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Find Best Physician Online To Help You With Heartburn

Heartburn refers to that ‘fire in the chest’ feeling. It’s an extremely common problem created by acid reflux, a condition in which some of the stomach contents regurgitate into the esophagus. It creates a burning sensation in the lower chest. It can cause a great deal of discomfort to the extent that it may even be mistaken for a heart attack. Have you ever experienced heartburn? If you suffer from it frequently then see your doctor. You could also find doctors online and book a tele-appointment with doctor by downloading an online doctor app on your smartphone.

Persistent acid reflux or frequent episodes of heartburn that occurs more than twice a week is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You feel heartburn when stomach acid flows back up into the food-pipe that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Heartburn is not a medical condition itself, rather a symptom of GERD.

How many people are affected by heartburn?

The global prevalence of heartburn is approximately 12% and affects more females than males. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn every day. Why do so many people experience heartburn? Let’s go over the basics and learn more about the nature of stomach fluid, the sphincter (junction) between the esophagus and stomach, and how reflux can be harmful.

Random facts about heartburn

  • Major contributing factors include diet, obesity, and lack of exercise.
  • The primary symptom is a burning sensation in the throat or chest from stomach acid.
  • Heartburn doesn’t affect overall health.
  • It’s a treatable condition with appropriate lifestyle changes and medication such as PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors).

What causes heartburn?

Occasional heartburn is normal and shouldn’t cause significant concern. However, repetitive or recurrent episodes of acid reflux results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or GORD). This can potentially lead to complications and may indicate other underlying health issues such as umbilical hernia or esophageal cancer. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects individuals of all ages, and is often caused by poor lifestyle choices such as obesity, smoking, and low levels of activity.

Some of the most common factors that may contribute to heartburn are:

  • coffee, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • stress and anxiety
  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers (like ibuprofen)
  • a hiatus hernia – when part of your stomach moves up into your chest

If you have any of the above risk factors talk to your doctor about it. Or you can download My live doctors mobile app on your smartphone and instantly connect to online healthcare professionals. Schedule a tele-appointment with doctor and find out more on how to prevent heartburn.

Signs and symptoms of heartburn

The most obvious and common symptom of heartburn is the common feeling of warmth or heat, sometimes burning, in the chest and throat, caused by the stomach acid.

Other symptoms include:

  • burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
  • rising pain that may even reach the jaw.
  • burning and indigestion-like pain.
  • foul, acrid taste in the mouth.

If you experience symptoms of acid reflux frequently, then you should consult your doctor, who may refer you to a gastroenterologist. You can connect to a specialist online at My live doctors for further investigation. 

How to treat heartburn? 

  • The goal of heartburn treatment caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease is to reduce the production of stomach acid. Treatment depends upon underlying cause but certain lifestyle changes can help prevent or reduce heartburn. For instance,
  • healthy and balanced diet limiting fat intake 
  • avoid eating before lying down and sit up straight while eating
  • avoiding heavy lifting and straining
  • limit intake of alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, full cream milk, gassy foods, such as soft drinks, and acidic food, such as tomato, lemon, or orange juices
  • reduce weight
  • avoiding smoking
  • increase activity
  • eat small meals
  • review existing medications

Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy, primarily because of increasing size of uterus pressing up against the stomach. Hormonal changes and the baby pressing against the stomach also contribute to heartburn during pregnancy. 

Experts say that there are diet and lifestyle changes that can often help to relieve the symptoms. The American Pregnancy Association suggests the following measures:

  • eating five to six small meals throughout the day
  • not lying down within an hour of eating
  • avoiding fatty and spicy foods
  • Before eating, it may help to eat some yogurt or drink some milk, possibly with a spoonful of honey in it.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to help with symptom relief as well such as antacids, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and anti-histamines. Please consult your doctor before beginning any medicine. For more details on gut health please visit www.mylivedoctors.com.