Many Americans struggle with some form of heartburn, and many have chronic heartburn that can negatively impact their quality of life. Depending on the severity, heartburn can range from mild irritation to debilitating pain. If you would like to know more about heartburn and heartburn treatments, keep reading.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?
Heartburn usually comes with a burning and/or sharp pain in your abdomen below your breastbone/ribs. You may or may not feel acid or burning in your throat from rising acid. In many cases, the pain associated with heartburn can feel like a heart attack.
However, if you have heartburn, the symptoms usually appear soon after you eat, and they may worsen if you lay down. Most patients do not experience shortness of breath or cold sweats.
What Causes Heartburn?
Some foods are simply more likely to cause acid reflux. Foods like tomatoes, citrus, and others high in acid can trigger too much stomach acid. Other foods that commonly cause heartburn include:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
Being pregnant as well as increases in hormones like progesterone can also increase your risk of heartburn. Being overweight and smoking may also trigger acid reflux episodes. Other possible causes include:
- Certain medications like ibuprofen
- Hiatal hernia
Are There Different Types of Heartburn?
There are not really different types of heartburn, but doctors usually differentiate between acid reflux and GERD. Acid reflux happens occasionally and usually has a clear cause such as spicy food. It usually responds well to over-the-counter antacids. However, if you suffer from chronic acid reflux, you may be diagnosed with GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
How Is Heartburn Treated?
Mild heartburn is easily treated with an antiacid. You may even prevent heartburn by taking a preventative antiacid. If your heartburn is caused by medications, changing medications can help. Similarly, changing your diet and handling stress may also help.
If your heartburn is caused by a hiatal hernia, you may need surgery to fix the hernia. If you have GERD, you may want to ask your doctor about medications like H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors.
Heartburn can make your life miserable. In many cases, mild lifestyle changes can prevent the problem, but many Americans have GERD, which can lead to chronic severe pain. If you would like to know more, or if you want to start seeking treatment for your GERD, contact a doctor in your area today.
For more information on heartburn treatment, contact a professional near you.