You know how terrible heartburn can be if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from it. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a burning sensation in the chest or throat that has nothing to do with your heart. Stomach acid backs up in the oesophagus, which transports food from your mouth to your stomach, causing heartburn. Stomach acid leaks into the oesophagus through a defect in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve that joins the oesophagus with the stomach, causing the burning sensation. Stomach acid can flow back into the oesophagus if the LES does not constrict adequately or gets compromised, generating a burning sensation.
Heartburn can be caused by a variety of factors. Foods that are acidic or heavy in fat, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, chocolate, coffee, cheese, and peppermint, are the most typical causes. Distress can also be caused by spicy foods or huge meals.Aspirin or ibuprofen, as well as several sedatives and blood pressure drugs, can cause heartburn. Cigarette smoking is known to impact LES function as well; cigarette smoking relaxes the muscle, causing heartburn.Due to the extra strain on the abdomen and stomach, being overweight or pregnant can also cause heartburn.
Symptoms generally appear within minutes of eating and might last for hours or minutes. A foul taste in your mouth, coughing, or hoarseness may accompany the burning in your chest. You could also feel as though food is “stuck” in your throat.Many people’s heartburn is worse when they lie down or bend over, since these activities allow stomach acid to flow more freely into the oesophagus.
What can you do to avoid or alleviate heartburn? Eat smaller, more frequent meals and wait 2-3 hours after eating before lying down to avoid items that cause the issue. Antacids are available over-the-counter and can be used after meals or as needed. An H2 blocker or proton pump inhibitor, both of which are available over the counter or with a prescription, may also be recommended by your doctor. You may have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a more dangerous form of acid reflux, if your symptoms do not improve or if you frequently rely on over-the-counter medications. To see if your symptoms are caused by GERD, your doctor may do an X-ray, an endoscopy, or other procedures.
Heartburn that occurs on a regular basis is usually not a reason for worry. If you have this symptom on a regular basis, you may have a significant health condition that need treatment.If you don’t seek treatment for severe heartburn, you might develop other health concerns including esophagitis, or Barrett’s oesophagus, which is an inflammation of the oesophagus. Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition that affects the lining of the oesophagus and raises the risk of esophageal cancer.Heartburn that persists can have a negative impact on your quality of life. If you’re having trouble getting through your day or are significantly limited in your activities due to heartburn, see your doctor to discuss a treatment plan.