How to treat heartburn symptoms
Heartburn, or acid indigestion, is a burning sensation in the middle of the chest that is worse when you bend over or lie down. It usually happens after eating and at night. It is caused by reflux. Reflux occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus (esophagus), causing inflammation. It is considered a disease when you have symptoms more than 2 times a week.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestion condition that allows stomach acid to move up the esophagus due to a weakening of the muscle at the point where the esophagus ends and the stomach begins. GERD often interferes with routine daily activities and results in damage to the esophagus.
Symptoms include heartburn, vomiting or regurgitation of blood, a bitter taste in the mouth, a burning sensation in the chest, dry cough, sore throat, pain when swallowing, and a hoarse voice.
Complications of GERD include scarring of the esophagus, bleeding in the stomach or esophagus, and ulcer formation in the esophagus or stomach. Risk factors for GERD include eating spicy or
hot foods, alcohol, sodas, caffeine, fatty foods, gassy foods (certain vegetables), pregnancy, obesity, smokers, and people with abdominal hernias.
Treatment for GERD includes the following:
Antacids help neutralize stomach acids, but they do not treat inflammation of the esophagus. Overuse can cause constipation and diarrhea.
Histamine-2 (H2) blockers reduce acid production in the stomach. It may not be as good for treating esophagitis (inflammation that occurs in the esophagus). Histamine stimulates acid production, especially after meals, so it is best to take H2 blockers 30 minutes before meals. They can also be taken before bed to suppress acid production at night. Examples of prescription H2 blockers:
These medications are helpful in relieving heartburn, but may not be as good at treating esophagitis (inflammation that occurs in the esophagus). Side effects can include headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, gas, sore throat, runny nose, and dizziness.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs that block acid production more effectively and for a longer period of time than H2 blockers. It is best to take PPIs one hour before meals. They include:
Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
Many doctors do not believe that one drug is more effective than others for treating GERD. These medications are also good at protecting the esophagus from acid so that inflammation in the esophagus can heal. Side effects can include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, nausea, and gas.
Avoid eating foods and drinks that cause heartburn. fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, citrus fruits (pineapple, strawberries), vinegar, foods that can cause gas (peppers, cabbage), and caffeine can make heartburn worse. Don’t overeat. Try to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Do not lie down after a meal and wait 2-3 hours after eating before lying down or bending over. Elevate the head of your bed. Do not smoke. Avoid medications that can irritate your stomach, such as NSAIDs (aspirin, Aleve, ibuprofen. Weight loss can help reduce abdominal pressure that pushes acid into the esophagus. Avoid wearing tight clothing
Seek medical attention if symptoms occur more than 2 times a week and over-the-counter medicines do not help, if you have trouble swallowing, nausea, vomiting, or weight loss.