Heartburn is a feeling of burning sensation and intense pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain often gets worse after eating in the evening or when lying down or bending over. Casual or random heartburn is common and has no cause for alarm. Most people experience the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Heartburn that may come more frequently can interfere with your daily activity that can be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires urgent medical care.
The most common symptom of heartburn tends to feel warmth, heat or burning in the chest and throat. This may be due to the stomach releases the acid flowing back up into the oesophagus. Some symptoms of heartburn may include as:
- A burning sensation and slight pain in the chest usually occurs after eating and may occur at night
- Pain that may get worsens when lying down or bending over, or during sleep.
- You feel a Bitter or acidic taste in your mouth.
If you feel heartburn for a long time, it may be a sign of a more severe condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. A doctor is able to find whether it's GERD that causing the heartburn from your symptoms. With the help of the tests, the doctor will find the how serious condition is and may do several tests, including:
- X-ray: a solution called a barium suspension that coats the lining of your upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract -- your oesophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine.
- Endoscopy: A small camera on a flexible tube is put down into your throat to give a view of your upper GI tract.
- Ambulatory acid probe test (oesophagal pH monitoring): It measures when stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus and for how long.
- Oesophagal motility test or oesophagal manometer: A catheter going to be put into your oesophagus and measures pressure and movement.
Heartburn Problems & Complications
Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous. But GERD can sometimes give you serious problems which cannot be avoided, such as:
- A long-term coughLaryngitis
- Inflammation or ulcers of the oesophagus
- face problems of swallowing because of a narrow oesophagus
- Barrett's oesophagus, a condition that can make it more likely to get oesophagal cancer
Heartburn occurs most frequently and interferes in a daily life activity which is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This treatment may require prescription medications and surgery, or other medical procedures.
To prevent heartburn, it's best to avoid lying down for at least two hours after also eating, avoid fats, sweets, chocolates and citrus foods. Antacid medications may ease symptoms immediately. Other medications such as omeprazole and avoid taking longer to work but may provide more effective relief.
Seeking medical care
See a doctor immediately if you:
- Have chest pain along with sweating, shortness of breath or pain in the arm or jaw
- Experience heartburn symptoms that don't respond to antacids
Visit your doctor and make an appointment if you feel any of these symptoms
- You may experience heartburn two or more times a week
- Get reflux symptoms that interfere with sleep
- Develop a new cough
- Have difficulty swallowing, nausea or vomiting
- Don't improve with self-treatment
- Lose weight unintentionally
Treatment of Heartburn
A person may discover symptoms of heartburn by using these drugs, which are:
- Antacids, which are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that help relieve mild heartburn
- Proton pump inhibitors which help to reduce the amount of stomach acid
- H2 blockers, which are a type of medication that reduces stomach acid levels and may help to heal the oesophagal lining.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I prevent heartburn?
Mild cases of acid reflux can usually be prevented by adopting a few lifestyle changes in your daily activity.
When should I call my doctor about my heartburn?
Contact your doctor if you have any of the following heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms or conditions.
Does drinking water help heartburn?
Drinking water during the later stages of digestion can reduce acidity and GERD symptoms.
Will heartburn go away by itself?
Mild heartburn occurs after eating spicy or acidic food, which lasts until the food gets digested.