Most times, heartburn can be left untreated as it goes away on its own. Sometimes, it is treated with simple home remedies. Avoiding foods with high fat, spicy and carbonated that trigger heartburn by stimulating the overproduction of acid in the abdomen. Other measures encompass a balanced dietary intake and regular exercise. Taking yogurt, lean proteins, and legumes neutralizes the acidity of the stomach. With a healthy lifestyle, occasional heartburn can be dealt. Antacid medications such as Gaviscon, Gelusil, and Maalox, are taken to ease immediate symptoms.
Diagnosis for heartburn becomes necessary only when the individual experiences persistent chronic heartburn, despite taking over-the-counter (OTCs) pills. Such a condition indicates the presence of an underlying disease called GERD. GERD treatment comprises a clinical evaluation of the signs and symptoms, endoscopy, esophageal manometry, barium swallow, and serology assays.
Heartburn is a painful and burning sensation in the chest right behind the sternum because of the rise of stomach acid back-up into the esophagus. It is also referred to as pyrosis. Heartburn can be treated using a general antacid.
Overview of heartburn
Heartburn is a common condition in the gastro-esophageal system. More precisely, it manifests various underlying conditions, such as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux. The inflammation and irritation induced by heartburn increase after having a meal, bending over, or lying down. Heartburn is frequently described as indigestion and occurs when the stomach acid effluxes into the esophagus. Unlike the gut lining, the esophageal lining is not supported with adequate tissue layers to neutralize digestive acids.
As a result, a lingering pain that lasts from a few minutes to several hours follows. Infrequent heartburns are prevalent even among active individuals, and it is seldom life-threatening. However, a matter of extreme medical attention is required when persistent heartburns are interfering with mundane activities that occur in an individual. In such cases, treatment for the underlying disorder, such as GERD, must be provided to avoid further complications. The term “heartburn” has nothing to do with the heart but gets its name because there is a nagging pain from the region surrounding the heart. Estimates suggest that about 60 million American adults suffer from heartburn at least every month, and more than 25 million individuals experience heartburn every day. Heartburn is common in the pregnant population. General antacids are used to relieve heartburn.
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What you’ll learn:
Overview of heartburn
Symptoms of heartburn
Causes of heartburn
Diagnosis and treatment of heartburn
Symptoms of heartburn
The symptoms of heartburn range from stabbing pain to a perpetual dull ache behind the chest region. However, it also comprises the following symptoms:
Chest pain that worsens on lying down or eating a meal.
Regurgitation of liquids and food with a burning sensation in the throat.
Acidic, unpleasant, salty, or sour taste in the mouth and throat.
Persistent burning of the upper abdomen.
A sensation of food held up in the esophagus.
Chronic cough accompanied by a sore and hoarse throat.
An indicator of heartburn during pregnancy is a sense of fullness and bloating. It is most often followed by indigestion, burping, and belching.
Causes of heartburn
Heartburn is caused when there is a release or leak of stomach acid into the esophageal tube. During the process of deglutition, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes, allowing the food ingested to move down the larynx. By an act of peristalsis, food is rhythmically pushed down and enters the abdomen, where digestion begins. Occasionally, the LES, which is flap-like, weakens, relaxes too often, or does not close tight enough. As a result, digestive acids seep into the esophagus, extending up to the throat. The common reason that the LES does not shut tight enough is overeating. Other likely explanations include very high pressure on the abdomen, such as constipation and pregnancy.
Certain foods can bring about a reflex reaction in the human body by stimulating excessive stomach acid production. They are as follows:
Medications, such as ibuprofen.
Acidic fruits and vegetables.
Fried and oily food.
One well-established risk factor includes individuals suffering from hiatal hernia. In a hiatal hernia, diaphragmatic breathing is restricted because of a bulge near the stomach. Thus, the current position of the LES may hinder it from shutting completely. In pregnant women, elevated progesterone levels cause the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which results in the leak of stomach acids. In obese individuals, elevated abdominal pressure is likely to lead to a backflow of food and fluids.
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