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    Heartburn

    Also called: Acid indigestion, Pyrosis
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    Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

    If you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have GERD. But you can have GERD without having heartburn.

    Pregnancy, certain foods, alcohol, and some medications can bring on heartburn. Treating heartburn is important because over time reflux can damage the esophagus.

    Over-the-counter medicines may help. If the heartburn continues, you may need prescription medicines or surgery.

    If you have other symptoms such as crushing chest pain, it could be a heart attack. Get help immediately.

    Symptoms of Heartburn

    The following features are indicative of Heartburn:
    • burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and may occur at night
    • pain that worsens when lying down or bending over
    References: 1

    Common Causes of Heartburn

    The following are the most common causes of Heartburn:
    • acid reflux
    References: 2

    Risk Factors of Heartburn

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of Heartburn:
    • eating more spicy foods
    • eating onions
    • taking more citrus products
    • tomato products, such as ketchup
    • eating fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint
    • eating chocolate
    • consuming more alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee or other caffeinated beverages
    • taking large or fatty meals

    Prevention of Heartburn

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent Heartburn. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • maintain a healthy weight
    • avoid tight fitting clothing, which puts pressure on abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter
    • avoid foods that trigger heartburn
    • avoid lying down after a meal
    • avoid late meals
    • elevate the head of bed if you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep
    • avoid smoking
    References: 3

    Occurrence of Heartburn.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of Heartburn cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Very common > 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    Heartburn most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Can happen at any age

    Common Gender

    Heartburn most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 4

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Heartburn

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Heartburn:
    • X-ray: To view the shape and condition of your esophagus and stomach
    • Endoscopy: To check for abnormalities in your esophagus
    • Ambulatory acid probe tests: To identify when, and for how long, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus
    • Esophageal motility testing: To measure movement and pressure in your esophagus
    References: 5, 6

    Doctor for Diagnosis of Heartburn:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Heartburn:
    • Gastroenterologist

    Complications of Heartburn if Untreated

    Yes, Heartburn causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Heartburn is left untreated:
    • gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • damage to esophagus
    References: 7

    Self-care for Heartburn

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Heartburn:
    • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess pounds put pressure on abdomen that causes acid to back up into your esophagus
    • Avoid tight fitting clothing: Puts pressure on abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter
    • Avoid foods that trigger heartburn
    • Elevate the head of your bed if you regularly experience heartburn while sleep
    • Avoid smoking: Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter's ability to function properly
    References: 7

    Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Heartburn

    The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Heartburn:
    • Aromatherapy: It is offered as a complementary therapy for Heartburn
    • Massage: Used to treat heart problems
    • Relaxation techniques: To relax the signs and symptoms of heartburn
    References: 7

    Time for Treatment of Heartburn

    While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Heartburn to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
    • In 1 - 4 weeks
    References: 8

    Related Topics - Heartburn

    Questions - Heartburn

    Heartburn medicines are commonly known as antacids. These medicines are Magnesium hydroxide, Calcium hydroxide, Aluminum hydroxide and Gaviscon. These medicines are safe during pregnancy. Antacids are used to treat heartburn, work by neutralizing the stomach acid. It is a non-prescription drug.
    
    A study published in 2010 in Journal of Canadian Family Physicians reported that antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and histamine-2 receptor antagonists are safe to use for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) during pregnancy. Another study also reported that antacids containing calcium, magnesium, and aluminum does not cause any teratogenic effect in animal studies and these are recommended as first-line treatment for heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy.
    
    Most of the antacids are proven to be safe, but it may cause side effects during treatment of heartburn in pregnancy, such as diarrhea, constipation or muscle cramps, and may interfere with food absorption. Women taking Heartburn medicines are advised to notify their gynaecologist if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy or are breastfeeding an infant.
    
    References
    1. Law R, Maltepe C, Bozzo P, Einarson A. Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56(2):143-4. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821234/ Accessed December 11, 2017
    2. Dowswell T, Neilson JP. Interventions for heartburn in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(4):CD007065 URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4071443/ Accessed December 20, 2017
    3. MedlinePlus Taking antacids URL: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000198.htm Accessed December 20, 2017
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    Heartburn medicines are commonly known as antacids. These medicines are Magnesium hydroxide, Calcium hydroxide, Aluminum hydroxide and Gaviscon. These medicines are safe during pregnancy. Antacids are used to treat heartburn, work by neutralizing the stomach acid. It is a non-prescription drug.
    
    A study published in 2010 in Journal of Canadian Family Physicians reported that antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and histamine-2 receptor antagonists are safe to use for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) during pregnancy. Another study also reported that antacids containing calcium, magnesium, and aluminum does not cause any teratogenic effect in animal studies and these are recommended as first-line treatment for heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy.
    
    Most of the antacids are proven to be safe, but it may cause side effects during treatment of heartburn in pregnancy, such as diarrhea, constipation or muscle cramps, and may interfere with food absorption. Women taking Heartburn medicines are advised to notify their gynaecologist if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy or are breastfeeding an infant.
    
    References
    1. Law R, Maltepe C, Bozzo P, Einarson A. Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56(2):143-4. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821234/ Accessed December 11, 2017
    2. Dowswell T, Neilson JP. Interventions for heartburn in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(4):CD007065 URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4071443/ Accessed December 20, 2017
    3. MedlinePlus Taking antacids URL: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000198.htm Accessed December 20, 2017
    Share
    Share the link to this answer

    References

    1. Mayo Clinic Heartburn http://www.Mayo - Accessed: February 20, 2017. Clinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/basics/symptoms/con-20019545
    2. Mayo Clinic Heartburn http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. Mayo Clinic Heartburn http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. Oliveria SA, Christos PJ, Talley NJ, Dannenberg AJ. Heartburn risk factors, knowledge, and prevention strategies: a population-based survey of individuals with heartburn. Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(14):1592-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1042... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. Wikipedia Heartburn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartburn - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. Mayo Clinic Heartburn http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. Mayo Clinic Heartburn http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    8. NIH Treatment for GER & GERD https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-informa... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    9. Source: https://medlineplus.gov/heartburn.html

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 5/16/2018.
    This page provides information for Heartburn.

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