Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation or pain in the chest, just below the sternum. Often, the pain increases, if the person to go to or tilted. If heartburn occurs from time to time, it should not cause particular concern. Most people cope with the discomfort that it causes, using folk remedies, lifestyle changes and OTC drugs. If it occurs frequently, and even interfere with your daily activities, you need to see a doctor.
Pain and a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn which usually occur after meals and sometimes at night. Symptoms of heartburn are usually aggravated when people go to bed or bends.
In very severe pain in the chest, especially if it is accompanied by shortness of breath and pain in the jaw or arms should contact a doctor immediately. Such pain may be a symptom of a heart attack
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. In addition, you need to make an appointment to see a doctor if pain in the chest appear more frequently than twice a week, the symptoms persist despite the fact that you are taking non-prescription drugs and / or when these symptoms you find it hard to swallow.
GERD occurs when the gastric juice of the stomach rises up through the esophagus. Normally, when you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter - the muscle ring and the lower part of the esophagus - relaxes to let food and liquid into the stomach and then closes again. However, if the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes without the need or weakens, stomach acid can rise up the esophagus, causing heartburn. When you bend over or lie down, gastric juice becomes easier to penetrate into the esophagus, thus worsening the symptoms of heartburn.
Some products may increase the likelihood of heartburn, for example:
- Black pepper
- Fatty food
- Fried foods
- Orange juice
- Refreshing drinks (soft drinks, carbonated water with different flavors, energy drinks and so on)
- Tomato juice
Frequent heartburn that can adversely affect the patient's ability to cope with daily activities, usually called
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For the treatment of this disease is often required acceptance of drugs and, sometimes, surgery and other treatments. GERD can cause serious damage to the esophagus.
To determine whether the heartburn symptom of GERD may need one or more of the following procedures:
- X-ray examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Before this procedure, the patient drinks a solution of barium, which is a radiopaque substance. In this way the doctor can get a better look at the picture the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
- Endoscopy - an effective way to study the inside of the esophagus. During the procedure, the patient is injected through the throat of a thin, flexible tube, at the end of which there is a light and camera (endoscope). The doctor can examine the esophagus and stomach, as well as, if necessary, a biopsy - to take a small piece of tissue for further analysis. Endoscopy is particularly effective for detecting complications of GERD, for example, such a breach as Barrett's esophagus.
Determination of acid in the esophagus is used to determine when how long stomach acid is released into the esophagus. Through the nose into the esophagus introduced a thin, flexible tube - a catheter. It is connected to a small computer which the patient within a certain time is on the belt. Sometimes, instead of using a small catheter sensor which is attached to the wall of the esophagus during endoscopy. It transmits signals to a small computer which the patient within a few days bears. Then the sensor is disconnected from the wall of the esophagus and is displayed together with a chair. Sometimes, in order to prepare for this test, doctors ask patients to stop taking drugs for GERD.
What increases heartburn
Many factors contribute to the strengthening of heartburn. The most common heartburn occurs after a meal, or when bending in a horizontal position of the body. Pregnancy, uncomfortable and tight clothing, to put pressure on your stomach, stress
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and certain foods (eg, acute fatty foods, alcohol) contribute to the emergence of heartburn and worsen it. Listed below are other factors that increase the symptoms of heartburn:
- Cigarette smoking
- Coffee (regular and decaffeinated) and other drinks containing caffeine
- Citrus fruit
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products
- Chocolate products with peppermint
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- Oily and spicy food (pizza, chili, curry)
- Aspirin or ibuprofen
- Some other medicines (consult your doctor)
If there are occasional bouts of heartburn may be no cause for concern. However, if attacks occur regularly or burns constantly, it is possible the development of esophagitis (inflammation of the esophageal mucosa). During exacerbation of esophagitis esophagus narrows, which can cause bleeding or pain when swallowing food.
Regular bouts of heartburn may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis), hiatal hernia (hiatal hernia) or stomach ulcers
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To prevent heartburn, you should change your lifestyle.
How to get rid of heartburn
- Enclose the bricks under the legs at the head of the bed to lift it a little bit.
- Try to eat at least two to three hours before going to lie down. If you love to nap in the afternoon, relax in the chair.
- Try to lose weight if you are overweight.
- Do not overeat.
- Eat more foods high in protein and low in fat.
- Do not wear tight clothing and do not over-tighten the waist belt.
- Eliminate from your diet foods that cause heartburn.