HomeLifestyleThe Uncomfortable Burning Sensation HeartBurn, Everything you need to know

The Uncomfortable Burning Sensation HeartBurn, Everything you need to know


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Heartburn can be a symptom of various conditions, including acid reflux and GERD. It usually feels like a burning sensation in the center of your chest, just behind your breastbone. Heartburn can last from a few minutes to several hours. Over-the-counter medications are frequently used to treat it at home.

What exactly is heartburn?

Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that can travel up your neck and throat. This can be a sign of a variety of conditions, including acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),and pregnancy.

When you have heartburn, you may notice a bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat. Heartburn symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. It frequently feels worse after eating or if you lie down too soon.

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What does it feel like to have heartburn?

Heartburn usually manifests as a burning sensation in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • A burning sensation in your chest can last from a few minutes to several hours.
  • You feel pain in your chest when you bend over or lie down.
  • You have a burning sensation in your throat.
  • A hot, sour, acidic, or salty taste in your throat.
  • Swallowing difficulties

What exactly causes heartburn?

Understanding how your esophagus and stomach work can help you understand why you get heartburn. When you eat, the food travels down a long tube that connects your mouth and stomach. This tube is known as the esophagus. The esophageal sphincter is a valve at the bottom of the esophagus. This valve opens to allow food to pass through and then closes to keep your stomach contents down. Inside your stomach is a highly acidic mixture that begins the process of breaking down your food (digestion). Your stomach is designed to hold this mixture. However, your esophagus cannot hold this mixture without being damaged.

When the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus fails to close properly, some of the acidic mixtures from your stomach travel up your esophagus. This is known as reflux. When you have reflux, you will frequently experience a burning sensation known as heartburn. There are several medical conditions that can cause reflux and heartburn, including:

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  • Pregnancy.
  • Hernia Hiatal (when the stomach bulges up into the chest).
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Certain medications, particularly anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin.

Heartburn can also be caused by your eating habits, such as the foods you eat, the size of your meals, and how close you eat to bedtime, as well as certain lifestyle habits.

What factors trigger heartburn?

Many different things that happen in your daily life can cause heartburn. Heartburn can be caused by certain eating and lifestyle habits in many people. These habits can include eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime, or even being stressed out.

Certain foods and beverages can also cause heartburn in some people. Some foods and beverages that may cause heartburn include:

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  • Onions.
  • Fruits with citrus peels.
  • Foods high in fat.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Products made from tomatoes.
  • Alcohol.
  • Juices from citrus fruits.
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Beverages with carbonation.

Your lifestyle habits may also play a role in why you have heartburn. These commonplace factors frequently contribute to medical conditions that cause heartburn, such as GERD or hiatal hernia. Some of the lifestyle habits that can cause heartburn include:

  • Being obese.
  • Being a cigarette smoker.
  • Having a high level of stress.
  • Wearing clothes that are too tight and belts that are too tight.

RELATED: What causes chronic acid reflux?

What is the treatment for heartburn?

Heartburn can usually be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to the lifestyle habits that cause it. Heartburn occurs on occasion and is usually not serious. However, if you experience frequent and severe heartburn, consult your doctor. This could be an indication of a chronic condition such as GERD.

Antacids and acid blockers are common over-the-counter heartburn medications.

How exactly do antacids treat heartburn?

Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, thereby relieving heartburn. These medications can also be used to treat stomach upset, indigestion, and other stomach pains. Some antacids contain simethicone, a gas-reducing agent.

Follow the directions on the package or consult your doctor about the proper way to use an antacid. For faster relief, chew tablets thoroughly before swallowing.

Do antacids have any side effects?

Some antacids contain laxatives such as magnesium or sodium bicarbonate. If you have appendicitis or bowel inflammation, avoid taking antacids. Antacids may cause the following side effects:

An overdose or overuse of antacids can have serious side effects.

What is the mechanism of action of acid blockers in the treatment of heartburn?

Histamine H2 blockers, such as Pepcid AC®, are also known as acid blockers. Acid blockers reduce stomach acid production. They alleviate heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion. Always read the directions on the package or consult your healthcare provider before taking this medication. Acid blockers that are available without a prescription include:

AC® Pepcid.

Tagamet® HB

Take your acid blocker medication as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you are not in pain or if your symptoms improve.

Do acid blockers have any side effects?

Acid blockers have the following side effects:

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Diarrhea.

If you experience any of the following potentially serious side effects after taking acid blockers, contact your doctor right away:

  • Confusion.
  • Tightness in the chest.
  • Bleeding.
  • Throat ache.
  • Fever.
  • Heartbeat irregularity
  • Weakness or unusual exhaustion

Should I combine antacids and acid blockers to treat heartburn?

When you start taking acid blockers, your doctor may advise you to take antacids. Antacids will relieve your symptoms until the acid blockers kick in. If your doctor has prescribed an antacid, take it one hour before (or after) taking an acid blocker.

Can I prevent heartburn?

Making dietary and lifestyle changes can often help to prevent and manage heartburn. These modifications include:

  • Not going to bed on an empty stomach. Eat at least three to four hours before going to bed. This allows your stomach to empty and reduces the likelihood of experiencing heartburn overnight.
  • Overeating should be avoided. Reducing the size of your meal portions can help reduce your risk of heartburn. You can also substitute four or five small meals for three larger ones.
  • Slowing down. Slowing down when eating can often help prevent heartburn. Avoid eating too quickly by putting your fork down between bites.
  • Wearing clothing that is loosely fitted. Belts and restrictive clothing can occasionally cause heartburn. You may be able to avoid heartburn by changing your wardrobe to avoid these items.
  • Keeping a healthy weight. Weight loss can often help relieve heartburn.
  • Avoid smoking. Nicotine has the potential to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus). It is recommended that you refrain from smoking for the sake of your overall health as well as the strength of this valve.
  • You’re sleeping on your left side. This may speed up digestion and the removal of acid from your stomach and esophagus.
  • Raising your bed’s headso that your head and chest are higher than your feet. Under the bed posts at the head of the bed, place 6-inch blocks or books. Pillow stacks should not be used. They may cause you to exert more pressure on your stomach, exacerbating your heartburn.
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