Heartburn is a symptom you get when acid from the stomach comes up into your esophagus (which it’s not supposed to do). It usually happens when you’re awake, and can be quite painful. If material from your stomach (of which hydrochloric acid is just one part) makes it up to your throat, this is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (larynx and throat), and this can irritate the tissues of the vocal folds and surrounding area. You do not have to feel heartburn or regurgitation to have reflux, and only 50% of those with reflux feel these symptoms. Results of this include a hoarse voice (worse when you awaken in the morning), and/or chronic dry coughing. Sometimes a deepening or increase in the hoarseness of your voice can be the only sign of this type of tissue damage. Repeated/long-term burning of these tissues can lead to pathologic tissue changes, and needs to be treated.
Most people experience acid reflux after eating a large meal. This is a condition that develops when the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms such as heartburn or regurgitation and/or complications. Other symptoms that may require further evaluation include chronic cough, difficulty or pain with swallowing, chest pain or nausea.Commonly known triggers include:
- Nicotine (any tobacco products)
- Fried or fatty foods
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate)
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Peppermint and spearmint
- Lying flat
- Hiatal hernia
- Certain prescription medicines
3 AnswersRealAge answeredYou have lots of medication options for treating your heartburn symptoms. They range from relatively mild over-the-counter (OTC) remedies to stronger prescription medicines.
In addition to antacids, here are some examples of OTC and prescription options that may be ideal for treating your heartburn symptoms:
Bismuth subsalicylate: This OTC medication for nausea and diarrhea also helps relieve heartburn by coating the esophagus and acting as a barrier to stomach acids. People who cannot take aspirin should avoid bismuth subsalicylate.
Common brands of this kind of medication include the following:
Common OTC brand names include the following:
- Axid AR (nizatidine)
- Pepcid AC (famotidine)
- Tagamet HB (cimetidine)
- Zantac 75 (ranitidine)
Common prescription brand names include the following:
- Axid (nizatidine)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Zantac (ranitidine)
Currently, the only OTC PPI available is:
- Prilosec OTC (omeprazole)
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate)
- Reglan (metoclopramide)
- Urecholine (bethanechol)
1 AnswerLawrence Friedman, Gastroenterology, answeredAbout one-third of Americans have heartburn at least once a month, with 10% experiencing it nearly every day. One survey revealed that 65% of people with heartburn have symptoms both during the day and at night, with 75% of the nighttime heartburn patients saying that the problem keeps them from sleeping, and 40% reporting that nighttime heartburn affects their job performance the following day. This epidemic leads people to spend at least $2 billion a year on over-the-counter antacids alone. Clearly, it's a major problem.
Although heartburn does occur in skinny people, abdominal fat and overeating can put undue pressure on the stomach forcing contents upwards. If symptoms coincided with recent weight gain or if you are overweight (Body mass index: BMI, 25.0-29.9) or obese (BMI, 30.0) losing 10 lbs can offer up some relief. You might also try consuming smaller and more frequent meals rather than one big one. Keep belts lose and avoid restrictive clothing and undergarments.
3 AnswersMealtimes are a battleground for sufferers of heartburn who must constantly analyze the fire-provoking potential of foods. Acidic foods can be irritating to the sensitive lining of the esophagus and some can lower sphincter pressure. Common culprits are citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, onions, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, chocolate and mint. Some people have proposed that Himalayan salt reduces acid.
1 AnswerThe epicenter of the heartburn problem is the juncture between the stomach and the esophagus, the gastroesophageal sphincter. During normal digestion this band of muscle relaxes to allow swallowed food to enter from the esophagus into the stomach and contract when it is done. The stomach contains gastric juices, hydrochloric acid and enzymes that begin the process of digestion. When the sphincter pressure is lax, it causes the backflow of acid into the esophagus. It can cause burning pain or worse, damage sensitive tissue not accustomed to coming into contact with caustic stomach contents.