Symptoms, causes treatment of heartburn

heartburn

heartburn

DEFINITION

Heartburn

is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain is often worse when lying down or bending over.

Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.

Heartburn that is more frequent or interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of heartburn include:

  • A burning pain in the chest that usually occurs after eating and may occur at night
  • Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over
  • CAUSES

    Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach (esophagus).

    Normally when you swallow, a band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then the muscle tightens again.

    If the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus (acid reflux) and cause heartburn. The acid backup may be worse when you’re bent over or lying down.

    RISK FACTORS

    Certain foods and drinks can trigger heartburn in some people, including:

  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Citrus products
  • Tomato products, such as ketchup
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee or other caffeinated beverages
  • Large or fatty meals
  • Being overweight or pregnant also can increase your risk of experiencing heartburn.
  • COMPLICATIONS

    Heartburn that occurs frequently and interferes with your routine is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD treatment may require prescription medications and, occasionally, surgery or other procedures. GERD can seriously damage your esophagus.

    TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

    Many over-the-counter medications can help relieve heartburn. The options include:

  • Antacids, which help neutralize stomach acid. Antacids may provide quick relief. But they can’t heal an esophagus damaged by stomach acid.
  • H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs), which can reduce stomach acid. H2RAs don’t act as quickly as antacids, but may provide longer relief.
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR) and omeprazole (Prilosec OTC), which also can reduce stomach acid.
  • If over-the-counter treatments don’t work or you rely on them often, see your doctor. You may need prescription medication.
  • LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

    Lifestyle changes can help ease heartburn:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

     Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

  • Avoid tightfitting clothing, which puts pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn.
  • Avoid lying down after a meal. Wait at least three hours.
  • Avoid late meals.
  • Elevate the head of your bed if you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep. If that’s not possible, insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Raising your head with additional pillows usually isn’t effective.
  • Avoid smoking. 

    Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.

  • ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

    Anxiety and stress can worsen heartburn symptoms. Some complementary and alternative treatments may help you cope with anxiety and stress. If your heartburn is worsened by anxiety and stress, consider trying:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Gentle exercise, such as walking or riding a bike, but avoid vigorous exercise, which can worsen heartburn
  • Hypnosis
  • Listening to music
  • Massage
  • Relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery
  • About Nursefaith 44 Articles
    Hello____ my name is faith,and a nurse by profession loves taking care of people especially your health. I am here whenever you need me,for everyday care or life-changing care,you can count on me to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

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