Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy
Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you;have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:
- you are 55 years old or over
- you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
- you have increasing;difficulty swallowing
- you have persistent vomiting
- you have a lump in your stomach
- you have blood in your vomit or;blood in your stools
This is because these symptoms;may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a;stomach ulcer;or;stomach cancer. You may need to be referred for an endoscopy;to rule out any serious cause.
An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .
Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible;complications of severe indigestion.
Natural Remedy: Use Baking Soda
You may find relief from infrequent heartburn with sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. Simply mix ½ teaspoon with four ounces of water to help neutralize the acid. Note this contains sodium and should not be used if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions drugs, are pregnant or have a chronic health condition before using baking soda to relieve heartburn.
Cooking Tips To Prevent Heartburn And Indigestion
If you suffer from heartburn, you can use different cooking approaches,;which may help to alleviate stomach problems including acid reflux.
- Try cooking with as little fat as possible.
- Skip deep frying and pan frying.
- If youre going to sauté, use non-stick sprays as opposed to butter.
- Broiling, steaming, boiling, grilling and roasting are healthier ways to cook meats and veggies because they dont require high levels of fat.
- To get flavor into your food, use heartburn friendly spices as well as broths and low-acid juices instead of oils, which are high in fat.
In addition to eating heartburn-friendly foods and cooking with less fat, it is important to remember that eating large meals and eating before going to bed are likely to increase heartburn. Be;sure to pay attention to portion control and timing of meals to avoid indigestion.
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Chew Gum To Get Rid Of Heartburn
A research shows that people with gastroesophageal reflux disease got relief when they were asked to chew sugar-free gum for about half an hour after a meal. When you chew gum, it stimulates your salivary glands to increase the flow of saliva. This saliva washes away or neutralizes your stomach acid giving you instant relief from heartburn.
- Place the piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth after you have finished your meal.
- Now chew this for 25-30 minutes.
Other Health Benefits Of Gum
In addition to the benefits above, chewing gum has been linked to other benefits.
- Prevents ear infections in children: Some studies have suggested that gum containing xylitol could prevent middle ear infections in children (
Chewing gum may help people quit smoking, prevent middle ear infections in children and help your gut return to normal function after surgery.
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What Lifestyle Changes Help Heartburn
The best way to avoid heartburn discomfort is to prevent it. These lifestyle changes can make a big difference:;
- Avoid trigger foods: Foods that promote heartburn include fried and fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods and carbonated beverages.
- Lose weight: Being overweight increases the likelihood that you’ll experience heartburn.;
- Avoid eating late at night: Try to eat three hours before going to bed. At a minimum, you should wait at least one hour after eating.
- Elevate the bed: Physically lift the head of your bed about six to eight inches so you’re sleeping on an incline. If that’s not possible, use a wedge pillow for lift.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco: These substances increase the chances of heartburn attacks.
- Wear looser clothing: Tight clothing can put pressure on your digestive system.
How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn
Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:
Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.
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Is It Just Heartburn Or Gerd
Frequent heartburn can be a major issue. If you experience heartburn two or more times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease .;
In this chronic condition, frequent exposure to stomach acid irritates and damages the esophagus. Over time, that can lead to problems such as difficulty swallowing. An estimated 40 percent of Americans report symptoms of GERD but the condition can significantly improve with lifestyle changes.;;
If you’ve tried home remedies and lifestyle adjustments and still have frequent heartburn, consult with your family doctor or a gastroenterologist. There are multiple treatments that can help, including medications and minimally invasive surgery for acid reflux.
Best Foods For Acid Reflux
A diet balanced with vegetables, protein and fruits is best,;Dr. Khaitan;says. Examples of the best foods for acid reflux include:
- Chicken breast; Be sure to remove the fatty skin. Skip fried and instead choose baked, broiled or grilled.
- Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers ;These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach and wont cause painful gas.
- Brown rice; This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling just dont serve it fried.
- Melons; Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.
- Oatmeal; Filling, hearty and healthy, this comforting breakfast standard also works for lunch.
- Fennel; This low-acid crunchy vegetable has a mild licorice flavor and a natural soothing effect.
- Ginger; Steep caffeine-free ginger tea or chew on low-sugar dried ginger for a natural tummy tamer.
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How Is Heartburn Diagnosed
Often all that a health-care professional requires is a thorough history and physical to make the preliminary diagnosis of heartburn. To evaluate if there is any damage and how severe your heartburn is, the doctor my suggest some of the following tests:
- Endoscopy: A flexible scope is passed down the esophagus to examine the esophagus as well as the stomach. Biopsies can be taken if indicated. This lets the doctor see if there is any obvious damage, and also eliminate other reasons for the patient’s symptoms .
- Upper GI series : After drinking a liquid that coats the inside of the digestive tract, X-rays are taken. These X-rays will show the outline of the digestive system.
- Ambulatory pH testing: This test measures the acidity in the esophagus via a small tube that goes through the nose into the stomach.
When To See A Doctor
Usually, you can successfully treat occasional bouts of heartburn pain using the home remedies on this page. However, if acid reflux becomes a chronic condition, you should see a doctor. Your doctor can prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of GERD and get rid of the discomfort that it causes.
Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD recommends going to see your doctor for heartburn if you also have one or more of the following symptoms:17
- You have difficulty swallowing solid food or pills.
- You also have unexplained weight loss along with acid reflux symptoms.
- You have a constant feeling of something stuck in your throat.
- You still have heartburn symptoms for more than 2 weeks after taking natural or OTC antacids.
- Along with chest pain, you have a feeling of pressure in your chest that spreads to your left arm .
- You have extreme stomach pain and symptoms of digestive upset.
- Symptoms of acid reflux become more frequent and severe.
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Apples To Reduce Heartburn
Banana is not the only fruit that helps you with heartburn. The nutritious and tasty apples to come to your help when its about getting rid of heartburn. Apples can in fact, even reduce the symptoms of GERD, the chronic heartburn. This is because apple helps in producing an alkaline environment in your stomach so that the excessive acids get neutralized. This also helps in better digestion which is again a key to no heartburn. Not only does apple cure but also prevent heartburn. However, you need to eat sweet apples, preferably those that are organic. Tart apples wont do any wonders.
Ways to have Apples to Avoid Heartburn
Some apples may give you instant and better relief from heartburn than others. Therefore, keep on changing the varieties of apples to find out the one that is most soothing for your condition.
Use Carom Seeds To Relieve Heartburn
Carom seeds or ajwain as they are known in India is an age-old remedy for heartburn and other gastric problems. It is one of the finest Ayurvedic remedies for heartburn and gas. Carom seeds have anti-acidic properties and thus act as natural antacids. Thymol present in carom seeds act against acidity and gives you relief from heartburn. It also soothes the mucous membrane of your stomach.
Ways to Use Carom Seeds for Heartburn
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Most Common Symptoms Of Gerd
Lets start by running through the most common symptoms of GERD. Well then focus in on some of the more severe GERD symptoms.
Once you know these GERD Symptoms well youll be able to take the actions you need to relieve yourself quickly, as well as having the peace of mind of knowing when your symptoms are bad enough for you to need medical assistance.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of GERD:
- A sour, acidic taste in the mouth
Why Does Heartburn Happen
Heartburn goes by many names you might also know it as acid reflux or acid indigestion. It is a burning or tingling feeling that occurs when the contents of your stomach rise into your food pipe . Mild heartburn is quite common, and most healthy people will experience it from time to time.
To understand why we get heartburn, it can help to think about how the oesophagus and stomach work.
There is a ring of muscle where the oesophagus and stomach meet . It relaxes to allow food into the stomach and tightens to prevent stomach contents from moving back up into the oesophagus.
In the stomach, strong acids help break down food as part of the digestive process. While your stomach is built to withstand this acid, your oesophagus is not.
If the oesophageal sphincter is weak, or relaxes when it shouldnt, the stomachs contents can move up into the oesophagus and causes pain, irritation, and discomfort. This backward flow is called reflux, and the burning chest pain is known as heartburn.
Lying down or bending over can make heartburn feel worse, as the acidic stomach contents can travel further up the oesophagus.
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What Medications Can I Take For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Its important to be extremely careful about the medications you take when pregnant.
For heartburn relief, over-the-counter antacids are all considered safe medications to use during pregnancy.;
As always, consult with your provider about any medications youre taking even if theyre considered safe. ;
If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking an over-the-counter medication, call your doctor immediately.;
Top 15 Heartburn Remedies
Just because heartburn is common doesnt mean you have to suffer with it. Left untreated, frequent acid reflux can develop into more serious health problems. Here are the top 15 heartburn remedies…
Despite humorous commercials touting heartburn remedies with funny words like plop-plop and fizz-fizz, heartburn is no joke. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least occasionally, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, occurs when acidic stomach juices flow backward into the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining. The resulting pain can be uncomfortable, annoying or excruciating.;It can hurt as much as a heart attack, says Paige Hastings, a certified nurse practitioner at The Little Clinic in Nashville, Tenn.But not everyone has such pain; you could also feel a bitter or acidic taste in the back of your throat or the awful sensation of food or liquid washing back into your mouth and down the gullet.In fact, frequent heartburn and food sticking in the throat are signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease .Untreated, these problems can lead more serious problems, including strictures , ulcers, cancer and pneumonia, explains Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist based in Virginia Beach, Va.
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How Do Acid Blockers Work To Treat Heartburn
Products like Pepcid AC® are called histamine H2 blockers, or acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid. They relieve heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach. Always follow the directions on the packaging or talk to your healthcare provider about how to take this medication. Acid blockers you can buy without a prescription include:
- Pepcid AC®.
- Tagamet HB®.
Take your acid blocker medicine regularly for as long as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you do not have any pain or if your symptoms get better.
Stronger acid blockers are prescription medications. These can be used to block stomach acid, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and GERD. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Your healthcare provider will give you a specific prescription for this type of acid blocker.
The United States Food and Drug Administration recently reported elevated levels of a possible carcinogen, NDMA, in the drugs ranitidine and nizatidine . You should speak to your healthcare provider if you are taking one these medications.
Antacids For Neutralizing Stomach Acid
When it comes to heartburn, medicines such as antacids are available over the counter and can be quite effective. These medicines work by simply neutralizing stomach acid. There can be a bit of a double-edged sword in this case though.
If youre suffering from regular heartburn and you rely on antacids to relieve the pain, youre not dealing with the underlying problem and damage may still be occurring to your esophagus .
To avoid developing more serious GERD-related problems, you should seek medical help to get treatment for the actual causes of the problem.
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Eat Bananas To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Bananas can be categorized as natural antacids as they lessen the effect of your acid reflux. This is enough a reason to have the tasty banana for getting relief from heartburn. High on potassium which is an alkalizing mineral with a pH of 14, banana helps in moderating the acidity of your stomach by increasing its pH. Higher the pH, lower is the acidity. However, you need to eat a ripe, preferably overripe banana because the bananas that are green or are not overripe contain potassium in the form of potassium nitrate and this can actually make your heartburn more painful. Potassium is not the only reason for bananas being such a good remedy for heartburn. Bananas also have such a chemical that stimulates your stomach lining and thus it produces more mucus to act as a buffer against acid.
- Overripe banana
- This will keep your heartburn away.
Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol increases the amount of acid the stomach produces and relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter . If you do want to have some alcohol during your festivities, try the following tips:
- Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda.
- Limit alcohol consumption to one or two mixed drinks, no more than 16 ounces of wine, or and no more than three beers.
- Drink white wine instead of red wine.
- Choose non-alcoholic beer or wine.
- Keep track of which alcoholic drinks aggravate your heartburn, and avoid them as much as possible.
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Heartburn Or Heart Attack
A heart attack is when the arteries connected to the heart become blocked. Heartburn, on the other hand, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus.
Some symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack could be similar, such as chest pain. As a result, some people who are having a heart attack do not take action as they think they have heartburn.
If a person experiences heartburn pain alongside shortness of breath or sweating, this could be a heart-related issue.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- discomfort in the chest, such as squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain
- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, stomach, neck, jaw, or back
If a person has some or all of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention. In the words of the American Heart Association , If in doubt, check it out.
Knowing how to distinguish a heart attack from heartburn can save lives.