Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that often occurs after eating. What causes heartburn? Heartburn happens when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus — the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. This occurs when the valve between your stomach and esophagus does not close properly.
Heartburn is a common problem that can cause a lot of discomfort. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help relieve heartburn symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating can all help reduce heartburn. If these lifestyle changes do not help, over-the-counter or prescription medications may be necessary. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing frequent or severe heartburn.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartburn?
Heartburn typically causes a burning sensation in the center of your chest. The sensation may also radiate to your neck, throat, or jaw. You may also experience:
- A sour or bitter taste in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain that gets worse when you lie down or bend over
- Burning in your throat
- Chronic cough or hoarseness
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor. They can help determine if you have heartburn and develop a treatment plan. left untreated, heartburn can lead to more serious problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Barrett’s esophagus.
GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus and causes irritation and damage. Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the cells of your esophagus are replaced with abnormal cells that may increase your risk of developing cancer.
Treatments for Heartburn
1. Over the Counter Antacids: Antacids like Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox can help neutralize stomach acids and provide quick relief.
2. Over the Counter H2 Blockers: These medications, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac), can reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces.
3. Over the Counter Proton Pump Inhibitors: These medications, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid), decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces.
4. Prescription Medications: If over-the-counter medications don’t provide relief, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication.
5. Surgery: If you have severe heartburn that doesn’t respond to other treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery.
At Home Heartburn Remedies
There are a number of at-home remedies for heartburn that you can try. One easy remedy is to drink a glass of water with one teaspoon of baking soda mixed in. Another remedy is to eat a banana. Bananas are a natural antacid and can help to relieve heartburn symptoms.
You can also try drinking peppermint tea, which can help to calm the stomach and stop the production of acid. If you are experiencing heartburn frequently, it is important to see a doctor to find out the underlying cause. There may be a more serious problem that requires medical attention.
When Should I Call a Doctor?
Heartburn is a common problem that many people experience. It can be caused by a variety of things, including eating certain foods, smoking, and drinking alcohol. In most cases, heartburn can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, there are times when you should call a doctor for heartburn.
If you are experiencing severe chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately. If you are pregnant and have heartburn, you should call your doctor. Heartburn can be a sign of a more serious problem during pregnancy. If your heartburn does not improve after taking over-the-counter medications for two weeks, you should call your doctor.
Heartburn can be a nuisance, but it is important to seek treatment if the symptoms persist. There are many ways to treat heartburn, so you can find one that works for you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.