Health

All about Heartburn!

A certain painful burning sensation in your chest will surely indicate acid reflux. Many people suffer from heartburn for many reasons. It arises when stomach acid leaks and irritates the esophageal lining.

It takes place usually with certain meals or just overeating, heartburn can be managed with over-the-counter antacids. But occasionally, heartburn is an indication of bigger disorders that require treatment strategies.

Most people experience occasional heartburn, which does not require a visit to the doctor. However, regular heartburn (more than twice per week) or persistent heartburn even after the use of over-the-counter medicines may suggest a more serious form of heartburn, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GORD or GERD), for which you should consult a doctor.

What Causes Your Heartburn?


The condition affects when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

The burning sensation is typically caused by stomach acid spilling into the esophagus through a defect in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve that connects the esophagus and the stomach. Stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) stops contracting properly or becomes weak.

There are numerous causes of heartburn. One of the main reasons is acidic or fatty foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, chocolate, coffee, cheese, and peppermint. 

In addition to aspirin and ibuprofen, various sedatives and blood pressure medicines can cause heartburn. Nicotine in cigarettes is known to affect LES performance; smoking relaxes the muscle, which can lead to heartburn.

Due to increased strain on the abdomen and stomach, obesity and pregnancy can also cause heartburn. To consult a gastroenterologist in Rawalpindi.

Symptoms


The most common symptom of acid reflux or heartburn is a feeling of warmth, heat, or burning in the chest and neck. It is caused by stomach acid going back up into the esophagus.

Other symptoms include a burning sensation in the center of the chest, a scorching, indigestion-like ache, and a terrible, acrid taste in the mouth.

During Pregnancy


According to several types of research, heartburn and indigestion are typical during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and the baby pressing on the stomach.

Studies suggest dietary and lifestyle modifications that may alleviate symptoms. These include eating five to six small meals throughout the day, avoiding lying down within an hour after eating, and avoiding fatty and spicy foods.

Complications


Heartburn is not negligible. If left untreated, repeated irritation and inflammation of the esophagus can result in ulcers, which are tiny pockets of tissue disintegration. These can cause severe bleeding.

Some serious consequences of GERD include scarring and stricture. Acid reflux may cause changes in the kind of cells lining the esophagus, resulting in Barrett’s esophagus, which is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Sometimes, a medical clinical assessment is enough to diagnose heartburn. Your doctor can do tests to prove the severity of your heartburn or esophageal damage.

Treatment


Even people in good health can have occasional heartburn. Heartburn that is mild and infrequent can typically be treated with lifestyle modifications, such as eating smaller meals instead of large ones. 

Using some over-the-counter antacids is also helpful. These neutralize stomach acid. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking these medications if you are pregnant.

Can I Prevent Heartburn?


Dietary and lifestyle modifications can often prevent and alleviate heartburn.

    • Not going to bed with a full stomach. Eat at least three to four hours before bedtime. This allows your stomach to empty and minimizes the likelihood of getting heartburn during the night.
    • Avoiding overeating Reducing the size of your portions at meals can help reduce your risk of heartburn. Try eating four or five smaller meals instead of three larger ones.
    • Eat slowly. Frequently, eating slowly can help prevent heartburn. Put your fork down between bites, and avoid eating too hastily.
    • Try to wear loose-fitting clothing. Sometimes, belts and tight garments might trigger heartburn. You may be able to prevent heartburn by avoiding certain articles of clothing.
    • Avoiding certain foods certain foods can cause heartburn in many individuals. Try keeping track of these foods so you can avoid them in the future. Your healthcare practitioner may also advise you to abstain from drinking.
    • Keeping a healthy weight. Often, weight loss might help ease heartburn.
    • Not smoking the nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus). 
    • Left-side sleeping this may expedite digestion and the elimination of acid from the stomach and esophagus.
    • Raising the bed’s head so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. Place six-inch blocks or books beneath the bedposts at the head of the bed. Do not use pillow stacks. They may lead you to exert additional pressure on your stomach and exacerbate your heartburn.
    • Plan your workout to prevent heartburn. Exercise at least two hours after eating. If you begin exercising too soon, you may have heartburn. Additionally, you should drink plenty of water before and during the activity. Water is helpful in digestion and prevents dehydration.

Conclusion


Heartburn is a common disorder that is mostly harmless, but it may indicate a more serious medical condition. Contact your best gastroenterologist in Islamabad to explore treatment options or to request further testing if you experience persistent heartburn that interferes with your everyday life.

FAQs

1. Can water relieve heartburn?


Usually, just a few drinks of water alleviate heartburn problems. It may also arise as a result of water neutralizing acids and draining them out of the esophagus. At pH 7, water is neutral. It decreases the acidity of the stomach contents and provides relief.

2. What are the food triggers for heartburn?


These include:

    • Oily foods
    • Cheesy foods
    • Processed foods items
    • Chili powder with pepper (white, black, cayenne)
    • Ham and sausage are examples of fatty meats.

3. Can you feel shortness of breath during heartburn?


Generally, acid reflux causes shortness of breath in those with severe acid reflux or GERD that destroys the throat, airway, or lungs. If you occasionally experience heartburn, your chest may also feel weird or tight.

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