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This is your heartburn guide that provides heartburn information to those
of you searching for a heartburn free life. You'll also find a few Heartburn
Tips here that should help you with many of your heartburn problems and with your search
for heartburn relief. If you need additional help for your heartburn or indigestion
problems then feel free to send your questions to
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What is Heartburn?
Despite its name, heartburn does not affect the heart. Heartburn is a burning feeling
in the lower chest, along with a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth. It
usually occurs after eating a big meal or while lying down. The feeling can last
for a few minutes or a few hours. It is sometimes mistaken for more serious
conditions such as pain due to heart disease.
Why did I get Heartburn?
Heartburn problems typically occur because of overeating or eating the wrong foods
(rich or spicy).
Is there heartburn in children?
Yes. When children have heartburn it's usually the result of something they're
Is there a way of curing heartburn?
Drinking low-fat milk or chewing gum may alleviate the symptoms.
How do I prevent heartburn from recurring?
The best thing you can do is determine the bad foods of heartburn for you and avoid
them. These are considered heartburn trigger foods.
What causes Heartburn?
As you eat, food passes from your mouth down your esophagus into your stomach. Before
food enters your stomach it must pass through an opening between the esophagus and
stomach called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). This opening acts like a gate
to allow food to pass into the stomach. Usually the LES closes as soon as food passes
through. But if it doesn't close then acid from your stomach can get through the
opening and into your esophagus. This is called reflux, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal
reflux. Stomach acid can irritate the esophagus and cause the heartburn pain.
What is Hiatal Hernia?
Hiatal hernia is a condition where part of the stomach is pushed up through the
diaphragm (the muscle wall between the stomach and chest) and into the chest. Sometimes
this causes heartburn.
What Factors Add to Heartburn?
Many things can cause additional heartburn problems. Heartburn is most common after
overeating, when bending over or when lying down. Pregnancy, tight clothing especially
around the waist that puts pressure on your stomach, stress, and certain foods can
also make heartburn worse.
Can Heart Burn Be Serious?
If you have heartburn or acid indigestion problems on occasion then it is probably
not serious. But if you get heartburn frequently it can develop into esophagitis,
which is the inflamed lining of the esophagus. If esophagitis becomes severe then
your esophagus could narrow and cause problems swallowing and possibly bleeding.
If you get more than occasional heartburn then it may be a symptom of acid reflux
disease also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or you could even
have an inflamed stomach lining (gastritis) or a peptic ulcer.
Can antacid tablets and other over-the-counter remedies help ease heartburn problems?
Yes. There are antacids and acid blockers (also called H2 blockers) available over
the counter. The acid blockers block the release of acid and take about an hour
to kick in and work. For these to really help heartburn you should take them
before you eat. These acid blockers typically last around 9 to 12 hours. Make sure
to ask your doctor about acid blocker medications as they can cause side effects
or drug interactions. If you already have indigestion problems, an antacid
can give you fast, short-term relief. The antacids neutralize the acid in your stomach
and esophagus, they're fast acting, and they'll help indigestion for about 1 to
2 hours. If you've been experiencing long-term or frequent heartburn then you should
see your doctor. The use of over-the-counter medications may mask a more serious
condition like GERD.
What if My Symptoms Get Worse?
If the heartburn lifestyle changes and antacids aren't curing your heartburn symptoms
then you should talk with your doctor about your digestion problems. Your doctor
may prescribe heartburn medication or perform some tests. The tests might include
x-rays to check for ulcers, a pH test to check for acid in the esophagus, or an
endoscopy to check for other conditions. During an endoscopy, your doctor looks
into your stomach through a long thin tube, which is inserted down your esophagus.
Your doctor may also check for H. pylori, which is a bacteria that can cause ulcers.
What about Medicines for Heartburn?
Several kinds of medicine can be used as heartburn treatment procedures. H2 blockers
(some brand names: Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac) reduce the amount of acid your stomach
makes. Several are available without a prescription. Other medicines, such as omeprazole
(brand name: Prilosec) and lansoprazole (brand name: Prevacid), also reduce how
much acid the stomach makes. Metoclopramide (brand name: Reglan) reduces acid reflux.
To find out what medicine is right for you, talk with your doctor.
What Surgical Heartburn Treatment is Available?
When your symptoms are severe and medical treatment isn't curing your hiatal hernia
symptoms then your doctor may recommend corrective surgery to prevent heartburn/acid
reflux. The surgical procedure is called fundoplication, which involves replacing
the stomach back to its original position under the diaphragm. The surgeon then
wraps and stitches the upper few centimeters of the stomach around the oesophagus
(gullet) to prevent heartburn (reflux) from recurring. This operation can be carried
out either by traditional open surgery or by keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery.
Is Heartburn Associated with Heart Attacks?
No. But sometimes pain in the chest may be mistaken for heartburn when it is really
a sign of heart disease. Call your doctor if:
- You're short of breath
- You're vomiting blood
- You break out in a sweat when you have pain in your chest.
- You have bloody or black stools
- You're dizzy or light-headed
- You're experiencing pain going into your neck and shoulder
- You're having difficulty swallowing or it's painful to swallow
- You have heartburn often (more than 3 times a week) for more than 2 weeks
What should I do if my heartburn gets worse?
If your condition does not respond to over-the-counter treatments after two weeks,
see a doctor. You may be at risk for serious inflammation of the esophagus. Also,
if you have difficulty swallowing, you may have an underlying condition that requires
the attention of a health care professional. Do not continue to self-medicate.
Why is heartburn sometimes called acid indigestion?
The burning sensation of heartburn is caused when the acids from your stomach travel
up to your esophagus. The acids in your stomach are quite normal. In fact, that's
what helps to digest your food. And your stomach has a protective lining that can
shield against these acids. However, your esophagus does not have this lining and
is very sensitive to gastric acid. Fortunately the symptoms of heartburn/acid indigestion
can be treated with over-the-counter medications like Tagament HB 200®.
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