Heartburn
IBS and heartburn appear to be two distinct conditions, with IBS affecting the lower part of the digestive tract and heartburn affecting the upper part.
However, research shows that as many as 79 percent of people with IBS could also have GERD, and 71 percent of people with GERD could also have IBS. This suggests there is at least some overlap between the two conditions, and there are several theories as to why:
Increased Sensitivity to Internal Distress
One theory about the relationship between IBS and GERD is that people with these conditions have an increased sensitivity to internal distress, for example after overeating or eating something which irritates the digestive tract.
In healthy people, this would not normally cause a problem, but people with IBS or GERD could experience severe discomfort or even pain as a result.
If you suffer from IBS with constipation and are looking for ways to manage the symptoms, these five simple lifestyle changes may help.
Nervous System Dysfunction
Another theory as to how IBS and GERD are linked is through the nervous system. The nervous system is divided into two branches, the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for our fight or flight response to danger and kicks in when we are under stress. The parasympathetic nervous system comes into action during relaxation, and its function is sometimes known as rest and digest.”
IBS and GERD Are Actually the Same Conditions
Placebos Placebo Effects And Ibs
To understand the usefulness of any intervention, rigorous studies are needed to compare the approach being tested with comparable but inactive products or practices, called placebos. The placebo effect describes improvements that arenât related specifically to the treatment being studied but to other factors, such as the personâs belief that theyâre taking something helpful. Even how a clinician talks with patients may lead to a positive response unrelated to the treatment. Placebo effects are often seen in IBS treatment studies.
More about placebo effects
In a 2008 clinical trial on placebos, 262 adults with IBS were given simulated acupuncture, simulated acupuncture with added positive attention from the health practitioners, or no intervention. None of the groups received actual acupuncture. The group that received the added positive attention improved the most, and the simulated acupuncture group fared better than the group who received no intervention.
Dietary Supplements for IBS
A variety of dietary supplements, many of which are Chinese herbs and herb combinations, have been investigated for IBS, but we canât draw any conclusions about them because of the poor quality of many of the studies.
More on probiotics
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Signs And Symptoms Of Gerd
GERD is a condition in which the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus does not work properly. Because of this, the contents of the stomach can sometimes back up into the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn , sometimes spreading to the throat or accompanied by a bitter taste in the mouth
- Acid reflux
- Chest pain
What Can I Try At Home For Indigestion
There are a few simple steps you can take at home to help manage your indigestion linked with IBS:
- Chew your food: If the efficient breakdown of food in your stomach is an issue, chewing your food as much as possible in your mouth is essential. The larger surface area of food fragments left after a good chew means that what you have eaten will be more effectively attacked by digestive enzymes. This also allows the enzyme known as salivary amylase, produced in your mouth, to work efficiently to break down the carbohydrates eaten. Read our blog to get the low down on the host of benefits that come from chewing!
- Relax as you eat: Eating on the go isnt good for digestion. If peripheral muscles in your arms and legs are moving, blood flow redirects to these parts of the body, taking the focus off the gut resulting in your digestive process suffering
- Dont drink water with your meal: This will dilute the digestive enzymes secreted in your mouth and stomach. Separate water from food by at least 20 minutes to allow the digestive juices to do their job at the concentration they work best at.
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How Is Indigestion Treated
Most people find relief from indigestion by making diet changes or taking medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend a combination of both.
Diet changes include:
- Avoiding foods or drinks that trigger indigestion.
- Cutting down on alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks.
- Removing fatty, spicy or acidic foods from your diet.
Why Does Ibs Cause Indigestion
Indigestion basically means bad digestion and symptoms arise from the upper end of the digestive tract.
The link between IBS and indigestion is still not clear. Both symptoms share a number symptoms including flatulence, bloating and pain or discomfort. But the common cause in both conditions for these symptoms is still not clearly understood.
A deficiency or malfunction of digestive enzymes may have a role. Decreased stomach acid is a commonly misdiagnosed condition. As people age, production of stomach acid naturally declines. Contrary to logic, this decrease in stomach acid can actually lead to an increase in acid reflux as it affects the digestive process by interfering with the normal breakdown of food in the stomach.
It is likely an imbalance in the stomach can give rise to IBS symptoms. If food hasnt been digested properly, this will most likely aggravate an irritable gut.
Interestingly stress has links with both indigestion and IBS , so may also be having a part to play.
If the first part of the digestive tract isnt functioning correctly, it will have a natural impact on the bits that follow. Whether this is a causal effect or that both parts result from a common functional problem, is yet to be completely understood.
Nevertheless, psychological factors cannot be ruled out as there is a strong gut-brain relationship. Stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression all have links with both IBS and indigestion.
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Watch A Video Guide From Nhs Dietitians
This video guide can help you learn more about managing your IBS symptoms.
It’s similar to the advice you’d get if you saw a dietitian.
The guide covers things like:
- general diet tips for IBS
- advice on certain types of food, like dairy and gluten
- basics of the low FODMAP diet
- allergy testing
Watch this video to learn how to treat your symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome .
Ibs And Gerd Together
While GERD affects the upper GI tract, IBS predominantly affects the lower GI tract, including the small and large intestines. However, the coexistence of the two disorders is where things can get complicated: pressure or symptoms from one area of the GI tract can influence or exacerbate symptoms in the other. For example:
- Lower abdominal gas, bloating and distention, resulting from incomplete digestion and subsequent fermentation of FODMAPs can increase pressure on the stomach and upper GI tract, worsening GERD symptoms such as nausea, belching and heartburn.
- Trapped gas and pressure from chronic constipation or excessive gas production in the small intestine from SIBO may also adversely affect GERD, albeit indirectly.
- Delayed gastric motility may also simultaneously affect both the upper and low GI tracts, as food languishes in the gut, causing increased IBS and GERD symptoms.
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Healthy Eating And Lifestyle Changes For Ibs And Gerd
There are a range of similarities between the first line dietary and lifestyle treatment advice for IBS and GERD.
Similarities between IBS and GERD :
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
- Limit intake of spicy and high fat foods
- Eat regular meals
- Take time to relax
- Avoid smoking
Other first-line treatment advice for GERD includes that you ensure that your head is elevated while sleeping to avoid acid reflux .
First line dietary and lifestyle advice does not always work for everyone. If this is the case, you will need to seek more specialist secondary advice for both conditions.
Counseling And Stress Relief
Many people who seek care for IBS also have anxiety, panic, or depression. Stress is also an issue for people with IBS because it can make the symptoms worse. Research shows that psychological therapy can help ease IBS symptoms. Therapies that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , a short-term treatment that mixes different types of therapies and behavioral strategies. The type of CBT used to treat IBS may focus on managing life stress. Or, it may focus on changing how a person responds to anxiety about IBS symptoms.
- Dynamic psychotherapy, an intensive, short-term form of talk therapy. It may focus on in-depth discussions about the link between symptoms and emotions. The therapy may also help people identify and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
- Hypnotherapy, where people enter an altered state of consciousness. Visual suggestions are made to imagine pain going away, for example.
General stress relief is also important. Exercising regularly is a good way to relieve stress. It also helps the bowel function better and improves overall health. Meditation, yoga, and massage may also help.
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How To Treat Ibs And Heartburn Together
The best way to treat IBS and heartburn together is to take a holistic view of the body rather than focusing on treating individual symptoms.
Both conditions can be affected by eating too much or eating certain trigger foods. These trigger foods often include rich, fatty or spicy foods, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and in the case of IBS, high fiber foods. Keep a diary, noting down all of your meals and symptoms to see if you can identify any triggers, and then avoid them.
Another way to identify trigger foods is by using an elimination diet in which foods are cut out of the diet and then gradually reintroduced. This should be done under the supervision of a dietician in order to ensure that you are still getting all of the nutrition you need.
If you suffer from IBS, heartburn, GERD, or all three, it is best to eat little and often to avoid overloading your digestive system at any one time.
You should also practice mindful eating by sitting down for meals and chewing each mouthful properly. Smelling and tasting food help to stimulate your stomach and is an important part of the digestive process. This is why eating on the go or while doing something else can cause problems and should be avoided.
Stress is another common trigger of both IBS and heartburn. Practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or meditation. If you are under long-term stress, counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy may also be beneficial.